I often get questions from parents on a wide range of topics but one question I get most often is when to have a player attend a showcase. There isn't one answer. Know that as I write this, my own son is a 14-year old freshman and I apply the same perspective to him, as his dad.
This was my reply to a father who has an 8th grader (BAWS Underclass is for players who just finished their 8th grade and freshman years)...
From the dad: 'He is good, he works very hard and wants to be great. But he is not one of those kids who is 6'1", 185 lbs as an 8th grader. His measurables are decent, not outstanding. But he is still a skinny kid. 5'9", 138 lbs. Smart and getting better. If this is your kid, does a kid like this go to these events or am I setting him up for failure? I have no idea. I am putting him with good people and each coach loves him but I want to be realistic. Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.'
My reply: 'Not setting him up for failure at all. At his age, in an event like BAWS Underclass, it's a great opportunity to get young players out there among peers, some his age, some a little younger, some a little older. The competition is great, the experience is valuable, setting a baseline for where he is relative to all the players there is also valuable. The data/stats that are returned give great present day measurables to then create a training plan to improve.
No failure opportunity at all. It's experience and awareness and competition and fun. It is a great atmosphere and as he ages and develops, having gone through it at least once as a player just entering HS, can be a wonderful experience to fall back on... to know his heartbeat as all that took place.
That's how I've seen it for my own son, as his dad, not as the person who runs the event.'
Plans have come into focus for BAWS 2020
We have confirmed August 21-23 (postponed to Sept 5-7 due to poor AQI related to fires) as dates for BAWS 2020, at Islanders Field in Lathrop. The next step will be to create the schedule and format the games within the state/county/facility guidelines, regarding social distancing, etc. Please remain patient for a bit longer. I should have that schedule worked out by Monday Aug. 17.
Those reading this are very likely aware that the NCAA recruiting dead period for recruiting has been pushed out to August 31. I have been told with significant confidence that the deadline may get pushed even further, possibly to March 2021. That has not happened quite yet.
There are efforts being made to hold the BAWS simulated competition toward the end of August or possibly over Labor Day weekend (Sept 5-7). It is looking like the previous possibility of Islanders Field hosting in August may now be feasible.
That is the lay of the land today. I will continue to assess the landscape and see where we fit, so as to maximize the benefit for the players and the college coaches. Good news is that I have the ability to live stream, which is obviously a good thing and best we can do in lieu of no college coaches being allowed out on the recruiting trail.
On 6/26/20 I emailed all registered players the plan for BAWS on the originally scheduled weekend July 10-11. Here is that update:
With Covid-19 regulations/guidelines put in place by the state of California and San Joaquin County, BAWS 2020 will have two phases. The workout/testing portion was held on July 10/11 at Islanders Field. Those who could attend, did so, while others opted to not for a variety of reasons.
The games phase will take place later in the summer, though with the NCAA recruiting dead period now extended to August 31, the original idea of holding the games in early August may be adjusted, perhaps into early September. The location is TBD, though I am close on solidifying that. I have also figured out the streaming option and will live stream the BAWS games.
You can read it via SportStars Magazine or simply read it here...
It’s National Letter of Intent (NLI) week for high school student-athletes. I have a twitter account so I have seen lots of posts, celebrating the accomplishments of many hard working and deserving student-athletes. However, in the age of social media and in the age of recruiting that so greatly celebrates the signing of a National Letter of Intent, there are other sides to the narrative with regard to NLI week that I’d like to share.
As a former Major League Baseball scout and former Division I recruiting coordinator, I’ve been asked for a lot of advice and my insights over the years. I’ve run my own showcase for a long time (Bay Area World Series, est. 2004), I’ve worked for nationally known showcase/tournament/ranking organizations, and due to my experience, I’ve learned and observed things that I’d like to pass along.
The first thing I’d like to pass along is for the kids who have not yet had an opportunity to sign in the early signing period or not yet secured an opportunity to continue competing at the college level. There is a lot of glitz and fanfare and attention given to kids who have earned such an opportunity, and they deserve congratulations. However, there is another signing period in the spring. All the spots on college rosters are not gone after the early signing period. There are still opportunities for you. In fact, the NLI is only for kids who have committed to NCAA D1 and D2 programs. There are hundreds of D3 programs, and NAIA programs, and junior college programs looking for hard working and talented student-athletes. Even the D1 and D2 programs are not done recruiting after the early signing period.
There are non-scholarship roster spots at D1 and D2 programs, if that is the level you aspire to. There are spots for recruited walk-ons, kids who receive academic scholarships and those who qualify for financial aid and also for kids whose family’s can afford college out of pocket. There are only a few sports that are ‘head count’ sports, which means that every player on that team/roster has a scholarship. In fact, most sports are equivalency sports, meaning that scholarships can (and are) broken up into fractions in order to provide aid to more kids and again, not all of those fractional scholarships are offered and spoken for in the early signing period.
Ok, so that chunk of knowledge I shared isn’t a secret in this day and age. I know there are a lot of players/families that are aware of the recruiting landscape, scholarships, roster spots, early signing vs spring signing, different levels of college competition, etc. The next chunk of knowledge I’d like to share is different, and not always acknowledged.
Every player who gets a scholarship will not finish playing at that school. Scholarships are not 4-year guarantees at every school. Players who put too much stock in this part (the early signing part) of the journey toward being a college student-athlete will soon find themselves wondering what the heck they got themselves into when they get to college. It is fantastic that you have earned a scholarship, it puts you in rare (truly) company and it is a significant accomplishment, but it is only a part of the journey.
When a freshman gets to a college team, all of a sudden an 18-year old, maybe even a 17-year old, is teammates and sharing a locker room with 21, 22, maybe even a 23-year old. Think about that. The difference in competition, maturity, coaching, daily time management skills needed, and lifestyle (no longer at home with mom and pops) are night and day. A high school senior headed to college has just recently competed against other high school competitors, some of whom are a couple of years younger than a senior. This is not to scare anyone, this is to bring awareness of the challenges that lie ahead. Those challenges are real. The talent funnel gets tighter, the experience of the competition is greater, the stakes are higher (yep, the college coaches are paid and keeping that job has a lot to do with winning more than losing).
So, celebrate the NLI, for a minute, then get back to work. Start working harder than you did to get to this point, because if you don’t, the signing of the NLI will be the highlight of your sports career, as will your twitter or instagram post noting your accomplishment. Accept the challenge that lies ahead. It’s a significant challenge.
As for those of you still looking for your opportunity, whether that means a roster spot opportunity or competing at a smaller level of collegiate athletics or continuing your development at the junior college level (which I am a fan of), your not having the opportunity to sign a NLI is a challenge to you. You are challenged to keep working hard, but work harder. Your challenge is to keep your head down, your spirits up, and stay faithful to your efforts (academically and athletically). Your challenge is to not look around and concern yourself with opportunities that others receive, because their opportunities have nothing to do with you and your future. Accept the challenge that lies ahead. It’s a significant challenge.
National Letter of Intent week is here and soon it will be gone and it represents something significant. For those with the opportunity to sign, it represents one more step achieved on your journey, not the final destination. For those who have not yet signed or may not eventually sign, it represents that you still have work to do.
For both groups of kids, NLI week signifies that your journey is not finished.
Good luck to you all.