GQ says: I would email schools I was interested in on a recurring basis every couple of weeks. I think it is realistic to manage an initial school list of 50 or so. When a school sees your name in the email box regularly they believe you are legitimately interested in them. The first email should be an introductory one and can be a little longer. Include a player profile sheet if you have one (and you should). Let them know who you are, when you graduate, who you play for and what positions you play. Emphasize your strengths on and off the field. I think every family would benefit from familiarizing themselves with some of the physical metrics of D1 players so they can aim their recruiting target appropriately. OnDeck is starting to publish so called "industry averages" for running, throwing and bat speed. Get yourself measured and see where you are at. We have a lot of kids improve their numbers quite a bit over a period of years. We have basically been taking this approach to the role of physical measurements in recruiting for about the last ten years. If you are at or above the D1 averages in physical measurements it makes sense to mention this in an email and on your profile sheet, i.e., overhand velocity - 63 mph.
I would keep every email brief because nobody has time to read real long emails. In your recurring emails keep them in the two paragraph range. I would also make sure it has some grammatical structure so you sound like you might actually be able to get in to college. Anything is fair game for content as long as it is positive, e.g., coach, I am pumped I just got an A on my Calculus final or coach, I had a great experience this past weekend working at the soup kitchen or coach, I won the starting shortstop job at my high school.
do you send a video link?
GQ says: you can if you have one and it is a good video. I am not a big fan of videos until you get older and later in the recruiting process. Players change so much between 8th and 11th grade I don't see value in recording your 8th grade athletic ability. We generally use videos as a last resort to get schools out to see our older uncommitted kids in the waning months of their recruitment. Prior to then I prefer to let the market place make determinations. We have the advantage though of playing a very visible schedule - not everyone does. If you have some freakish athleticism a video can demonstrate that - pitching or running extremely fast, tremendous bat speed and power. So in those cases I can see doing a video with a younger player, but if she is on our team she will get seen a lot anyway. Without turning this into a video critique, put things on that demonstrate your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. If you are slow don't show home to first. Don't bunt unless you are a lefty speed player. For hitting, show a camera angle that allows the viewer to track distance if you are a power hitter. No music - I want to hear the crack of the bat and the pop of the glove. Sometimes we will send video clips (as opposed to fully produced videos) of swings and defensive reps of our younger players when they are requested. These can be done on a phone or notebook.
do you talk about grades?
GQ says: Definitely if they are an asset. Particularly if it is a difficult school to get in. Coaches at those schools routinely have to pass on kids because they don't have the grades so it definitely makes sense to highlight them in those instances. Even if your grades aren't great, if they are trending very positively it makes sense to emphasize that so the coaches know you have "seen the light".
if you can't get in the best tournaments what are the alternatives?
GQ says: Camps at colleges and/or OnDeck camps. Even if you are on a team without much visibility, if you show real well at camp they might come out to watch you even in a lesser tournament. Another alternative is picking up for a team that is going to high profile tournaments. However, playing in a high visibility environment is challenging because the competition is usually quite good. Sometimes people think getting in the right tournament is the key. Playing WELL in the right tournament is the key. We can get our kids looked at, we can't throw a pitch or swing a bat for them.
How important are camps?
GQ says: They can be important, particularly in the early recruiting environment we are in right now. It seems like most coaches have expedited their evaluation process. Most coaches don't offer strictly off a camp performance (oddly some do), but a strong camp performance does create recruiting relationships and increases the likelihood they will watch you play live.
what should you do before and after a camp?
GQ says: Prior to the camp you should write the coach and let them know how excited you are about attending camp. Hopefully it is a school you are already writing to so you are building on a relationship rather than trying to commence it. However nothing wrong with commencing one either. Also encourage your club coach to write or call in advance. I always do this for our kids. An outside voice can help, especially if the club coach knows the college coach. After camp, write the coach and re-emphasize your interest in the school. Relate some anecdotal experiences from camp to prove you were mentally and physically engaged and benefited from the experience.