Contact after Headfirst?

First off I want to say that I've been a long time lurker of this board and it has provided incredible insight and advice for me and my son the past year so I want to thank everyone that contributes and after I'm done with this process I will pass it forward to others.

A little background before my question. My son is a 2018 SS. He's ranked by PG as top 15 in our state (a big Northeast State) at SS. He has 2 offers on the table right now from D3 schools, one a high academic that he likes and another which is not a great academic school but was a Top 10 D3 program last year. As a very good student he's much more interested in the academic school but he felt the offers were pretty early and he wanted to wait until after HF to see what additional interest he would receive.

He just attended HF on LI and did well but man with 1000 kids over 4 sessions if you're not a pitcher or 6'4" 215 it's tough to get attention. My question is how long after HF should he wait to see if there is additional interest? 

He doesn't want to lose a spot at the school he likes but he also doesn't want to commit too early and potentially lose other opportunities that might be presented to him. A few of his friends and teammates have already committed to D3 schools. It feels like that process has really accelerated into August from what used to be September.

Right now he's planning on waiting a week to see if he hears from other coaches. Curious what people thought about that timetable. Thanks!

 

Original Post

He is fine, all the D3 schools will be continue to acquire talent all fall. if they like him they will stay in touch, get on campus for an over night, have him down to see a fall workout etc.

They want to lock up as much as possible but there is still plenty of moving parts. Most of the D2's are still filling pretty actively and you have quite a few top players who are making the same choices, do I want to play D3 or D2? where do I fit better, who has a better financial package so forth and so on.

2018SSDAD,

What discussions with coaches did your son have at HF?

Coaches are pretty accessible at HF, even with the large # of athletes.  I recommend to HF attendees to have a gameplan going into the event.  The majority of coaches/colleges are published in advance.  A student-athlete should make contact in advance of HF..."coach, I'm going to be at HF Session #X and look forward to seeing you there".  And they should make personal contact with (i.e., talk to face to face) the coaches/colleges on his vetted list at HF.  The event is set up for this.  And that's one way that pitchers and non-pitchers will get attention...by expressing interest in the colleges on the player's vetted list in person and often.

From those discussions, some next steps will naturally come out.  If they did, follow up on those now.

Regardless, I agree with Duck...reach out now to follow up with every school on his vetted list.  Particularly for a 2018, and IMHO, it doesn't matter the level of the program.  Summer 2017 is the prime recruiting time for high academic 2018's.

Good luck!

 

2018SS dad

I can add our experience from last year HF as well as friends who attended their July session (they actually have 1250 boys on the east coast this year and then also HF California as the July session was new this year):

- Last year, our 2017 and his friend made certain to speak to as many of the coaches of the schools they were interested in while there.  Several coaches then and there, expressed their interest and invited him for overnight visits.  A few others asked for him to send transcripts and test scores when he could.  A few others said they would be in touch.  And, a few others told him no.  One RC that told him they were not interested said if his velocity increased to at least 88, he should video it with a radar gun and send it and they might reconsider...one well known D3 said they had their guys already but if he got in on his own, he would be on the team, and two D1 schools told him if he got in on his own, he would LIKELY make the team and to keep in touch.  So we had a good idea driving away the 2nd day where he stood with most of his targeted schools

- He got some texts the first night there from other schools, and some emails and texts in the few days after his session (which meant they were contacting him during another session)

- Most of the schools followed up from the conversations there with an email or call by mid August.  He had some follow up though later, even up to Labor Day.

- One well known high academic and often top 25 D3 school which invited him for an overnight went "dark" and never contacted him or responded when he contacted them.  The AC he had spoken to left for another job so we chalked it up to that.  Oddly enough he ended up applying there, got in on his own, contacted the coaches to tell them and they still did not respond.  around May 1 when deposits are due they finally reached out (but alas they were too late by then).  

- The process has accelerated.  Your SS should be in touch and ask the D3 he likes that has offered when they need a decision by.  One D3 offered my 2017, we visited and he stayed overnight, had a great time.  Coach followed up a few days later on the phone.  Son said he liked the school, the program, and could see himself there.  It was not his top choice however.  At the time we had another overnight scheduled though and so son did not say I'm coming! (or that he was going to visit another school).  The day after the HC follow up phone call, this school emailed and said their class was full and they could no longer offer admissions support.  Wow, we had no idea it was an "exploding" offer and that he was at risk for not accepting by a certain date.  SO, learn a lesson, if the school is potentially a good fit make sure to clarify the decision timeline.  

- Friends who went to the July HF session have heard back from numerous schools and same process as my son, some have asked for transcripts and scores, some have made overnight visit suggestions.  They both sent emails after the showcase to their list of schools repeating their interest and they have had responses from those that are seemingly interested and others that have gone "dark" after seeing them. Not to say they might come back after these 4 sessions and circle back to them.  But I suggested they move forward with those they know that are interested now.

So, waiting a week may not be enough for some schools but as others have said, your son should reach out to them, depending on what dialogue he has already had.  

Hope this helps you.  Happy to help further by PM if it would be helpful to you.  

I echo Twoboys post.  Don't neglect that bird in the hand.

I think it's fine to contact schools he saw at HF, but if they are interested they will not not shy about it.  Your son should be getting contacts very soon, but often they are traveling around a bit and it might take another week to hear from some coaches. If they ask to see grades you know they are serious.   With others it may take even longer as they swing and miss with some kids on their board and move to the next group.  

Branson's question is a good one. Some of the coaches who contacted my 2017 after HF made a point of talking to him there.  

BTW  a 6' 4" D3 MIF would be the exception, not the rule, IMO.

Looks like the fourth and final session starts tomorrow . Some coaches at all four (most) wait until the end to start processing.  Though a TRUE RECRUIT could be contacted soon after the event ended. This does not prohibit your son from e-mailing. As others alluded to, which schools were contacted PRIOR to the event?. These are definitely ones you want to follow-up with. You wanted to be on their clipboard "watch list". Agree with others not to let other offers slide. So what you really want to find out is where your son is "on the board" of the schools your son would select over the schools which offered. Schools should be able to tell him at this time. All schools aren't on the same timeline.That's what makes things difficult, Good luck! Thanks for posting.

Thank you everyone. This is really helpful. Agree that it makes sense for him not to wait and reach out.

To answer the questions he did let all the coaches know ahead of time that he was going to be at HF when he sent them his summer schedule (along with his summer video), so not right before the camp. A number of coaches at that point let him know they were interested in seeing him play and would be at HF.

To Branson's question, he wasn't actively seeking coaches at at camp which I know is a mistake, it's the main thing they tell the kids to do, but that's just not my kid to be comfortable with that part of the process when the coaches are getting hit up constantly. I'm sure this didn't help him. Hopefully it didn't hurt.

 

2018ssdad, I am a 2019 dad, obviously from San Diego, and we will be attending the last session starting tomorrow on LI. There are several schools we reached out to via email earlier this week as many have suggested. I can see who opened the emails because we use a service that tracks that (recommend this). My son is like yours, a little on the shy/humble side when talking to coaches. We also will have to wait until at least Sept 1 to hear back if anyone shows interest. I think you got really good advice above from all of the responses. Please let us know how it plays out. Good luck to your son (and you).

Twoboys posted:

2018SS dad

I can add our experience from last year HF as well as friends who attended their July session (they actually have 1250 boys on the east coast this year and then also HF California as the July session was new this year):

- Last year, our 2017 and his friend made certain to speak to as many of the coaches of the schools they were interested in while there.  Several coaches then and there, expressed their interest and invited him for overnight visits.  A few others asked for him to send transcripts and test scores when he could.  A few others said they would be in touch.  And, a few others told him no.  One RC that told him they were not interested said if his velocity increased to at least 88, he should video it with a radar gun and send it and they might reconsider...one well known D3 said they had their guys already but if he got in on his own, he would be on the team, and two D1 schools told him if he got in on his own, he would LIKELY make the team and to keep in touch.  So we had a good idea driving away the 2nd day where he stood with most of his targeted schools

- He got some texts the first night there from other schools, and some emails and texts in the few days after his session (which meant they were contacting him during another session)

- Most of the schools followed up from the conversations there with an email or call by mid August.  He had some follow up though later, even up to Labor Day.

- One well known high academic and often top 25 D3 school which invited him for an overnight went "dark" and never contacted him or responded when he contacted them.  The AC he had spoken to left for another job so we chalked it up to that.  Oddly enough he ended up applying there, got in on his own, contacted the coaches to tell them and they still did not respond.  around May 1 when deposits are due they finally reached out (but alas they were too late by then).  

- The process has accelerated.  Your SS should be in touch and ask the D3 he likes that has offered when they need a decision by.  One D3 offered my 2017, we visited and he stayed overnight, had a great time.  Coach followed up a few days later on the phone.  Son said he liked the school, the program, and could see himself there.  It was not his top choice however.  At the time we had another overnight scheduled though and so son did not say I'm coming! (or that he was going to visit another school).  The day after the HC follow up phone call, this school emailed and said their class was full and they could no longer offer admissions support.  Wow, we had no idea it was an "exploding" offer and that he was at risk for not accepting by a certain date.  SO, learn a lesson, if the school is potentially a good fit make sure to clarify the decision timeline.  

- Friends who went to the July HF session have heard back from numerous schools and same process as my son, some have asked for transcripts and scores, some have made overnight visit suggestions.  They both sent emails after the showcase to their list of schools repeating their interest and they have had responses from those that are seemingly interested and others that have gone "dark" after seeing them. Not to say they might come back after these 4 sessions and circle back to them.  But I suggested they move forward with those they know that are interested now.

So, waiting a week may not be enough for some schools but as others have said, your son should reach out to them, depending on what dialogue he has already had.  

Hope this helps you.  Happy to help further by PM if it would be helpful to you.  

This is an excellent follow up by Twoboys...Takes you right into the eye of the tornado

2018SSDad posted:

Thank you everyone. This is really helpful. Agree that it makes sense for him not to wait and reach out.

To answer the questions he did let all the coaches know ahead of time that he was going to be at HF when he sent them his summer schedule (along with his summer video), so not right before the camp. A number of coaches at that point let him know they were interested in seeing him play and would be at HF.

To Branson's question, he wasn't actively seeking coaches at at camp which I know is a mistake, it's the main thing they tell the kids to do, but that's just not my kid to be comfortable with that part of the process when the coaches are getting hit up constantly. I'm sure this didn't help him. Hopefully it didn't hurt.

 

A couple of things, While it is a good idea to let coaches know in advance that you'll be attending an event, and also a good idea to do the 'headfirst handshake' , Try to remember that when an NCAA coach likes a kid they make their intentions clear. Immediately . They have roster sheets w/ contact info. If they like a player THEY reach out right away. Conversely , if there is no contact they are NOT interested. Period. Regardless of whether a kid emails or shakes hands. They watch the kids play and go after the ones they want RIGHT AWAY. It's that simple.

All these schools have a ink board with all their 2018 recruits listed by position and by ranking. At SS for 2018's they may have 4-5 names .  Their number one choice will be listed 1st and the rest of the names are ranked in order of importance to them ( 1 being best , 5 being worst ) . But generally it's a 'Good, better, best' type ranking.....Meaning, if you're on the board at all you're a pretty good fit.

Coaches reach out and talk to kids that are on their board. These guys on the board are considered 'Recruits '

I say all this about the board because what a lot of parents and kids don't realize is that when a RC or HC calls a kid it is generally during an allocated Call / Contact time during the coaches day. What that means is when he's finished talking to your kid he calls the next one on his list.  And before he talked to your kid he had already placed several calls to other recruits. Parents don't realize that these guys are working your kid and 3 other shortstops at the same time!

An NCAA roster spot is a coveted thing. Your son has 2 offers. That is a great thing this time of year for a 2018. But be forewarned , If your kid doesn't want it or doesn't show enough enthusiasm towards it , Another player will take it in a heartbeat.  So, while you want to do your homework and find that right school, You have to also honor the schools that have offered and know that those offers for the 2018 class are evaporating as I type this....The clock is ticking

Lot's of great advice here at HSBB Web. Different opinions based on experience. My son went thru the recruiting cycle as a 2016 and is currently playing at a D1 school in the South. My opinion on the 2018 class is that if you're still looking you're LATE. But you'll find different people here with different opinions than mine.

Don't forget. That unless your son projects for the 2018 MLB draft , you or your son never really choose the school....THEY choose you.

FACT : Less than 6% of the HS baseball players in the country will play NCAA baseball

http://www.hsbaseballweb.com/probability.htm

Best of luck!

Remember at D3 especially with the academic schools. Some you may need a coaches tip or support to get into the school if you do not have the academic chops on your own. Most of the NESCAC schools and quite a few others. These are the type of D3's that Stained Oblique is posting about. If you need a coaches assistance ti get into the school, and you cannot get into it on your own, or you are not a sure fire candidate to pass through admissions, when a coach offers you need to seriously consider it. Coaches have a limited number of athletes they can support through admissions at these types of schools. A coach is not going to give up one of his tips waiting for you. 

At other D3's, where there are not roster limits, or flexibility in  the size of the class . If you are their number one, or near the top of the list, you have plenty of time. I seriously doubt that a coach, in this situation, would tell a player, "sorry were full" because their number 3 player at that position "committed" . If the schools want you enough they will wait. 

And a stud is a stud is a stud. If the coach thinks your a stud and he has a shot, he will wait. 

StrainedOblique posted: 

A couple of things, While it is a good idea to let coaches know in advance that you'll be attending an event, and also a good idea to do the 'headfirst handshake' , Try to remember that when an NCAA coach likes a kid they make their intentions clear. Immediately . They have roster sheets w/ contact info. If they like a player THEY reach out right away. Conversely , if there is no contact they are NOT interested. Period. Regardless of whether a kid emails or shakes hands. They watch the kids play and go after the ones they want RIGHT AWAY. It's that simple.

All these schools have a ink board with all their 2018 recruits listed by position and by ranking. At SS for 2018's they may have 4-5 names .  Their number one choice will be listed 1st and the rest of the names are ranked in order of importance to them ( 1 being best , 5 being worst ) . But generally it's a 'Good, better, best' type ranking.....Meaning, if you're on the board at all you're a pretty good fit.

 

I agree with this advice in general, but specific to the OP's situation, I believe that a player can get on a school's board just based on contact before an event. I would imagine that many kids on HA D3 boards got there by initiating the contact. Just speculating, but how many guys could a school like Hopkins have on their board prior to HeadFirst? Maybe a few guys who attended camp? Friends/relatives of current players?
I'm imagining the kid who does something noteworthy in June or July (e.g. touched 89 at WWBA, ran a 6.8 60 or 90+ mph exit velocity at a showcase) sending that documentation and an expression of interest to the coaches before their HeadFirst session. Contacting coaches in advance just to let them know you're coming is usually just wasting your time and theirs. But, if you can send them a reason to give you a look, you have a much better chance of making it onto their list.

Just a "real time update" at the end of day 1 of Session 4 in Long Island - Headfirst is the real deal. Honestly, I am glad we did this camp/showcase last because I would have been really disappointed in Stanford and Showball had I done this first. As it worked out we did Stanford first (not worth the investment), Showball second (good showcase) and now Headfirst, the gold standard. I will go into more detail tomorrow on our HF experience. 

Regarding reaching out to schools ahead of time, you are only wasting an opportunity if nothing comes of it. We contacted my son's #1 D1 program who is here, gave him jersey # and schedule, and he came to see both of his games and initiated contact with us between games. We are on the board and the email contact (always with video links) is all part of OUR process. Has paid dividends so far. 

More tomorrow, but Headfirst is head and shoulders ahead of Showball and a very distant Stanford Camp in my opinion.

SanDiegoRealist posted:

Just a "real time update" at the end of day 1 of Session 4 in Long Island - Headfirst is the real deal. Honestly, I am glad we did this camp/showcase last because I would have been really disappointed in Stanford and Showball had I done this first. As it worked out we did Stanford first (not worth the investment), Showball second (good showcase) and now Headfirst, the gold standard. I will go into more detail tomorrow on our HF experience. 

Regarding reaching out to schools ahead of time, you are only wasting an opportunity if nothing comes of it. We contacted my son's #1 D1 program who is here, gave him jersey # and schedule, and he came to see both of his games and initiated contact with us between games. We are on the board and the email contact (always with video links) is all part of OUR process. Has paid dividends so far. 

More tomorrow, but Headfirst is head and shoulders ahead of Showball and a very distant Stanford Camp in my opinion.

SanDiegoRealist:

My son (2019, obviously) and I are here on Long Island from LA for session 4. Same boat. Shy but has come out of his shell here. Had a great day yesterday and amazing response from coaches. This showcase was built for a player like my son. He is good player but on a loaded travel/club team who has never been able to get the looks at PG or other tourney events and not interested in PG style showcases. He decided to focus on strength and conditioning all summer prior to making this his only event and it has paid off. BTW...I highly recommend every player consider this if they are light on the strength side after freshman or sophomore year.

I cannot tell you how great the RC's, head coaches and assistants are with the young men. The staff at Headfirst are top notch and everything is positive and run on schedule and efficient. Heck, the founder's brother created GameChanger and just sold it for millions! This by far is the best baseball investment my wife and and I have ever made for my son regardless of future outcome. Watching my son interact with coaches/adults on his own (without my encouragement) throughout the day was enough for me to call it a success.  

That being said, its the real deal. For my son, it took getting out of the LA bubble for him to find his voice.  Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, I guess.

You both have born out something I have thought since last year but didn't think I wanted to say out loud:  If you're a solid player, and you have a good showing, you can find a good D3 match by attending only one event - Head First. D1 and D2 - unlikely. But D3 for sure. If my 2017 had clones they could be playing all over the country, based just on 2 days at HF Sac.

While Stanford has certainly evolved, some college coaches love it.  D1's with strong academic standards love the Camps because there are so many D1 type players with great academics who won't be recruited or admitted to Stanford.

Many of the D3's love it ....but not because of the available D3 talent.  They identify the players with D1 talents but who may have question marks in terms of being actual D1 signings at programs with better academics.

As one D3 coach explained his perspective, he recruits the Stanford Camp looking for the players he thinks will end up very unhappy the following Spring.  They will have an axe to grind because they truly are a D1 talent, they have very good academics, but they are probably the #3's/4s on the board at the better academic D1's.  He gets a quality list from the Stanford Camp, waits until November, sees who didn't sign and isn't happy about it... and recruits the heck out of them.

2019cubdad posted:
SanDiegoRealist posted:

Just a "real time update" at the end of day 1 of Session 4 in Long Island - Headfirst is the real deal. Honestly, I am glad we did this camp/showcase last because I would have been really disappointed in Stanford and Showball had I done this first. As it worked out we did Stanford first (not worth the investment), Showball second (good showcase) and now Headfirst, the gold standard. I will go into more detail tomorrow on our HF experience. 

Regarding reaching out to schools ahead of time, you are only wasting an opportunity if nothing comes of it. We contacted my son's #1 D1 program who is here, gave him jersey # and schedule, and he came to see both of his games and initiated contact with us between games. We are on the board and the email contact (always with video links) is all part of OUR process. Has paid dividends so far. 

More tomorrow, but Headfirst is head and shoulders ahead of Showball and a very distant Stanford Camp in my opinion.

SanDiegoRealist:

My son (2019, obviously) and I are here on Long Island from LA for session 4. Same boat. Shy but has come out of his shell here. Had a great day yesterday and amazing response from coaches. This showcase was built for a player like my son. He is good player but on a loaded travel/club team who has never been able to get the looks at PG or other tourney events and not interested in PG style showcases. He decided to focus on strength and conditioning all summer prior to making this his only event and it has paid off. BTW...I highly recommend every player consider this if they are light on the strength side after freshman or sophomore year.

I cannot tell you how great the RC's, head coaches and assistants are with the young men. The staff at Headfirst are top notch and everything is positive and run on schedule and efficient. Heck, the founder's brother created GameChanger and just sold it for millions! This by far is the best baseball investment my wife and and I have ever made for my son regardless of future outcome. Watching my son interact with coaches/adults on his own (without my encouragement) throughout the day was enough for me to call it a success.  

That being said, its the real deal. For my son, it took getting out of the LA bubble for him to find his voice.  Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, I guess.

Agree 1000%!!! This to me is a must  attend event.

Headfirst does it right.  And it's very different than the Stanford Camp.

100+ high academic D1 and D3 (and a couple D2) schools.  Showcase and games on adjacent fields so every coach is present.  Highly accessible coaches over two days who expect to have discussions with prospective student-athletes. 

Oftentimes a player who is fishing in the high academic pond, will find his vetted list of schools could be completely addressed by a single HF event.  All but 2 or 3 of the schools that offered my 2016 saw him at HF. 

Good luck to those who have posted on this thread.  It sounds like a lot of promising opportunities!

To this excellent string of posts, I would add that we are now in mid-August and you need to sit down with your son very soon and plan his campus visits to see the schools he is interested in, watch the practices, and meet with the other coaches not at HF (oftentimes the HC).  When they see you visiting the campus, they are going to move you up the board because they know you have a real interest over other kids who do not commit to a visit.  And your son can really get a sense of how interested the coach is by how much time he spends with him on the visit. 

If you are leaning D3, remember there is a very short window where they can practice in the Fall.  So have your son contact the coach and let him know he wants to visit and watch a practice.  My 2017 even used the e-mail subject line with his name, position and then "Possible Campus Visit Dates Sept XX-XX."  They got opened and responded to all of the time.  While some may question why it is necessary to watch a practice, we found it hugely valuable for those schools out of area.  My son crossed off a few candidates based on observations on the coaching interaction, discussions with players on the team about the coach, quality of play, competition at his position, and so on.

And if he is leaning high academic, scheduling the campus visit now gives a better chance of meeting with admissions for qualifications, financial aid, etc.  A word to the wise on the academic schools--the coach and admissions department will usually push for an Early Decision application.  Be sure your son is 100% certain it is the school of choice because if he is accepted, that is where he must go (with few exceptions).  My son was willing to do Early Action, not Early Decision, and it may have cost him some early interest from some schools who were hoping he'd commit.  But it was definitely the right decision to leave the flexibility open all the way into the Spring when he did make his final decision.

P.S. Glad to hear others agreeing HeadFirst is the gold standard for kids who are not sure D1 material and have an academics first focus on college.  Now that it is all said and done for my 2017, I could not agree more.

3and2Fastball posted:

Awesome thread....Two Questions:

Is the Rising Sophomore summer too early to attend Headfirst?

What is the minimum GPA threshold to where Headfirst doesn't make sense?  i.e. "yeah dude your grades are too low for Headfirst"

IMO, rising softmore is too early for HF. From what I have gathered on this board and from talking to coaches here rising junior summer is on the early side here, rising senior is the sweet spot.

GPA wise most kids here are pumping heat -3.9 unweighted plus. 

3and2Fastball posted:

Awesome thread....Two Questions:

Is the Rising Sophomore summer too early to attend Headfirst?

What is the minimum GPA threshold to where Headfirst doesn't make sense?  i.e. "yeah dude your grades are too low for Headfirst"

3 & 2: In my opinion given the cost of the showcase rising sophomore is too early to attend HF. (Exception would be if son is a P throwing near 90 or hitter who mashes). Son went as a rising junior, which for some schools was early in the process. One school that son was in touch with had their focus on concluding their rising senior recruiting class. Still son went to HF as a rising junior as a number of the schools he had vetted (correspondences, seen him at other showcases, given transcripts) were there. Also widened son's recruiting net attending. But going early allows you to see how son stacks up with older kids, which my son was able to compare.  Really gave him an impetus to increase his arm strength as he would see a number of the same prospect/recruits at future High academic (Ivy) showcases and camps.

As for the GPA question. I remember seeing a flyer (or receiving invite in mail) about an Academic showcase which required 3.0 GPA. In my opinion that's not high academic. 3.5 GPA or better would get into many conversations. As you would imagine, there is a sliding scale..higher MPH allows for lower GPA. Coaches know what gets through admissions. Also a student who tests well (ACT/SAT) allows for a lower GPA.  At the highest academic schools, I found the Academic Index (AI) handy to compare with the general population of admits. When son got deep into recruitment, team GPA was one of the questions he asked in comparing schools and later offers. Played a significant factor in decision along with the possibility of STEM major.

Good luck to all at showcases.

Each post in this thread should be extremely useful.

I would just like to give an additional to Backstop22 and emphasize this point being made:

"So have your son contact the coach and let him know he wants to visit and watch a practice.  My 2017 even used the e-mail subject line with his name, position and then "Possible Campus Visit Dates Sept XX-XX."  They got opened and responded to all of the time.  While some may question why it is necessary to watch a practice, we found it hugely valuable for those schools out of area.  My son crossed off a few candidates based on observations on the coaching interaction, discussions with players on the team about the coach, quality of play, competition at his position, and so on."

3and2Fastball posted:

Awesome thread....Two Questions:

Is the Rising Sophomore summer too early to attend Headfirst?

What is the minimum GPA threshold to where Headfirst doesn't make sense?  i.e. "yeah dude your grades are too low for Headfirst"

Rising Sophomore summer is too early.  Focus on strength, speed, skill refinement and reps!  You have to have something to show to standout.  Plot out a study plan to help your son take an early fall junior year ACT-SAT. 

Rising Junior summer can still be too early if the player has nothing to show.  Better to wait till maybe the fall junior HF event in November, and go to the AZ FAll Junior Classic at the end of October.

If nothing to show you still won't be seen.

 

 

Great to see how helpful this thread has become.

My son also did HF as a rising Jr and I would say it wasn't worth it at all from recruitment standpoint - these guys are only interested in rising Seniors - but it was worth it from an experience standpoint. Of course it's a very expensive experience.

Most valuable was getting experience against better pitchers with 1-1 counts.

All batters start with 1-1 counts at HF unlike PG and every other showcase we ever went to. My son has been a leadoff batter his whole life and working walks so he can use his speed on the bases is a huge part of his game. That doesn't play at all at HF.

You will see a ton of kids K during each of the games because of the 1-1 count the start out on. It's really easy to get behind in a 1-2 count and with the quality of arms and after that most kids are toast.

Going into his second HF he was ready. He even played his last few summer tournament games with the mindset that it was 1-1 count every time he got in the box. It paid off. He only K'd 1 time in 9 AB and hit the ball hard consistently through all 4 games often swinging at the first pitch which is something he never does. 

It's also a good experience just to be in front of 90+ coaches and do the defensive showcase. That can be a very intimidating experience and worth it to have done it at least once before with so much on the line at the HF before your Sr season.

2018SSDad posted:

Great to see how helpful this thread has become.

My son also did HF as a rising Jr and I would say it wasn't worth it at all from recruitment standpoint - these guys are only interested in rising Seniors - but it was worth it from an experience standpoint. Of course it's a very expensive experience.

Most valuable was getting experience against better pitchers with 1-1 counts.

All batters start with 1-1 counts at HF unlike PG and every other showcase we ever went to. My son has been a leadoff batter his whole life and working walks so he can use his speed on the bases is a huge part of his game. That doesn't play at all at HF.

You will see a ton of kids K during each of the games because of the 1-1 count the start out on. It's really easy to get behind in a 1-2 count and with the quality of arms and after that most kids are toast.

Going into his second HF he was ready. He even played his last few summer tournament games with the mindset that it was 1-1 count every time he got in the box. It paid off. He only K'd 1 time in 9 AB and hit the ball hard consistently through all 4 games often swinging at the first pitch which is something he never does. 

It's also a good experience just to be in front of 90+ coaches and do the defensive showcase. That can be a very intimidating experience and worth it to have done it at least once before with so much on the line at the HF before your Sr season.

2018SS I can relate here. Most of showcases my son attended were the 1-1 count start which definitely favors the pitcher. Son started to see a pattern though. First pitch usually a fastball (because radar guns are on). May or not be a strike. Once 2 strikes , then you would see the "out" off-speed pitch, unless fastball was truly pitch that pitcher wants to feature; saw some of them. Even tougher when two coaches in dugout at a 1-1 count (not HF) event told son they wanted him to lay down a bunt for a hit.. He did and followed it up with two steals. Both schools offered within three weeks after showcase. By the way, was your son happy with his 60 time?

Ripken fan, that is a good point.  It sound like the OP of this thread and the rest of the posters all have sons who showed well at HF, but for anyone reading this who has not been to HF yet, this may be the most important advice a hitter could receive:  show up ready to mash and looking for a fastball on the first pitch of your at bats, and if you see it, rip it.  You're exactly right about the sequence. Pitcher starts with a 1-1 count and throws a FB. With the "umpire" being a coach behind the pitcher, anything near the zone is going to be called a strike, so unless you're really good at hitting curveballs in the dirt or fastballs above the hands, you better be ready to jump on that 1-1 FB.

JCG posted:

Ripken fan, that is a good point.  It sound like the OP of this thread and the rest of the posters all have sons who showed well at HF, but for anyone reading this who has not been to HF yet, this may be the most important advice a hitter could receive:  show up ready to mash and looking for a fastball on the first pitch of your at bats, and if you see it, rip it.  You're exactly right about the sequence. Pitcher starts with a 1-1 count and throws a FB. With the "umpire" being a coach behind the pitcher, anything near the zone is going to be called a strike, so unless you're really good at hitting curveballs in the dirt or fastballs above the hands, you better be ready to jump on that 1-1 FB.

JCG brings up a good point here that isn't talked about enough IMO. NCAA coaches / RC's want guys that hit the the ball HARD. They want guys that MASH. Don't have to hit jacks but you gotta hit the ball hard w/back spin. Doesn't matter if they are line drive outs. Attack at the plate. Don't be looking walk.

HS stats mean nothing . And for the parent that is an MLB fan , they don't give a rats a** about OBP .  Only guys that SLUG. It's an approach. Regional Scout for MLB team told me two years ago. " Guys are either looking to walk or looking to hit....and most HS kids are tentative at the plate. Scared of failing. I'm looking for guys w/quick hands and are aggressive. That swing at NON strikes and hit gappers "

Hit the ball hard and break a 7.0 in the 60...........That's the name of the game for a position player at a showcase

Twoboys posted:

As older son advised younger son when he walked several times at one of his first showcases, "no one ever walked off the island, you have to hit your way off."

(it was a reference to the DR)

Unless you're a really good swimmer. 

 

(I know, I know.  I used a different version of the joke on another thread. Sorry, couldn't resist.)

2018SSdad, I've had two sons now got to HF/Stanford. My 2017 went to Stanford summer before Jr. year, and HF Jupiter, then HF/Stanford in summer before sr. year.  My 2019 went to HF/Stanford this past summer.  He went to both sequentially so we could save airfare, but I like the fall HF timing better for a junior.  I'm still not sure the value of HF during rising jr.  summer, but I'm just not brave enough to roll the dice one time only.  That being said, my 2017 got all the real attention he ever got in the weeks after HF before Sr. year, and it worked out well for him, once he got over the fact that he wasn't going to play D1 at one of the schools he coveted. Instead, he's heading to a high academic D3 in two weeks and very excited about it.

I'm not sure yet what route the 2019 will take from this point.  So, even after going through this once, I'm not sure the best path to take is any clearer.

Okay, I offered to write up my impression of the Headfirst Honor Roll Showcase at Long Island, so here it comes. I will make comparisons to Stanford and Showball since we did all three this summer. 

Arrival/Checkin- Uh, nice guy alert! These guys are genuinely enthusiastic in welcoming each and every player as they enter the Baseball Heaven Facility. Check in was easy (my son was #194, which is tough to cheer for). They start the boys (and a girl at this camp) off with an introduction and what to expect from Brendan Sullivan. More on him later. There were roughly 275 kids here this session, and while that may sound like a lot, it was so organized that it was not overwhelming. The facility easily handled it. Sixteen teams in all. That will equate to a position player playing roughly 1/2 of each 6-inning game and pitchers are scripted on appearances (PO's get 2 innings each day if they feel capable, 2-way guys get 1 per day). PO's do not hit.

Testing was well run, all done on the same field in front of all the coaches. Sixties were hand timed in the OF while OF and IF guys did their Fielding and throwing drills in front of all coaches. Times were consistent with what my son has run all summer, even at events with laser timing systems. I did not see a lot of booted balls, but a few kids were amped and threw wildly toward 1B. No radars that I noticed (this was true of Stanford and Showball as well). Stanford Camp did not test the kids in front of all coaches. Showball did. Hitting with exit velo was done in the indoor cages with 91 coaches staring you down. How's that for pressure? They also hit in outdoor cages. 

I did the math and about 30% of the kids at this event were 2019s. 60 % 2018s, 9.9% 2020's and someone sneaked a 2021 in there. 

Game play - yes they start with the dreaded 1-1 count (all the showcase do except PG - which I like, PG). They do it to keep the pace up, but it really is a disadvantage to the hitter, they can't really have an approach at the plate like normal. Pitchers were dumping 1st pitch breaking balls in for a strike, and most kids are sitting fastball. Then you have to battle and while I did see some solid contact in our games (1 HR), there were many more guys who, like my son, had to try to hit A curveball as well as they could. Son went 2-7 for the event. My son had opportunities to play primary and secondary positions defensively. Pitchers were clocked during games with a more detailed scouting report made of the pitchers. This report is made available to the coaches at the camp, not the players. Position players do not get an evaluation. Brendan Sullivan explained they thought it was a better use of the coach's time to have them watching the kids actually play. Agree 100%, felt the evaluation we got at Stanford Camp was ridiculous and was not even written by the coach my son spent the majority of his time with. Essentially, felt it was worthless. 

Where the Headfirst event separates itself is in accessibility to the coaches and the willingness these coaches bring to the event to talk to the players. You get a different set of coaches in the dugout during each of your 4 games, all available to answer questions and they are forthcoming on advice during the game. I saw coaches standing on the field of play during the game to get their eyes on kids. There is a gaggle of about 6-10 coaches behind a barrier at each game (you play 4 games) evaluating as well as coaches roaming the cloverleaf between all the games watching. The kids could go up to any coach and talk them up. This was highly encouraged. It's tough for a young guy to build up the courage to go talk to a coach cold turkey, but as the event went on you could see kids going up to more and more coaches giving their "elevator speech." Neither Stanford not Showball seemed to have this feel.

Brendan Sullivan and Joe Graziano each gave 20-30 minute presentations to all the boys, talking about the recruiting process, expectations, how to handle failure in the recruiting process, why D1 may not be the best fit for a player and the difference between the divisions in the NCAA (told kids there were crap D1 programs just like there are crap D2 and D3 programs). Basically it was a buyer beware speech and that always seems to resonate better when it comes from a player/coach rather than a parent. Final speech on day 2 was the best with Brendan Sullivan telling his story of how he went to Stanford the drafted etc. Very inspiring, eye opening and it struck a chord with everyone I spoke to afterwards. 

Another aspect of the camp were the panel discussions intended for the parents. Joe Graziano and three coaches would present the lay of the land regarding recruiting and college baseball in general and took questions from parents. I had my son sit down to listen to one of these sessions with me. Nothing that most of us who frequent this board didn't already know, but again when it comes from the mouth of a coach, well it sinks in better with the kids.

The caliber of pitching was 100% better than we saw at both Showball and Stanford. Not sure why Stanford Camp was the way it was, and no offense to anyone who had a pitcher there, but it was a higher caliber of pitching at the Headfirst camp, both with velo and command/control. There were way more 2018s at HeadfIrst than the other camps, and I think that accounts for a lot of it. There were a couple guys throwing 90-91 at the camp. They got immediate attention after throwing from coaches. Like most events, I feel pitchers were the premium position that were being looked at, but there were solid players at every position. 

Last note because my thumbs are sore - the Headfirst crowd of players/parents is a different socio-economic layer (at least in the Long Island event) than I have seen at other events like Stanford and Showball. Very few hispanic and African American kids. Like noticeably few. Showball seemed to be the most diverse and Stanford was like Headfirst. The kids at Headfirst camp were smart. They looked smart. A few smelled smart. They could play the game. I came away thinking if these were the kids looking to get into High academic programs, whether D1 or D3, then your player better be a baller because it's not going to be easy to get into any of those programs with that kind of competition.

Nutshell: Headfirst is money well spent, would do again if son is not committed next summer. Showball comes in second. Stanford I would not even recommend.

PM me if you have any more specific questions.

Sounds like it was a good experience for your son, as well as a good write up.

Key difference with Showball: faster pace,two games are played at the same time on adjacent fields.  Half the coaches watch one game and the other half of coaches watch the other game. Players play one game on each field so they're able to play in front of all coaches.  At HF there's no guarantee you'll play in front of your targeted college coach. At Showball you will. 

Showball is a bang bang get it done setup, if you finish one of the earlier games in the day it's a challenge to talk with a coach (because he's already focused on the next game).   A coach that is interested in you will make the effort to talk with you privately; they coordinate the meeting before you leave.

My suggestion for Showball attendees is to request a team that plays at the end of the afternoon session on day 2 so your son can talk with all the coaches before he leaves.  (Caveat: you'll have to take a later flight).

Also, at Showball each college coach is assigned to debrief each player with a skill-tool assessment and skills testing results.

I like both HF and Showball for different reasons, to include: key coaches are only at one or the other.  If your son is further in the process (rising senior) and needs to be seen again, Showball can be effective.  This was the case for us, we appreciated getting the key ABs in front of six coaching staffs son has been talking to, and getting done early was appreciated.

I agree 100%. I will also say that coming from California, my son got much better looks from colleges that he never would have even considered if he would just stuck to showcases and tourneys out west. He has been asked to visit four east coast D1 schools as a result of this Headfirst showcase. West Coast schools keep asking to see more as the competition is so much more intense. Particularly in SoCal. Being originally from the east coast, it was hard to convince him of the academic prestige of some of these schools. I think he is finally starting to appreciate them a little more.

Well I just love this post. If your son is academic oriented, HF is worth every single penny. The price tag is high, but they even worked a payment plan with me ahead of time. Very reputable people and I think their character resonated with the boys. Their well rehearsed speeches cut right thru the bull. (Like it's your job to contact and interact with the coaches, not mommy & daddy) . Solid, truthful, sincere talks. The Coaches could not have been nicer. I overheard conversations where I just thought the coach was  one hell of a guy. (Ursinus, Holy Cross). My son did a great job, and it's a truism: If the coaches like a player, there's no mistaking it. We are going to visit some schools come September and see where it leads him. Remember the caveat: play where you are loved.

SanDiegoRealist,

Enjoyed your post, and I'm glad to see that HeadFirst is still well run, well respected and a value to their customers. My oldest son attended HeadFirst 9 years ago in Virginia, and he found exactly what he was looking for at that showcase.  It was money well spent or invested depending on your perspective.    FWIW - My son did not attend the other showcases mentioned in this thread.    

SanDiegoRealist posted:

Just a "real time update" at the end of day 1 of Session 4 in Long Island - Headfirst is the real deal. Honestly, I am glad we did this camp/showcase last because I would have been really disappointed in Stanford and Showball had I done this first. As it worked out we did Stanford first (not worth the investment), Showball second (good showcase) and now Headfirst, the gold standard. I will go into more detail tomorrow on our HF experience. 

Regarding reaching out to schools ahead of time, you are only wasting an opportunity if nothing comes of it. We contacted my son's #1 D1 program who is here, gave him jersey # and schedule, and he came to see both of his games and initiated contact with us between games. We are on the board and the email contact (always with video links) is all part of OUR process. Has paid dividends so far. 

More tomorrow, but Headfirst is head and shoulders ahead of Showball and a very distant Stanford Camp in my opinion.

SDR, greetings from the neighborhood.  Out of curiosity, why LI and not Sacto?  Travel put you in NY, or was it driven by his #1 school?  

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