Son (2021) has been offered free to join invitations for SportsRecruits & NCSA through his club team and FieldLevel via his HS Head Coach.  I am just wondering which one(s) are worth while to set up, which ones not so much and do they overlap?  Also, he has a PBR Prospect Plus account too.

Son's pool of schools he is looking at to play college baseball includes mid major D1 and lower to JuCo in the upper Midwest due to various criteria.  Is there a particular service that is subscribed by these type of schools or do they subscribe to them all as to leave no stone unturned?

For those players/parents that have used these services now/past, what aspects of service or information included helped you/your player get traction (communication/offers) for recruiting?

I know this topic has been covered in bits & pieces in the past and this will be just one facet of many to reach out and communicate with college coaches.  Thanks.

Original Post

I feel I am qualified to answer this question.  We have a NCSA, Sportsrecruit, PBR Plus but not Field Level.  We have one other one too but the name escapes me at the moment.   Without question NCSA has gotten the most views and searches.   I would now just do one site if starting over and I would pick NCSA.  We have a few due to different travel programs recommending different sites.  Why even have a site?  Its a great place to upload his measurables and upload video and your son can provide the link when emailing coaches.   You can use it to identify the best college fits based on his grades and playing ability.   We used NCSA college search tool to zero in on 60 colleges at first (Soph year), then when we got more serious about his level of play we whittled it to 25 (Junior year).  Then when we really focused down on his major we got down to the 10 best fits (summer between Junior and Senior year).   The real culling of schools occurred when he realized he was allergic to encomics which knocked out the liberal arts schools.  He then emailed the coaches to alert them to where he was playing.  A number of coaches replied, maybe half the 10.   When we went to bigger events, like Headfirst those schools came to see him play.  Many more reached out post Head First.   

If you son is a D3 level player the most important thing he can do is create a list of the schools he would really like to attend and then reach out to the coaches the summer between junior and senior year.   If your son is a high end D1 talent they will find him without the sites (actually they would have found him already as he's a 2021).  If he's a D1 player outside the high end I don't quite know but I suspect having one site is not a bad call. 

Clearly these are just my opinions but NCSA was our go to, his process really worked out well as we had choices for his top schools and he couldn't be more excited to get to college next year.   As soon as he committed he tripled his gym time!  He's never been more focused.

I would love to hear what a coach has to say about these sites.  I suspect they will say nice to have but they need to see the kids play live.....

 

 

What is it you want a recruiting service to do for you? I wouldn’t use it for anything more than a place to make video accessible. But that can be done other places for less or free.

Do not rely on a service to find you a place to play college ball. Put yourself in charge. Find the right travel team with the right coaching staff that will get you in front of the right college programs and presell you. 

Make a business plan and execute it. Step one is knowing what level of college ball you should be targeting. Then pick conferences at that level and make a list of schools that are academically, baseball, socially and culturally a potential fit. Then make contact or have your coach make contact expressing interest and to find out where to get in front of them. 

A list of fifty is not too big. The more you learn some schools won’t be of interest anymore. Some schools won’t be interested in you. 

There are a lot of people on this site who can help you learn how to be in control. Do not pay some recruiting service who doesn’t know you or your ability and potential to throw spaghetti off the wall to see what sticks. Do you open spam email? Do you think coaches open spam?

Good luck.

If he is looking in the midwest and has already attended a PBR showcase and is in their system, I wouldn't worry about the others.   They don't do anything you can't do yourself.  Do you have video?  If not, create one....it's really simple.  There are numerous threads on this site detailing what to include.  Get a list of target schools together and email the video and any verifiable measureables to the RC.  Include the link to his PBR listing.   Also, if his travel program is good, they should also be able to help get his name in front of coaches.  Let them know who you emailed and see if they can drop an email to the coach also.  

Recruiting is simpler than these sites would have you think, and sites where you self-report measurables are not that helpful, since they need to be verified anyway.  My son had a free NCSA site (for which we had to do an hour-long phone interview), and at some point he put up a free Berecruited site, but he didn't ever update them, so his profiles were pretty weak-looking and out of date.  I don't think they helped or hurt in any way except that he got more camp invites.

The one time we noticed anything happening based on a website was when he put his SAT scores on the PG website; the next day he got the email from Stanford that many people get - sounds like they are recruiting you, but really they want you to go to their camp.

Agree that coach word of mouth is the most important (after having baseball skills/measurables to begin with).

We used CaptainU, Field Level and Sports Recruits.  I feel like it basically put us on every camp email list and not much more. I agree it's a place to put your videos and your GPA and such. But, YouTube is really so easy.  Create a channel and just attach the link to coach emails. It's free too.  Don't pay up for the other sites, I don't think it's worth it.  We did premium for all and ended up canceling.

I really liked Sports Recruits.  My 2020 had an NCSA profile, but we didn't really do much with it- so it might be as good.  He was given a Sports Recruit profile by his summer team and it was a big step up from emailing with youtube links.  Best features:

  • Already had email addresses and websites for baseball programs- made contact easy (although sometimes during the coaching carousel of May-July they could get out of date)
  • It would notify you if a specific school viewed the profile or watched a video (and which video they watched).  Previously on regular emails, you had no idea if anyone read it or cared.  My son and I would both get a text and email anytime anything really happened.  I let him own the responses, but I was in the loop at least.
  • Uploading videos, pictures, and content was easy for him.

I'm sure some of these other sites could do many of these things, but I liked it. 

 

RoadRunner posted:

“Recruiting websites-which ones are good?”

short answer:  this one!

That is a very good post that has a lot to it! I don’t know why so many people think they aren’t getting value if they aren’t spending money. This site can do everything for you that a recruiting site can do and it won’t cost a thing. If you can identify the more experienced people on this site you can get better advice and direction from them then you will get from any recruiting site. 

I agree 100% that the best advice is to be found here at hsbbw.  But, I see the point of what some people have identified as services provided by these companies.  They seem to fall into two categories:

- posting video and measurables:  but, you can do videos free on YouTube, and measurables are best when coming from sources such as PBR or PG anyway.  Many things matter more than putting this information on a recruiting site, starting with having the skills that colleges want, and then having a reputable coach who will contact colleges for you.

- having databases where you can search colleges, get coach contact info, etc.  Getting coach contact info is not hard, although it takes time.  Looking for colleges based on specific criteria, especially if trying to combine academic, geographical, and baseball information, IS hard.  We did it all ourselves, but I can understand people paying a company to provide all the data so they don't have to look it up themselves.

Most high-school players end up playing college baseball in their home states.  Of the 30 friends of my son who are freshmen baseball players in college, from juco to P5, only 8 are playing out of state, and 7 of those are playing in the next state over.  It's not hard to research colleges in your state.

 

For whatever it's worth, Sports Recruit was free for us through the summer team.  No advising, just a platform that tracks views from schools.  I wouldn't recommend an advisor (paid), but I would recommend something like this- especially if its given to you as part of your summer or school team.  Why not?  We felt like we were flying blind on emails.  On this platform, we knew if a school was looking at his videos he's post- even if they weren't communicating much or at all. It's information anyhow.

anotherparent posted:
- having databases where you can search colleges, get coach contact info, etc.  Getting coach contact info is not hard, although it takes time.  Looking for colleges based on specific criteria, especially if trying to combine academic, geographical, and baseball information, IS hard.  We did it all ourselves, but I can understand people paying a company to provide all the data so they don't have to look it up themselves.

 

This ended up being the most value for us but, in hind sight, definitely not worth what we paid. I've posted out here about our experiences with recruiting services, both good and bad. In summary, I mostly-likely wouldn't sign up for any paid plans if I could do it over though I might entertain a very reasonable "access to database only" option.

Personally, I don't think any of them are "good".  I think they are a waste of time and money.  The key is to get a player's skill & measureables to a level where a college program will want them.  There is nothing a recruiting website can do to help with that... Just my 2 cents

anotherparent posted:

I agree 100% that the best advice is to be found here at hsbbw.  But, I see the point of what some people have identified as services provided by these companies.  They seem to fall into two categories:

- posting video and measurables:  but, you can do videos free on YouTube, and measurables are best when coming from sources such as PBR or PG anyway.  Many things matter more than putting this information on a recruiting site, starting with having the skills that colleges want, and then having a reputable coach who will contact colleges for you.

- having databases where you can search colleges, get coach contact info, etc.  Getting coach contact info is not hard, although it takes time.  Looking for colleges based on specific criteria, especially if trying to combine academic, geographical, and baseball information, IS hard.  We did it all ourselves, but I can understand people paying a company to provide all the data so they don't have to look it up themselves.

Most high-school players end up playing college baseball in their home states.  Of the 30 friends of my son who are freshmen baseball players in college, from juco to P5, only 8 are playing out of state, and 7 of those are playing in the next state over.  It's not hard to research colleges in your state.

 

A lot of good info in this post, especially...

"Many things matter more than putting this information on a recruiting site, starting with having the skills that colleges want, and then having a reputable coach who will contact colleges for you."

A few questions, though (directed to the group - not just anotherparent) ... do you really need coach contact info?  I have rarely had difficulty finding the HC and RC along with contact info readily available on the school athletic site and it tends to be updated far more often than outside resources.  Also, most kids going through the recruiting process don't necessarily have a solid idea of what their "criteria" is for a college and, thus, need to wade through school sites and make visits anyway.  Those who do know their specific direction are most likely more in-tune to which specific colleges may provide both their desired major and a baseball program that may be a fit than any service would.

Your final point rounds things out nicely.  Yes, in fact, most will attend either an in-state or neighboring state college.  So, that alone instantly narrows the search significantly. 

I guess that brings me back to agreeing with the point that everything you really need (aside from the skill set and reputable spokesperson, which services cannot give you) is here for free.   I would be more inclined to spend that money on having a videographer come out for a couple hours and help with a recruiting video, but only after the skill set is there and you know what to tell them to focus on and how to shoot it. 

Yes, excellent explanation from anotherparent & cabbagedad! 

Back in the day, son attended a PG showcase & participated in a couple WWBA tourneys...That was more than enough exposure...He had media guides & stuff from all over! PG profile was plenty...We're in Texas, so between in-State choices (all levels), and neighboring state reciprocal tuition rates, there were enough possibilities...Having a travel coach with connections helped, too. 

We put out $$'s for pitching lessons...NO need for (disinterested) recruiting service.  

I’ll take a shot at the group questions you mentioned Cabbage. I don’t believe that anyone needs to search for coach contact info other than from the school’s athletic site. That’s should be the most reliable source. Agreed kids (and parent$) need to wade through school sites and do visits. There is really no substitute for either of those. That said, I mentioned earlier that the databases these services offer can be valuable and I’ve outlined below what was most useful to us. Before I get flamed; yes, all of this can be gathered with legwork but there is considerable effort put into that to get it into a form that is easily comparable side-by-side-by-side, especially with a large list. I’ve seen others out here that have used spreadsheets to do this and we did some of that ourselves. However, a single interface that is easily navigable/manipulated, and pulls data from external sources automatically (by Niche in this case), can be worth some coin when your kid is making the larger list that will eventually get whittled down. Our youngest got interested in, and connected with, some schools he had never heard of this way (he's actually attending one) as neither his mother nor I played sports in college and both went to Big State U’s (I was recruited in my sport but that was a different time and a topic for another day).

Search filters/options:

  1. College name
  2. State(s)
  3. Division(s)
  4. Academic Selectivity (Most Selective, Selective, Somewhat Selective, All Others, All)
  5. Enrollment size
  6. Tuition range
  7. Type (military, HBC, Christian, Men's Only, All)
  8. Setting (Rural, Suburban, Urban, All)
  9. Public/Private
  10. Majors

* Also can search coach-reported roster openings separately

 Individual college searches result in the following:

  • Basic Info (division, type, academic selectivity, athletic selectivity, enrollment, tuition total [in & out], religious affiliation, etc.)
  • Match Analysis (based on evaluation of your video, reported metrics, grades/scores, and preferences you define)
  • Admissions Info (acceptance rate, enrollment numbers, test percentiles, financial aid, costs, scholarship averages, etc.)
  • Academic Info (grad rate, study abroad, student faculty ratio, majors offered, etc.)
  • Campus Life (demographics, location info, housing, athletics, ROTC, etc.)

I think most of the big name services we’ve seen mentioned offer some level of this but none of them are worth their paid plans for this alone, in my opinion. Using this is also going under the assumption that you trust that what is in their database is accurate and that can be a big assumption so, if you’re going to use one, always verify against what the school reports. We found some discrepancies, usually in the financial areas, because of data that was a year or so back. Also, sometimes they won’t be up to date on the current coaching staff but my son didn’t use these platforms for any coach communications, with the exception of one coach who reached out directly via the messaging function. All the rest were pretty much just camp invites. All that said, my complaints of the cost outweigh the value I’ve stated but I do think it can be worth something. Hope this helps someone.

If they are free thru the club team or coaches then just pick one, upload some video and contact info and maybe some schools stumble upon it. 

If it is part of his club where they advocate for using one of these services then just find a new team because it should be their job to sell you to schools not have a website do it. If you have to put a single dollar down for any of them just save the money they're not worth it unless he is strictly interested in the D3 route. 

This thread made me remember that my kids' travel organization sets us up with sports recruits for free ( though probably factored into our fees ). I just went and looked at my 2020's profile which he maintained. While I'm pretty positive it didn't have anything to do with his recruiting, there were a number of schools that viewed his profile.

I am in the minority on this sight but from personal experience I found these sights were useful and beneficial for non D1 type player from average schools. It was an easy way to research schools and for schools to find us. Also  More and more teams are using these sights as recruitment tools. Especialy It broadens the travel team or school' s reach to more colleges and colleges' reach if they have limited budgets.  I would not do much above the lowest level however as the higher tiers don't really enhance exposure to coaches.

Note however that if you are truly a D1 recruit or are part of an established program with a proven track record for placing players you don't need these sights.

From personal experience these sites did generate interest from the coaches unsolicited. By that I mean coaches contacted us, not from us sending out info. Most of those went nowhere.  Mind you out of HS these were not top 25 any level except maybe 1 D3 and 1 NAIA at the time. Don't expect the sight to get you a D1 look. These coaches have a network with plenty of kids in place. 

HA son best results from Stanford and Headfirst and a coach with connections

More fun loving son Juco with field level got many $ offers Again midwest and NE.NAIA and some very good D3 but he was a catcher and schools searching for catchers. Local interest still from coach contacts. 

My son got use of SportsRecruits as part of his travel team fees.  He did not use it to research schools (Google is fine for that) and did not pay for any of their added services, but maintaining a profile there was very useful, IMO. 

Yes, he could have built his own web site, and yes you can use YouTube.  But SR gave him a template to post and regularly update info and videos.  The site also pinged him when a school viewed his profile or watched his videos, and told him which schools were looking into him.  It was useful to know, after he sent out a round of emails early in the process, which schools immediately checked out his profile, and which never showed a flicker of interest.  If he could see that a school looked at his video but never got back to him, that was useful knowledge, too.  In a few cases he could see a school checked out his video 3 or four times over a period of a couple of days--a good sign.  YouTube and home made sites can give you data on traffic, but SR specifically tells you that "ABC University viewed your profile" or your video.

Bottom line:  I would have paid something for a service like SportsRecruits (or one of its competitors), but maybe not as much as they ask.  However, if your son gets use of one of those sites without paying additional fees, I think maintaining a profile there can be very useful.  (My son was targeting HA D3s and a few HA D1s.  He also was looking almost exclusively at schools outside our region.)

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