This is a guest post from Lou Proietti, a Canadian who is Associate Head Baseball Coach for the Stonehill College Skyhawks. Stonehill competes in the NCAA Division I Northeast Conference.
Lou recently reached out to me regarding our shared goal of helping young Canadian baseball players find their way in the game. In this first guest post, Lou will focus on the recruitment process for Canadian players targeting US College baseball programs. I hope you find it helpful.
Editor, Canadian Baseball
Advice for Canadian Baseball Players Trying to Get Recruited to US Schools
My name is Lou Proietti. I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. I went to Cathedral High School and have very fond memories of my childhood. Ever since I can remember I had the goal of playing college baseball in the US. I am currently the Associate Head Baseball Coach at Stonehill College in Easton, MA. We compete in the NEC (Northeast Conference) and just transitioned from Division 2 to Division 1 this year. Prior to this year, I was the Head Baseball Coach at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ. I also have coaching experience at Rider University and Georgetown Preparatory School. I attended and played at UMASS Amherst in the A-10.
Being educated on the college baseball recruiting process can be very helpful to maximize potential opportunities. My personal perspective on the recruiting process has changed drastically from the time I was recruited as a player. My goal is to help you learn through my interactions with recruits and their families. It is important to understand that every player’s recruiting process and timeline will be different. The goal is to focus on what we can control. Here are some pieces of advice for players looking to play at the next level in college.
Put In the Work to Be Good Enough
This comes down to priorities and decisions. If you prioritize playing at the collegiate level, every decision you make through the course of your day should take you one step closer to your goal. College coaches receive hundreds of emails a week from potential recruits. My estimation is 90-95% of those recruits aren’t good enough to compete at our level. Give the coaching staff a reason to correspond with you. Quality stats, video of how your body moves, in game clips are all great ways to catch the coach’s attention. Bottom line, creating exposure for yourself won’t matter unless you are good enough to compete.
Do Your Research
Timing is a big part of the recruiting process. Some schools may not be looking for your position in that class. Look up rosters to see what year (class) other players are in, what kind of numbers do they have? Are there other Canadian players on the roster? Being educated on both the school and the baseball program when speaking with the coaching staff will go a long way. Coaches want to see that this is important to you, if you know nothing about the school or program, it becomes clear you haven’t put enough time or thought into the process.
Have a Plan
The more time you allocate to the recruiting process, the more opportunities you can create for yourself. It should take time to write individualized emails to each school you reach out to. Put together a list of your top 25 schools with a mix of all Divisions. Focus on all aspects of what you’re looking for including the baseball facilities, coaching staff, roster needs, academics, geography and size of school to name a few. Write down a list on paper and look up all contact information online for the schools on your list.
Key Components of a Quality Email
The old saying “You only get one first impression” applies when it comes to reaching out to coaching staffs to express your interest in their program. A quality email should be concise yet provide all the information a coaching staff is looking for. Emails should include the following:
-Introduction (Include Name, Class, Position, Stats, Awards, Contact Info, etc.)
-Video clip (In game is best, nothing more than 2-3 mins)
-Contact Information for Coaches/References
-Proof you’ve done your research (Ask about prospect camps, comment about previous season)
Don’t Overlook Small Details
Most emails that college coaches receive are generalized and unorganized. If you are willing to put the time in to reach out to college coaches, it doesn’t make sense to go through the motions and send out a general email with no specifics. You will not get much of a response and your email will fall through the cracks with the hundreds of other emails that college coaches receive from potential recruits. Make sure you look up the specifics of the school you are reaching out to. Mention something like their recent track record to prove you are genuinely interested in their school. Coaches can tell when you write an email that is meant specifically for their institution. The more genuine of a level of interest you can express, the better likelihood of a response you will receive.
Separate Yourself From Other Recruits
Reaching out to a coaching staff through email is a great starting point to let them know you are interested in playing for them. The best way to get in front of the entire coaching staff is to attend Showcase events the colleges host on campus. You will get an opportunity to show what you can do to the entire staff and also get a sense of the competition as most other players at the event are also interested in playing at that school. There are also a variety of quality showcases throughout the US that are independently run. There are both quality events and those that are just a cash grab so be sure to do your homework regarding which coaches are attending and what sort of track record there has been for players getting signed from the event.
Find the Right Fit
It is important that you find a school that you would attend even if baseball does not work out for some reason. Getting on campus will help give you a good sense whether you can picture yourself attending that school. The goal is to build a skillset and network at whatever school you choose to help create opportunities for yourself once you’ve graduated. What is important to you? This answer can differ depending on the student-athlete. Geography, school size, class size and campus life can be some of the factors when considering which type of school you prefer to attend. You should aspire to play at the highest level possible, while also making sure you will get an opportunity to compete at that institution. There are opportunities at every level to have a great experience playing baseball and getting a college education. Don’t focus completely on the Division 1 level, there are some great universities and college baseball programs at all levels that can offer great opportunities for you.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if there is any way I can help you in your pursuit of college baseball. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org