Editor's note: We are joined by guest writer, Jack Kruger, former Mississippi State player currently in the Los Angeles Angels organization.
The college baseball recruiting process is many things: complex, frustrating, difficult, heartbreaking, full of promise, and exciting.
I get it. I’ve actually been through it twice.
My name is Jack Kruger. I currently play minor league baseball in the Los Angeles Angels organization, but I had quite the route through college baseball. I recently started a site called Baller Builder that is geared toward helping high school and junior college players navigate the recruiting process and play Division 1 baseball.
Here’s the cliff notes version of my story.
I committed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in high school. Arrived on campus and was immediately medically disqualified in 2013. Landed at the University of Oregon. Lost my scholarship before my sophomore year. Went to Junior College. Won a State Championship. Earned a scholarship to Mississippi State. Won an SEC championship. And got drafted to play professional baseball after my junior year.
The recruiting process can be very frustrating. I get it. But the truth is that it can be much more straightforward than you think. Mainstream thinking leads people to believe that you have to spend a ton of money traveling every weekend, and you have to sign up with a big organization to do your video and marketing for you. This is not true.
You can navigate your own recruiting process, and do it well.
Do you want to know the truth that no one ever talks about?
College coaches need you as much as you need them.
The recruiting process is not one-sided. Coaches don’t own it. Many players desperately paw at schools hoping that they give them a chance…when in reality, if you’re a good player, you’re doing that school a favor! By providing value and marketing yourself properly, you’re making the college coach’s job easier. This means that you own the process…not the coach.
Instead of ranting about this for 45 minutes (which I could do), I’m going to leave you with the 3 most important rules when sending coaches your initial recruitment video.
The 30 Second Rule
Your recruitment video shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds. A college coach isn’t going to watch more than 30 seconds of a video. If you want to send a hitting video and a defense video, make each one of them 30 seconds long (or shorter if you don’t think you need the full 30 seconds). I had some videos that were 10 or 15 seconds long.
There are more advanced techniques to video that allow you to send longer videos (like full at-bats), but I’m not going to dive into that now. This tip is specifically about the first video you send to colleges to see if they have interest in you. And this video shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds.
No music/creative editing
This one is self-explanatory. Don’t put music over your video. Don’t put creative editing or colors on top of your video. Send the most plain, easily visible video you possibly can. Keep it barebones.
That sounds scammy and vague, but it’s the truth. Your video should showcase the value you have as a player. Every part of your video should emphasize your strengths. Send the best swings you took that day. Send your best defensive play. Show the college coach how you can provide value to his program. That’s what recruiting is. He has a job to do, a position to fill. He wants to know if you can fill that role. Show him you can with your video.
Look, I played JV baseball my freshman year of high school. I hit .172 as a sophomore. I had my scholarship pulled after my freshman year at Oregon. I played Junior College baseball. But just now, I drove back from our Spring Training complex here in Phoenix, AZ after stretching alongside Trout and Pujols.
You don’t know what you’re capable of. No one does. There’s not a person on this earth that has a crystal ball. Stop putting limitations on yourself, and start giving it everything you have. You may surprise yourself.
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