This article was written by Nick Millspaugh. Nick played D-1 Baseball at IPFW in Fort Wayne, IN. He finished his collegiate career at Indiana Wesleyan University alongside Atlanta Braves’ starting RHP Brandon Beachy.
How do I really get noticed? Yes, coaches are looking for skills on the baseball field. However, it is likely that your skills match up pretty closely with 100’s of other athletes across the country. This is, of course, unless you are in the top .1% of baseball players out there. It is likely that if you ran a 6.8 second 60 yard dash there are 100’s of athletes that can do the same. It is likely that if you recorded a 90mph exit velocity in your swing that 100’s across the country can do the same. It is also likely that, as a pitcher, if you throw an 87mph fast ball there are 100’s across the nation that can do the same. So, again, I ask how do I really get noticed?
There are several different ways that are part of your in game play and your leadership in the dugout. I have written an article referring to “The View From 400 Feet” discussing this. Today I want to talk about your first personal interaction with the coach. When a player introduces himself to me either over the phone or in person, I can honestly say that I can tell whether or not he will be a good fit for our team within the first 30 seconds of talking to him.
On the phone, if you are a prospect and a coach calls you I would highly recommend referring to him as “Coach” or “Sir”. It is something about those two words that allow a coach to feel respected and that you have the sense to carry that into his program. Also, seem enthusiastic about the opportunity to be talking to him. Do not be distracted. It would be a good idea to practice having this conversation with a mentor in your life. I have had so many recruiting conversations where the kid was trying to figure out how to “tweet” his response so much that he couldn’t hold a normal conversation. Parents, train your kid to be able to handle this conversation by themselves. Mom and Dad will not be there for fall ball in college. A coach needs to quickly decide whether or not this boy is ready to become a man on his campus, period.
In person, if you are a prospect and a coach comes up to introduce himself to you, please understand that your skills brought him to the introduction but he is most likely seeing if he is really interested based off of his initial conversation. How do you carry yourself? How firm is your hand shake? Do you know to look a person in the eye when he is talking or you are? Are you enthusiastic or do you have a chip on your shoulder? Are you struggling to communicate? These are all things a coach can pick up very quickly. Again, he is basically giving you a job interview so please never forget that.
Coaches care about your character. When asking for referrals, it is often that a coach will ask about a players character rather then their physical skill level. If solid referrals are able to give a great recommendation on your leadership, your work ethic and your attitude on and off of the field, the coach will then decide to be the judge of your physical ability. There is so much concern on how your swing looks or how fast your are when the reality is that your skills likely put you in a category of several others and it is your job to make yourself stand out.