Walk-on Tryout -- any recommendations?

My 2018 (HS) is attempting to walk-on at a low-level D1.  There is a one day tryout next week.  Assuming it's an actual tryout (and not a 45 minute sham, NCAA check off box thing), can anyone share experiences of how these are conducted?  Would it be similar to a HS showcase...some defense, some measurables taken, coach pitch bp hitting?  Also, if anyone has any advice I can pass on, please share.  

Original Post

Is the head coach aware he’s attempting to walk on? Chances are if there’s a legitimate opportunity to walk on the coach has players in mind to watch. 

I know of one college where walk on tryouts were Saturday. A couple of players were invited to Sunday’s prospect camp showcase and scrimmage.. A late bloomer 6’4” pitcher made the team. He had been invited to attempt to walk on. 

Has sent e-mails, texts to the head coach...but never any replies.  Has messaged a new assistant (new recruiting guy) who did respond back with logistic information.  So, yes, staff might have some knowledge of his interest.  My 2018 is a 6'3" catcher...DI defensive skills, offensively needs some development.  Also, he's from the west, school is back east.  Bullpen catcher role would be of interest to him as well...just to get a foot into the program.

 

In your son's situation I would suggest complete honesty. He should tell the coaches that he is willing to be a bullpen catcher in order to get his foot in the door.  He would be adding some value to the program as a bullpen catcher that actually wanted to be one.       IMO that is the best bargaining power that he has.  All this assumes, of course, that he has the requisite skills to be on the roster at this school.

AD2018 posted:

Has sent e-mails, texts to the head coach...but never any replies.  Has messaged a new assistant (new recruiting guy) who did respond back with logistic information.  So, yes, staff might have some knowledge of his interest.  My 2018 is a 6'3" catcher...DI defensive skills, offensively needs some development.  Also, he's from the west, school is back east.  Bullpen catcher role would be of interest to him as well...just to get a foot into the program.

 

Don’t assume there isn’t talent in the east and being from the west is an advantage. All being from the west means is there is more talent (due to population and number of colleges) than opportunities. 

There is probably required paperwork, physical, blood tests, and other things that have to be done to be eligible to tryout.  Without those he will be told no at most D1's I know of.  It is not a true open tryout.  He needs to go by the Baseball office immediately.  When my son attempted to walk-on it cost us $200 and 2 weeks for all the medical stuff that had to be done and then they cancelled them the day of.

Long story that I will try to keep short.  My son decided not to play in college.  He attends a D1 school which recruited him.  He has a couple of ex teammates/friends who play at that college.  He was hanging around with them one day taking BP and doing some light throwing, "just for fun" last fall.  The RC that was in contact with him happened to be in the facility where he was "snuck into" by his friends.  The RC walked over to them and was talking with the players.  The players started joking around that my son was going to attend the open tryout.  He had no desire to actually play he was just hanging out with his friends.   The RC told him that if he was thinking of attending the tryout to please let him know ahead of time so he and the HC know he is there and keep on eye on him.  He then implied to him that no one really paid attention at the open tryouts.  He also indicated that it might be a good thing if he friends kept sneaking him in to the practice facility.

As I said my son has no desire to play college ball so Im not sure what would have come of this, but it sounds like if there is a player at the school that they have interest in ahead of time they will make concessions for him but other then that they are only running tryouts to check off the NCAA rule box.

 

As expected, it was a sham.  Per 2018, 90 minute tryout...pop times evaluated by throwing into a net (not on the field).  Head coach didn't bother to attend.  No communication to anyone post-tryout.  But, hey the coach can check it off the box that he had a tryout.  Assume, the better, well run programs are up front with the kids on this stuff...vs. what my 2018 experienced (and expected).

My son, a sophomore at a mid-D1 (ACC school) thought about going to the open tryout Fall 2017 as a freshman after (relatively) tearing it up all summer on his mens wood bat league team. But he waited a bit too long and the very steep medical and permission hurdles he had to jump through were too much with so little time left. Oh, and the "advertising" for the open tryout was basically about minimum. No regrets. I suspect the open tryouts at D1s vary from checkbox affairs to legitimate interest, albeit longshot (at best).

Thanks for the followup. I would say these type of one-day or one-hour "tryouts" certainly don't reflect poorly on your son's abilities or on the coaches themselves. I think it is almost impossible to do a proper evaluation in such as short period of time. But never say never, because it's possible your son or some other player may have made an impression. Who really knows?

I guess it can be considered a "checkbox" but I think it's more a school rule than NCAA mandate. You must allow anyone to tryout or you can be open to legal problems. We have kids that can't practice or play on Friday or Saturday for religious reasons. Kids that never played HS ball. Kids that don't own gloves or cleats or kids that just have no clue. They are all welcome because the web site says so. This year we had 62 walk-ons for 4 roster spots. There were about 15 preferred walk-ons. Those were the kids we vetted through their coaches recommendations, had video on or saw live. The rest were a crap shoot with no prior info. Of course we focused on the players we knew, but believe me no one slips by if they have talent. It may seem as though coaches are not paying attention but it takes one swing of a bat to turn heads. You also have the returners giving feedback to the coaches. It's true that the grinders can slip by but they usually are in your face letting you know how they can help. It's not easy but it all starts with the PSA getting some info to the coaching staff. Most of us coaches are honest when we get a text or phone call from a PSA but they really only hear what they want to hear. I always tell them that if they are coming to the school anyway then give it your best shot but if playing ball is the most important thing then you might want to look elsewhere since nothing is guaranteed. If when they contact us and ask the right questions they usually have an idea which way try-outs will go for them.       

Ozone posted:

I guess it can be considered a "checkbox" but I think it's more a school rule than NCAA mandate. You must allow anyone to tryout or you can be open to legal problems. We have kids that can't practice or play on Friday or Saturday for religious reasons. Kids that never played HS ball. Kids that don't own gloves or cleats or kids that just have no clue. They are all welcome because the web site says so. This year we had 62 walk-ons for 4 roster spots. There were about 15 preferred walk-ons. Those were the kids we vetted through their coaches recommendations, had video on or saw live. The rest were a crap shoot with no prior info. Of course we focused on the players we knew, but believe me no one slips by if they have talent. It may seem as though coaches are not paying attention but it takes one swing of a bat to turn heads. You also have the returners giving feedback to the coaches. It's true that the grinders can slip by but they usually are in your face letting you know how they can help. It's not easy but it all starts with the PSA getting some info to the coaching staff. Most of us coaches are honest when we get a text or phone call from a PSA but they really only hear what they want to hear. I always tell them that if they are coming to the school anyway then give it your best shot but if playing ball is the most important thing then you might want to look elsewhere since nothing is guaranteed. If when they contact us and ask the right questions they usually have an idea which way try-outs will go for them.       

What level are you at?  Because I have done some research and very few D1 schools take it seriously.  I understand it may be different with small schools.

I also question your 15 preferred walk-ons for 4 spots.  Every school I've talked to a preferred walk-on was a guaranteed spot through the fall and then you had to compete to make 35.   These guys normally do not come to walk-on day.  They start practicing with the team from day 1 just not on scholarship.  I agree with the above from most of the people.  The walk-on day was 5 pitches with normally being in the cage and the pitchers threw 10 pitches.  If someone impressed the grad assistant, then they were asked to stay and meet with the AC or HC according to the impression. 

 

PitchingFan posted:
  Every school I've talked to a preferred walk-on was a guaranteed spot through the fall and then you had to compete to make 35.   These guys normally do not come to walk-on day.  They start practicing with the team from day 1 just not on scholarship. 

 

Same way I've seen it as well.  Preferred walk-ons are pretty much on the roster through fall and don't need to show up to an open tryout.  Pretty much recruited players without scholarships.

Ozone posted:

I guess it can be considered a "checkbox" but I think it's more a school rule than NCAA mandate. You must allow anyone to tryout or you can be open to legal problems. We have kids that can't practice or play on Friday or Saturday for religious reasons. Kids that never played HS ball. Kids that don't own gloves or cleats or kids that just have no clue. They are all welcome because the web site says so. This year we had 62 walk-ons for 4 roster spots. There were about 15 preferred walk-ons. Those were the kids we vetted through their coaches recommendations, had video on or saw live. The rest were a crap shoot with no prior info. Of course we focused on the players we knew, but believe me no one slips by if they have talent. It may seem as though coaches are not paying attention but it takes one swing of a bat to turn heads. You also have the returners giving feedback to the coaches. It's true that the grinders can slip by but they usually are in your face letting you know how they can help. It's not easy but it all starts with the PSA getting some info to the coaching staff. Most of us coaches are honest when we get a text or phone call from a PSA but they really only hear what they want to hear. I always tell them that if they are coming to the school anyway then give it your best shot but if playing ball is the most important thing then you might want to look elsewhere since nothing is guaranteed. If when they contact us and ask the right questions they usually have an idea which way try-outs will go for them.       

What you described is absolutely NOT the case at competitive D1 & D2 programs.

We are a D3 program and our resources are limited so we take are open tryout seriously. I know at the big time programs they don't have to look for that one kid that they missed as much as we do. And yes our preferred walk-ons are guaranteed a fall spot unlike the true walk-ons who may last a day or so before they are released. With no scholarships the dynamics are different but most of the D1 coaches I know won't let a talented walk-on get away from them. It all comes down to communication between the coach and the PSA. I get hundreds of emails and texts from PSA's and someone on staff answers everyone of them. We add them to our database and then we ask for video and their coaches contact info and to fill out an online form. If they don't respond in a day or 2 we take them out of our database and move on. I know it's basically the same for the bigger programs as well because I get lots of local D1 coaches sending me guys info that won't cut it at their program but may be able to help us.

CTbballDad posted:

That's what happens when you make people/organizations do stuff they have no desire/need to do. No idea why the NCAA mandates an open tryout, but all you get is disappointment and hopes needlessly dashed.

My "educated" guess is that the NCAA considers the participants of sports to be "student/athlete", saying they are student first and athlete secondary (by choice).  There has been much discussion on this previously so I will leave it untouched.  If athletics are an optional activity by choice, to avoid legal problems with discrimination it must be available to any student who is enrolled at that school, thus open tryouts. The NCAA pretty much have all the bases covered (figuratively speaking), to keep their "nonprofit" status....

Ozone posted:

 This year we had 62 walk-ons for 4 roster spots. There were about 15 preferred walk-ons. 

Just curious...what makes a preferred walk on at a D3 school? At D1s they are recruited players that are not on scholarship. What separates a standard recruit from a preferred walk-on at the D3 level? 

PABaseball posted:
Ozone posted:

 This year we had 62 walk-ons for 4 roster spots. There were about 15 preferred walk-ons. 

Just curious...what makes a preferred walk on at a D3 school? At D1s they are recruited players that are not on scholarship. What separates a standard recruit from a preferred walk-on at the D3 level? 

Preferred, in this case are the kids we went out and recruited unlike the walk-ons who just showed up. The preferred walk on is guaranteed a fall roster spot for our 2 week season. The walk-on can be cut on day one. When I say 4 roster spots that means spring spots and that is before knowing who may decide not to play, who may fail off or who from the returners did not improve. Saying that we ended up losing an additional 4 returners leaving 8 spring openings. 

Per my 2018, he later learned that the team already had 37 people committed (and will need to get down to 35 by Spring)...in other words, some over recruiting was done.  It's no wonder the coach didn't bother to watch the open tryouts.  Whole process seems so out of whack...on so many levels.  

AD2018 posted:

Per my 2018, he later learned that the team already had 37 people committed (and will need to get down to 35 by Spring)...in other words, some over recruiting was done.  It's no wonder the coach didn't bother to watch the open tryouts.  Whole process seems so out of whack...on so many levels.  

It’s checking off an NCAA requirement box. 

 A local DFW kid that went to a high academic private high school (and was not recruited by any big name program) was accepted at Duke and last week went to the open tryout there. This kid was a really good HS hitter (against private school pitching) but runs funny and throws funny.  He just doesn't pass the eye test with most coaches and he isn't very good in the field.  I thought there was no chance in hell that he would make the squad at Duke.  But he did!  So, good for the coaches at Duke for looking at what the kid can do instead of how he looks doing it. Goes to show that once in a while there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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