How 13 Uncommitted Players Went Into a Season With No Offers, Zero Recruiting Experience, And They Were Able To Get Noticed!
It was December 2019, the buzz was starting as the 2021 class was preparing for their biggest season.
It was their recruiting year.
Going into 2020, we already had one player commit to a high power division two school.
This team was loaded! We had speed, power, great pitching, defense, and ATTITUDE. The fierce 14 were getting recognition in the regional market and nationally with Perfect Game.
College coaches were preparing to make sure they watched and followed this team.
Fast forward to May 2020, the world stopped, NCAA made regulations on D1, D2, and D3 schools around recruiting. They were prohibited to see players in-person at summer tournaments until mid-July.
Let’s roll in the unfortunate events music…
In most situations, people would wave the white flag in submission and say, “well, I guess it’s not meant to be.”
The group took a different direction. They used Twitter, their Tiger profile, and email to keep college coaches in the loop.
The Tiger profile allowed them to store all vital information like their showcase information, Twitter handle, Instagram handle, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and valuable playing metrics.
It was a central hub for them to use as they marketed themselves to the respective schools.
As the season progressed, the word started spreading about our players amongst the college coaching community. They would call us and say, “Tell me more about this guy. He’s always in my feed.”
Word of mouth was contagious.
The reason it worked was that everything was out in the open. Coaches could see that these players were receiving attention and the FEAR of missing out on this player became a reality. As I sit here writing this story I want you to take a look at your Tiger player profile. To do this scroll down to find out how to log in.
If you’re in 7th and 8th grade, I would start getting familiar with Twitter and how it can be a marketing asset for you as you move into your high school and recruiting years. My high school players! Start using your Tiger profile as your central hub for all your information.
We provide a shareable link, so you’re able to send people to your page to get all your student and playing information.
My favorite group right now is Gimlet Media. They have shows ranging from history, business, crime, and fictional stories.
One show I love is called Start-Up, it’s the story and documentation of how the CEO started and built Gimlet Media. He actually has audio recordings from his early days of pitching investors to family conversations around launching the idea.
The reason I love the show is that it’s very relatable. The pain, struggles, and small wins are something we all experience when we are pursuing a vision with conviction and purpose.
In one episode he was struggling with delivering his pitch. He was stumbling over his words trying to explain his concept. At one point the investor actually started coaching him on how to deliver his pitch…..rough, right?
The investor asked the CEO a question that he didn’t know how to answer until a later episode. The investor asked him, what is your unfair advantage over other podcast shows?
At this point it made me go from a passive listener to an active one. I stopped the episode, thought for a moment and asked myself the same question.
“What are the Tigers unfair advantage amongst all the baseball clubs?”
Here is where my mind raced too:
training that is forward thinking
using technology for player development
partnerships amongst the biggest brands in baseball
support system for coaches
app communication tool
plug-in-and-go fundraising opportunities
strength of schedule
networked extremely well in the baseball community
advanced college recruiting advice
…and then hit me. How do you say all of this without saying any of it?
The Tigers are different because we are more than just teams. We are a program with tools and resources that gives our players an unfair advantage over other teams which ultimately provides opportunities that they otherwise would not have been given if they were outside the program.
In short, we have a stable system which provides the opportunity to grow if the right choices are made by the player throughout the year.
The CEO of Gimlet had an interesting answer for this section of his pitch, he said, “The unfair advantage we have over other podcast shows is that we understand listeners from our experience at NPR and have made successful shows from “This American Life” to “Planet Money”. We know our listeners and we know their behavior.”
I feel like we take a similar approach. We know our players and we do our very best to give them the resources that will make them successful not just in their athletic careers, but when they decide to leave the uniform for good.
The last the thing I failed to mention…we are constantly learning, re-evaluating, and thinking about how we can make our program better.
So, I want to leave you with this…if you’re a parent or a player, what is your unfair advantage?
To defend and impose power the praying mantis gets on its hind legs, opens up its spiked forelegs and shows it’s colorful wings.
It’s predator, a flapped-neck chameleon is roughly 3X its size.
Hi guys, it’s Spiker and I want to talk to you about signals.
Signals are an interesting everyday occurrence in human nature that can be found in action, imagery, and sound.
We participate in this when someone breaks the norm or etiquette when driving. We signal to them through a sweet and pleasant push of the horn, “Hey! I don’t like that very much and I am sure others don’t like that either, please stop doing that.”
We also offer signals on how we stand, sit, and wear our clothes. All of these factors can determine how a person feels about us and how we connect with them.
Recently, I was invited to a black tie event and I had the decision between a tux and my favorite 1980’s authentic Nolan Ryan jersey. Even though I get compliments on the jersey when I go to a baseball game, I don’t believe it would receive the same clout next to a person eating a lobster crab cake and a glass of 2006 Dom Perignon.
In baseball, the uniform can signal to the coach whether a player is good, bad, or mediocre. It can also signal how much a person loves playing. Even the body language a player uses can signal complacency, tiredness, eagerness, passion, and/or determination.
How you carry yourself says a lot of what you think about yourself consciously and subconsciously. It also shows how you feel about your environment. This is why the praying mantis get’s on its hind legs when it’s threatened. It signals to its lizard friend, “I don’t think this is a good idea. I have eaten big insects, small birds, and some of your smaller friends. You don’t want to attack me, friend.”
Communication through action, tone, sound, and imagery relays messages. The uniform for a baseball player can signal strength, toughness, confidence, fortitude, and desire.
….BUT, only if worn properly.
We host tryouts at the end of the summer, and before we evaluate the skill level, we are evaluating how the player presents themselves. Here are a few suggestions with examples.
1. clean unwrinkled jersey or dri-fit shirt
2. clean unwrinkled white or grey pants
3. full leather or tabbed leather baseball belt
4. flat bill, semi-flat bill hat
5. clean cleats
How to wear your uniform:
1. tucked jersey
2. hat placed on the head just above the eyebrow line with the hair tucked under the hat
3. cleats are tied tight and cleaned preferably before the start
1. taped wrists
2. one button undone
3. eye-black (no crazy designs)
4. sports sunglasses
Body posture when standing and talking with a coach
1. standing tall
2. shoulders back
3. eye contact to the coach when speaking (avoid looking down)
Good uniform examples:
St. Louis native who I played with at Missouri State. Look good, feel good, play good- before King Louis got his name from the New York faithful he made his presence known through his uniform and confident body language. Luke always had the confident swag of a player who was going to get the job done, even when he had rough times.
One of the best hitters I have ever coached. Former Tiger, Erik Webb had a workers type approach with a relaxed but confident mindset. He is not someone you will find wearing eye black, wrist tape, or even a chain. He takes a clean uniform approach from top to bottom
The mentality of Zack Hilboldt was one of a hockey player. The former Tiger wore his uniform with style, but more importantly he kept his catching gear inline. He wore every piece to fit, because he was hustling to back up throws and directing traffic on foul balls near the 1st and 3rd baselines.
If you found this blog interesting, click the follow button, and if you want to know the secret behind getting drafted.
If you want to tryout for the Tigers please submit a form HERE.
This is a show about people, baseball, culture, and how to create a winning lifestyle. This is the first episode of the Closing Pitch. Spiker Helms and David Birkby explain what this show will discuss, their goals, and future content.
Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/spiker/id1308056021?mt=2
One big consideration when choosing a team vs a program is the winter training setup. I could speak endlessly on the experience and knowledge of our staff and go into depth on our philosophies, but I feel like the best way to explain our temp and rhythm is for you to experience it yourself by the posts below.
Steve Hacker Delivers Life Lesson About Evaluations
audio is not great on this video, turn up to listen
Med Ball Train
core strength, stability, team communication
Punching Bag Swings
Explosion Workouts With Pummel Balls
16U Players Gets 90 mph on Exit Velo with Wood
Clips Inside Winter Training
Learn More about what people are saying about our program. (Click Here)
We felt it would be a great idea to share a recruiting story. We know there are a lot of players who are trying to find their path towards college baseball, AND everyones reasoning is different based on their needs and wants. One of our interns, Todd, is going to share his story on how he reached college baseball. We know you will find value and a lesson or two in his story. This is not the only way or path to playing a college sport.
How I Got To Be Recruited, A Close Look On The Steps I Took
by: Todd Marshall
“I will be committing to Notre Dame College.”
Those words were the biggest relief for me as a baseball player because I never thought I would have gotten a baseball scholarship after 5 years of trying to be recruited.
My first ever baseball camp was in 8th grade when our team was able to do a Prep Baseball Report (PBR) for free. That was the first time I got my name out nationally, but it was not the last time. I would go to at least two to three camps every year hosted by Ohio University or Indiana State or Murray State because I liked both those schools the most. Obviously most baseball player’s dream is to go Division 1 and that was mine as well, but I knew schools like Vanderbilt or Clemson were not realistic.
After one camp my freshman year; Ohio University told me to get my fastball up to 85 then we can have a discussion. After that camp, I did not hear a word from them until right before I committed to my current school.
Indiana State was interested in other players and told me my fastball velocity needed to be higher for them to be interested.
Murray State told me that if they had more scholarships to give out, they would have worked out something with me.
When those schools told me that they wanted higher velocity on my fastball before they offered, it made me realize that I need to start looking at schools Division 2 and lower.
I always let my dad do the recruiting for me so I could focus on playing and performing, but he always made me ask questions and write letters to the head coaches. The funny thing about writing letters is that I always heard, “Handwritten letters show the head coach that you care about the school. Usually, they will respond immediately.” I did this, but never heard anything back.
So from 8th grade to Junior year spring, I had not heard a word from any college. My dad decided that this camp in Kansas would be my last camp to try to get recruited. So, I signed up for the pitching section of the camp. Little did I know, when I arrived on the showcase mound I was only given seven pitches to impress the college scouts.
Randomly during the early months of summer, I was at Burger King with my dad when I got a phone call from Hannibal, Missouri. I picked up and I said, “Hello.” The man on the other side of the phone call said, “Hi is this Todd? I am the head baseball coach at Hannibal LaGrange University and you impressed me at the camp in Kansas, do you have some time to talk?” Wow, I have never been more excited to talk on the phone for almost an hour. After that phone call, more college offers started coming in from Goshen College (from that camp), Capital University (pitched at their home field), Notre Dame College (pitched against the Grad Assistant’s team), and Ohio University (got a letter but declined).
If you have trouble getting college offers, make sure you continue to put your name out there whether it is on Twitter or go to camps. To get a better understanding of how to become the driver in your college recruiting, listen to The Closing Pitch (Episode 18, The Tactical Guide to Recruiting) on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
Give this podcast a subscribe because this podcast is about people, culture, and how to create a winning lifestyle. Dave and Spiker also touch on topics that involves the baseball club scene.
Baseball is a game where even the best hitters fail about 70% of the time at the plate. Even your favorite MLB player has experienced a slump. There isn’t a specific remedy to get out of a slump, but I thought it would be good to try a little exercise. We are going to tell you methods for players and coaches to try to end a hitting slump.
If you are a player (DIY):
Don’t Overthink It- The worst thing you can do if you are in a slump is to start pressing at the plate. In most cases, a slump is caused by a mental flaw not a mechanical flaw in your swing. A lot of the time when you step into the batter’s box you are your own worst enemy. The best hitters don’t dwell in the past, they take it one pitch at a time.
Visualize Success- It may sound simple and useless but visualizing success is very important in baseball. If you visualize success it gives you a boost in confidence and helps you mentally prepare for your at-bat. Every mental rep your muscles are firing just like they would in the game.
Sweat It Out, Go to the Cages- Another seemingly simple solution. Going to the cages can do many things for you. It can help boost self-confidence seeing you succeed even if it’s in the cages. Also, you can work on any mechanical flaw that could be there. One of the hidden gems of getting out of a slump is bunting baseball repeatedly….Try it!
If you’re a coach or parent helping a player:
Positive Reinforcement- A struggling player needs a strong support system. If a player knows he has the coaches’ support it could take a lot of stress off their shoulders. If the players are feeling stressed they are less likely to break out of it, you need to take as much off their plate as possible.
Sit the Player for a Game- This might not be the player’s favorite thing but it gives you the chance to let them take a mental break. In this method, the player must know that you’re not giving up on him. It can be good to have a player just sit back and analyze the game without the in-game stress. I would have a conversation before the game.
Bunt for a hit: As recommended above for the player, try bunting for a hit. The goal is for the player to see the ball hit the bat. If he gets on base…GREAT! But, the expectations need to be low. We just want them to get the bunt down.
At the end of the day, you need to know that every player at one point in their baseball career goes through a slump. Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports, if it was easy everyone would play. Also, a key is to know that every time it’s not mechanical if you go into your at-bat thinking “Oh, I need to fix this, this, and this,” it will be much harder to find success. Instead, visualize success on the on-deck circle. Coaches remember that players need positive reinforcements throughout their careers. This goes for teammates as well, support your brothers on the field.
The pandemic change in college sports is still receiving tremors from the shutdown.
I am sure everyone has heard about how it has delayed the major professional sports but how has it influenced collegiate athletics, specifically, college baseball? In this article I want to address this situation, so as a player or a parent of a player you will be in better understanding of the landscape.
College baseball is not a money machine like college football or college basketball. There are only a select few programs in the country that generate revenue from their college baseball program.
The 2020 season being cut short has already taken a toll on some of the schools that do not generate revenue. A few college baseball programs have already been shut down or have been close to shutting down. For example, Furman University shut down its baseball program and Bowling Green State University just reinstated its program after the community raised $1.5 million to keep afloat.
The Furman shut down has led to all of their players scrambling to find new homes to finish their careers. While Bowling Green currently has 29 players in the transfer portal. Recently the Mountain West Conference canceled its 2021 conference tournament to cut costs on participating schools. Athletic departments are still shuffling trying to figure out how to survive this pandemic, especially with the college football season still a question mark.
The abrupt ending of the 2020 college baseball season has caused the number of scholarships to rise for each school for the 2021 season. The normal scholarship allotment of 11.7 will only apply to players that were projected to be on the roster for 2021. This does not include the 2020 senior class because they all have been given one extra year of eligibility. Another aspect that affects the scholarships in college baseball is the shortened MLB draft. The 2020 MLB draft will only consist of 160 selections in 5 rounds, whereas the 2019 MLB draft consisted of 1217 picks in 40 rounds. This means there will be even more players coming to college baseball or staying another year because there is a huge drop in selections. A positive of this for college baseball fans is this means that rosters will be more loaded with talent than ever.
College baseball is in the process of discussing a new schedule due to the pandemic. The proposal for a new schedule is meant to continue the growth of college baseball and to help athletic departments financially. A panel of coaches is recommending starting the college baseball season in the third week of March instead of February and pushing the College World Series back to mid-July.
They have recommended this because they believe it does not make sense financially or medically to play baseball in February. This change would put a big cut into travel expenses for northern teams. They wouldn’t have to travel as much to get away from the weather. This could also lead to more spectators at games because Winter sports will be over and hopefully better weather.
Another major impact in scheduling are the college summer leagues like the Cape Cod and Prospect League. This would push the college season back into these seasons which will take players out of these leagues. These leagues are important to the college game because players that do not get playing time at their school get the chance to get quality reps.
Overall, this pandemic has sparked mass change in college baseball. It will be interesting to see how programs handle the student-athletes that received an extra year of eligibility and how they’ll manage rosters. This story is far from over.
Getting recruited to play college baseball is a very difficult and impressive achievement. Like everything else in the world recruiting has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. It has made the recruiting process even more difficult for aspiring athletes. High School baseball seasons across the country were canceled and many places haven’t begun playing in the summer yet. How can a college recruit a player if they can’t see them? I’ll tell you how.
Recruiting Update for different college levels: Division 1: In-person recruiting suspension has been extended to July 31st but athletes can participate in virtual visits. Division 2: A quiet period (a period where institutions can have no contact with student-athlete OFF campus) will take place from June 1st through the 30th. Division 3: Up to the schools to decide how to handle recruiting. NAIA: Up to the schools to decide how to handle recruiting. NJCAA: In-person recruiting ban was lifted as on May 15.
How this impacts you: This pandemic has had a major impact on the college recruiting scene. Most college programs are unable to come to watch student-athletes compete. This especially hurts rising seniors because their high school season was canceled and if you are playing Summer ball most programs are unable to attend. Another major impact is if you are being recruited and are uncommitted you may not be able to take a campus visit. Your college decision could be one of the toughest decisions of your life and it’s tough to make that decision without stepping foot on campus.
How you can get noticed during this weird time and what the future holds: Social Media as we all know has taken over the world. Coaches right now are using social media to find potential recruits. The Tigers have been preaching the best way to get noticed right now is Twitter. When a coach sees a tweet that draws their interest, they will most likely visit the Twitter page. We say that your page needs to contain these three things:
Website URL with measurements, GPA, etc.
Clean Bio that gets to the point.
Pinned tweet of your best video with metrics.
Overall, college recruiting for 2020 will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Though it may seem like there are fewer opportunities to be seen by college coaches, there is still plenty of opportunities to be seen. You just have to use the resources that are available to you and take advantage of it.
Movies portray scouting as scouts from various colleges and professional teams driving across vast distances to see this one player, but what if I told you times have changed. In my personal experiences, I have noticed some friends and former rivals showcasing their skills (pitching and hitting) on Twitter to attract scouts that can’t attend their games.
The account that showcases their videos is called FlatGround and they will retweet your video on their page. They mention you need to add variables such as: spin rate, velocity, grades, height/weight, any data saved by any company that tracks measurable for your video to gain traction.
Blast Motion technology allows you to track your swing by adding their device to the knob of your bat. It gives you real time data via an app that detects your bat path, power, and timing while providing drills that could help improve your swing. Not only does it track baseball, it also tracks softball, and golf (must purchase each sport individually).
Spiker deep dives into how technology has really changed the landscape of scouting. Here are two episode I highly recommend that center around organizations finding players.