by Catharine Aradi

This article will address an issue that comes up a lot over the summer, and it can be confusing...even distressing to families. When I'm talking to a player or her parents, it’s not unusual to hear something to the effect of, "Coach Mike told me/us that a lot of coaches/several coaches/some coaches/or the coach from ­________ college was talking to him about me/my daughter...or was here to see me/to see her..."

This sounds like great news, and indeed, it may be.  However, what happens all too frequently is that when I ask the player or parent, "So what was the outcome?" they don't have an answer.  They have no idea what the actual message was. In other words, they don't know if the college coach said something specific like, "We're definitely interested in Susie. Have her call us." OR "We like what we see and we're going to watch Susie some more and may contact her, invite her to our prospect camp, etc."  OR did the college coach make a more general comment such as, "Your pitcher has a nice curve ball," or "Your third baseman has a strong arm."

You need to know:
⦁ WHO asked about you? 
⦁ WHAT did this coach want to know?
⦁ WHAT was said in the conversation? 
⦁ Was there a specific MESSAGE or an OUTCOME of the conversation that was directed at you, the player?

This is where many travel coaches (or team recruiting coordinators) go vague.  Sometimes, it's because they didn't write anything down or they were bombarded with coaches talking to them about a lot of kids, and the intent of this particular coach's comment got lost along the way. 

But sometimes they’re vague because nothing CONCRETE happened.  The college coach may have mentioned your name because you wrote her, but the coach is actually at your game to see someone else. In other words, your name came up, but it didn't signify anything.

It could also be that your travel coach asked the college coach what he was looking for, and the college coach answered, "We need a catcher and a 2nd base."  So, your coach listed you along with the other catcher on your team and his two shortstops.  Thus, while your name did, indeed come up, there's nothing that indicates a specific interest.  You can always follow up by sending a video, resume, etc., and saying that your travel coach told you that the Univ of ___ was looking for a catcher, but there's no guarantee that anything will come of this.

It's a good idea to talk to your travel coach before the travel season starts and ask him or her to jot down the names of any college coaches who express interest or who ask about you so that you can follow up with a call or an email.  You may even want to give your coach a small spiral bound notebook with a pencil or pen attached or suggest he or she ask interested college coaches for a business card to pass along to you.  While you will want to do this respectfully, you should also stress to your coach that in order to be proactive and to take responsibility for your college search, you need both useful and accurate information.

Here's the bottom line.  Recruiting moves FORWARD...or it doesn't move at all.  It may not happen all at once--e.g., it might be two steps forward and one step back with some schools.  But it has to move forward toward a specific outcome.

A college coach talking to someone about you is always exciting. But I guarantee that unless something solid comes out of it--and that may only happen if you follow up--this conversation may turns out to be meaningless.  That's why it's important that your travel coach get as much info as possible whenever he or she talks to a coach about you!