Advice On Navigating The Recruiting Process During Coronavirus CrisisColumns
Editor’s note: Former Oregon and Mississippi State catcher Jack Kruger has started a website — BallerBuilder.com — aimed at helping aspiring Division I players navigate the recruiting process. As Kruger put it: “I remember having no idea what to put in an email, or even the subject line. I didn’t know how to make a recruitment video, and I struggled gaining attention from coaches. In junior college, we formed a calculated strategy that worked like magic. I earned a scholarship to Mississippi State after hitting .208 my freshman year at the University of Oregon.”
This week, Kruger posted a helpful piece offering advice on how prospective D-I players should use their time during the coronavirus crisis. We have reprinted it below:
BY JACK KRUGER
Many people are wondering how to continue their recruiting process during the coronavirus quarantine. With seasons cancelled and the rest of the year uncertain, it’s easy to get anxious about the already difficult process.
There’s a lot we don’t know about the NCAA’s plans and what the landscape is going to look like for the next year, or more.
I’m going to share what I would do if I were in the recruiting process right now. Truthfully, there’s only so much you can do at this time to further your process. But there are things you can do right now that will benefit you in the long run and help you achieve success later on. Don’t get bored with slow progress. It’s essential to ultimate triumph. Learn from the guy who went through the process twice…play the long game.
Before we start…let’s get one thing straight: no, you’re not falling behind in the recruiting process during coronavirus. Everyone is quarantined; everyone’s season is cancelled. No one is secretly playing tournaments or having covert conversations with college coaches down by the docks like something out of Peaky Blinders. This really is a quiet period. Having said that, I do think this time can be used productively and that you can take a few small steps to gain some ground in the process.
Here’s how I would use my time if I were in the recruiting process during coronavirus:
- I would double the number of schools on my list to email.
If you’ve read any of my stuff, whether on the site or from my emails, you know that I don’t advocate for sending out a bunch of random emails. This is hardly ever a good strategy. I have always strongly recommended finding schools that excite you, that fit your needs, and that have a need for your position. However, this takes a lot of time and research…and if you’re in high school, you already have a full day of school, baseball, family obligations, and a social life.
This means that you don’t have the time to research a ton of schools, find ones that fit your needs, target those schools for their needs, write your emails, put together your video, and send them off. You can do some, but not nearly as many as you can do now. If I were you, I would continue to find schools that meet my needs and target schools that need me, but I would do this in greater quantity.
Your list is a numbers game. Yes, a shorter list of filtered, targeted schools is more valuable than a longer list of unfiltered, random schools. But, what if you had a longer list of filtered, targeted schools? Your chances of getting multiple responses shoot through the roof if you increase the number of schools you reach out to. It’s simple mathematics…probability for the win!
Use this down time to add schools to your list. Don’t sacrifice quality, but increase the quantity.
- I would create a stockpile of video (if possible).
Now, this one will not be possible for everyone. But, if you do have access to a cage or somewhere you can hit and get some defensive work in, then use this time to build an enormous stash of video. You can never have too much video.
I recommend having video stored away just in case a coach asks for something specific. Oh, you want a video of me blocking a baseball? Here it is! Oh, you want a video of me fielding ground balls at shortstop? Here it is!
Create your stash now. Of course, you can’t get game video right now…but no one can! Use this time to bank video. You’ll almost certainly use it at some point.
- I would prepare all of my emails and save them as drafts.
Sending emails takes time, right? And when coronavirus is over and you return to normal life again, you are going to be busy. Don’t wait to write your emails…do it now.
I previously said that you could send emails out now during coronavirus. I don’t think this is completely wrong, but it’s worth noting that many college coaches will have to wait to see what MLB does with the draft before they can make recruiting moves. I don’t think you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by sending emails out now, but it may be more beneficial to wait until the draft is decided upon, especially when sending emails to baseball powerhouses that churn out draft picks.
So, I’m recommending you prepare all of your emails, but not send them until the air has cleared and we know more about the situation.
If I were you, I spend significant time writing a great email, I would change out the names of coaches and schools, and then I would save each of these emails as a draft.
Then, when things pick up again and it’s time to send out emails, all I have to do is click “send.”
Use this down time to write all of your emails and save them as drafts so you don’t have to spend time doing this later. Front load the work.
- I would use this time to gain strength and athleticism.
You may not have access to a cage. You may not have access to a field. But you have access to time, and you have access to your body.
There are so many workouts and activities you can do to get stronger and gain athleticism at home. Don’t believe me? Just Google, “Workouts to do from home during coronavirus” and you will get hundreds of results. Also, there has never been a better time to go outside and be active. Hiking, swimming, playing in the yard, etc. are all “social distancing” activities. Take advantage of this time and keep your body ready.
I want to reiterate that you are not “falling behind” in the recruiting process during coronavirus. But, I do think these things will help you line up the dominoes so when opportunity arises, you aren’t trying to get your act together…you already have it together, and you’re ready to take advantage of it.
Do the hard work first…wait patiently in the tall grass…stay vigilant…and when opportunity arises, jump on it!