Winter 2017 3 up 3 down

We asked three of the top prep coaches in the country for their thoughts on travel ball, recruiting, practice and more. Check it out:

Eric Borba- head coach, Orange Lutheran (CA)

What are some of the challenges that HS coaches face when considering the travel ball scene and the recruiting environment?

Recruiting- with the early commits- has really changed. Travel ball coaches have much more influence, so you really have to communicate with them. I think educating the parents on just how much money they spend on showcases is also really important.

What is the best way you maximize the number of coaches you have during practice?

I try to give my coaches a really long leash. I oversee all of it, but I allow our assistants to be free and do their thing, which is whatever position or skill that they’re coaching. I put a lot of trust in my assistants.

If you could send one message to college coaches, what would it be? What would your message be to aspiring college players?

To coaches- be creative in the recruiting process so kids don’t have to spend so much money to be seen. Build relationships with HS coaches, because they can be free recruiters for you.

To players- don’t get caught up in the hoopla with who is committing early. It’s a different path for everybody, so stay positive, stay focused and work hard!

Breck Draper, head coach, Heritage Hall (OK) School

What are some of the challenges that HS coaches face when considering the travel ball scene and the recruiting environment?

I believe the travel scene can be good and bad. Kids can get a false hope after paying a healthy amount to play in a tournament at a local D1 program, and then nobody but maybe the host school is there to watch the games going on. I am a firm believer that if you are a college or pro prospect, they will find you.

What is the best way you maximize the number of coaches you have during practice?

We have four coaches and almost 40 players at our school, so one thing we try to do in our program is mold our older/ advanced players into coaches on the field. We ask a lot of them during practice, which helps our younger guys progress.

If you could send one message to college coaches, what would it be? What would your message be to aspiring college players?

To coaches- Get to know your area High School coaches and let them know if you are communicating with their players. I’ve seen kids commit to schools that the HS coach didn’t even know were in the picture.

To players- There will be a point when you want to quit. Stick it out. It isn’t easy but if you make it through the chaos, college baseball will be the time of your life!

Gabe Ortiz, asst. at Western Arizona College; coached for 12 years at Kofa (AZ) HS

What are some of the challenges that HS coaches face when considering the travel ball scene and the recruiting environment?

Most recruiting is done in the summer when players are away from HS coaches. When players return in Fall, sometimes the HS coach is clueless on what schools are recruiting their guys. HS coaches have a different perspective because they see their players on a daily basis and in an educational setting. Constant communication from college coaches to HS coaches can only help these kids find the right fit.

What is the best way you maximize the number of coaches you have during practice?

One method we used was splitting into groups and splitting the field in half. For example with relays, we would only focus on the left side of field on relays to home and 3rd (back door). It only requires 7-8 players in 4 positions: C, CF, 3B, SS. The others would be with another coach working inside game or in the cage.

If you could send one message to college coaches, what would it be? What would your message be to aspiring college players?

To coaches- get more info from HS coaches. I think the HS coach can provide some useful feedback because they are around their players in an academic environment which can give insight to their daily habits in school and socially with peers, which I think mimics the college atmosphere best.

To players- take care of the controllables in the classroom. Get on track and stay on track!