USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
April was a great month for our coach interviews. We had the opportunity to talk college recruiting with Mike MacIntyre (head football coach at the University of Colorado), Robyn Fralick (head women’s basketball coach at Ashland University) and The Catching Guy, Todd Coburn. In case you missed any of these interviews, here’s a look back at some of the highlights.
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado Football
Q: Talk to me about the value system you’ve implemented within your football program.
A: The value system that we live by at Colorado is based on Foundation, Family, Future and Football. We call it The Four F’s and it’s really about making sure our guys have their priorities in order.
Foundation: Consistency in your daily approach to life is what creates a solid foundation. I tell our guys this all the time, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. Show me your choices, I’ll show you your destiny.” It’s our job as a staff to help our young men make the right choices and make sure they are surrounding themselves with the right people. It’s their job to have the daily discipline needed to consistently reach their full potential.
Family: It’s all about team to us at Colorado. Put others first. Care more about the guy next to you than you do yourself. That’s accountability and it’s what you do when you’re part of a family. When you give that love, you’re going to feel it, too.
Future: Football is merely a temporary future. The real future is the education you’re working for. Keep those in the right order and have a passion about what you want to do when you’re done playing football for the University of Colorado.
Football: I firmly believe that if you have the first three of these values in order, you will be free to be the best football player you can be. If you’re having issues with the first three, you’re going to be clouded up and limited with what you can achieve on the football field. The better you can be off the field, the better you’re going to be on the field.
Q: What does a high school athlete control during the college recruiting process?
A: They are in total control of their effort in the classroom, their behavior off the field and their intensity on the field. When you see a young man taking care of business in those three areas, you will find that he’s probably reaching his potential as a football player, as well. That’s ultimately what catches the attention of a college coach and what gets you recruited. The whole key to this in not the actual process of recruiting. It’s about whether or not you’re going to be successful when you show up on campus. It’s about being the very best you, in every way possible. And, having those three characteristics already developed as a high schooler means you’re most likely going to have success at the next level. That’s what really matters.
Robyn Fralick, Ashland Basketball
Q: What is your staff looking for when you recruit a student-athlete?
A: There are a few things that go into our recruiting philosophy at Ashland:
- We love recruiting players from winning programs. There’s so much that actually goes into becoming a winner. It’s such a process. Recruiting players that know what it takes to win, before they get here, gives us that much of a head-start on the success we’re looking to achieve.
- We love recruiting great students. The way you do one thing, is the way you do everything. Working hard in the classroom indicates you’re willing to work hard on your own. You can be trusted. A big part of the success of our program has been based on the fact that we have players we can count on.
- We love recruiting versatility. Having the ability to play multiple positions and guard multiple positions works so well within our system. Along those same lines, we like the kids that are playing multiple sports in high school. Typically speaking, those players have a tremendous amount of athleticism, they have a higher ceiling and they’re less prone to burn-out.
Q: What has been the key to your program’s success during your first two seasons?
A: When you’re given a scholarship to play at this level, you’re given a lot. From the value of the scholarship, to the gear, to the traveling and to the competition, it really is a unique situation. It’s a time in life that you’re granted a lot of opportunities. We talk a lot about living out of gratitude. Whether you’re a starter or you’re a role player, be grateful for the opportunity you have to be a part of something so special. I think we’ve been so successful because our players understand that concept. Our culture is very clear. The values of our program and the focus we put on being a great teammate are actions that we live out each and every day. This program understands that when entitlement settles in, the joy of the situation is lost.
Todd Coburn, The Catching Guy
Q: When recruiting a catcher, what are college baseball/softball coaches specifically looking for?
A: Different coaches have different philosophies, but in my experience, the one quality that they’re all looking for in a catcher is leadership ability. They want a player behind the plate who is going to run the pitching staff, keep the team focused on the “prize,” and always, always leads by example by never giving less than 100%. College coaches are looking for catchers who are high energy, positive and vocal leaders. Not necessarily “rah-rah” vocal, but vocal as in always communicating with their team, their pitchers, their coaches and even the umpires. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to be able to receive, block and throw to play at the next level. But, those tools only get you so far. You’ve got to be a leader to really catch the attention of college coaches.
My Top 5 Catcher attributes would be:
- Leadership and character
- Athleticism & physical toughness
- Receiving ability
- Throwing ability
- Blocking ability
Q: How can a catcher stand out when attending a camp?
A: Simply put, be a gamer! Do everything with a purpose. Have the mindset that it’s “go-time” from the minute you walk through that gate.
- Be on time! If you’re 5 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late.
- Dress to impress and look the part. Look like a ball player. Have baseball or softball pants on with a belt. Keep your shirt/jersey tucked in. When you’re not in your gear, keep your hat on straight. I don’t care if Sponge Bob Square Pants is your favorite show, wear something with your team name on it or some type of athletic apparel.
- Do your best to always be first. Always, always hustle, even if it’s just when the coach says, “bring it up.” When at all possible, be the first one there.
- From the warm up, to getting loose, to drills, exercises and scrimmages, always do your best! Play catch with a purpose. Be vocal during drills and scrimmages. Make sure you’re never just going through the motions because college coaches hate that!
Obviously, you need to have some physical talent to stand out. You’ve got to be able to throw the ball to second on a line, make strikes look like strikes, block balls in the dirt and understand the game. But to make a great impression on a college coach, you’ve got to have more than just tools.