How To Even Get Your Backups Full Scholarships – A FieldLevel Case Study
Here’s a look at how the FieldLevel Network helped a backup, junior college catcher get recruited and even receive a full scholarship
Every coach worth his salt wants to field a winning team comprised of the most talented players possible. In order to accomplish this, he must recruit the right players. In a coach’s quest to recruit the right players, the problem, however, is that he is flooded with calls, emails, and text messages from prospects or people promoting prospects. Most of this information is ignored because it is unsolicited information from unverified people about invalidated recruits. The FieldLevel Network solves this problem; it is the first recruiting network exclusively for coaches, where the coaches themselves exchange verified information on validated recruits. The FieldLevel Network benefits coaches in three primary ways:
- Helps coaches place and/or recruit better players
- Expands a coach’s recruiting reach by introducing him to coaches he doesn’t know
- Streamlines the recruiting process by eliminating paperwork
Lance McFeely’s Recruitment Provides a Real-Life Example
Benefit #1: Place/Recruit Players
Backing up a great player can be very frustrating. A lack of playing time limits one’s ability to contribute to a team’s success, and for a junior college player, it limits exposure which decreases the likelihood of being recruited. During the 2011 season, this was the case for San Diego Mesa College catcher, Lance McFeely. Lance was the backup catcher to Dillon Haupt, who was later recognized as the Pacific Coast Conference MVP, was highly recruited by DI programs, and ultimately signed with the University of San Diego.
At the beginning of the season, it seemed unlikely that Lance would get enough playing time to catch the attention of 4-year recruiters, but thanks to the savvy of SD Mesa’s coaching staff and the FieldLevel Network, Lance won a full scholarship to play in college. He is now a catcher, pitcher, and corner infielder at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.
“Lance is a good player but playing behind the best player in the conference is obviously going to limit innings and at bats” says San Diego Mesa head coach, Kevin Hazlett.
Knowing that Lance would have limited exposure to 4-year recruiters, Coach Hazlett took it upon himself to promote Lance through the FieldLevel Network. After meeting with Lance and gaining a sense of where he might enjoy continuing his baseball career, the SD Mesa staff compiled a list of 4-year schools that seemed like a good fit. They reached out directly to those 4-year coaches and then sent the coaches a detailed write-up on Lance through FieldLevel, known as an “Athlete Promotion” or as one coach described it, “a baseball card on steroids.” The athlete promotion included Coach Hazlett’s personal assessment of Lance, video footage, statistics, transcripts, and contact information. The promotions helped differentiate Lance in the eyes of recruiters because they included his own coach’s opinion of his abilities, and the FieldLevel Network provided Coach Hazlett with the medium to maximize the likelihood of getting Lance noticed.
Benefit #2: Expanded Recruiting Reach
The athlete promotion immediately caught the attention of head coach Ryan Flickinger at Waldorf College, as his team was in need of a 1B/C. Knowing the high caliber of talent that competes in California community college baseball, he was intrigued by the information on Lance, especially because it came from Coach Hazlett and not a 3rd party recruiting service. He followed up with an email to Coach Hazlett. They spoke several more times, and then Coach Flickinger reached out to Lance and began actively recruiting him. Lance signed, enrolled in the fall, and now plays for the Waldorf Warriors on full scholarship.
“Where would any of us be without baseball?” inquires Coach Hazlett. “FieldLevel helped us maximize Lance’s opportunities to get noticed and keep playing. And, Waldorf was able to land a tremendous contributor to its team.”
Thanks to FieldLevel, Lance’s story will be repeated, and other players will be able to enjoy similar success. Coach Hazlett and Coach Flickinger built rapport with each other during Lance’s recruitment and will continue to exchange information on players for years to come.
“If Coach Hazlett sends you another player promotion in the future, will you take an earnest look? Absolutely!” says Coach Flickinger. “Our conference recruits California junior colleges heavily. We’ll take advantage of anything that make it easier to learn about players.”
Because the FieldLevel Network is comprised solely of coaches, it creates a trusted community for coaches to connect and benefit mutually whether they are in search of players or trying to place them. Each coach has a unique profile and is linked to the coaches that he already knows; he also has access to coaches around the country who may be able to help him perform his job better, as Hazlett and Flickinger we able to do.
Benefit #3: Streamlined Recruiting
Today, the recruiting process through FieldLevel is even easier than for Lance last season. The FieldLevel Network has grown considerably and now consists of nearly 500 coaches across 30 states, with more being invited each day. All Network users’ contact information is already available to other, verified coaches, saving coaches from the busywork of inputting other coaches’ names and email addresses. For instance, the majority of junior college programs in California, Arizona, and Florida are part of the FieldLevel Network; all 4-year programs are immediately able to access information on players and communicate directly with their coaches. A recruit’s contact information can also be transferred seamlessly onto mobile devices, thanks to special BlackBerry and iPhone applications.
“Unlike recruiting services, the FieldLevel Network is comprised of coaches and gives us the ability to collaborate to help improve the recruiting process,” says Coach Hazlett.
“We couldn’t be happier with Lance. He’s been huge for us. He’ll likely bat in the middle of our lineup and be our utility guy, playing all over the diamond and even pitching. His recruitment was quick and easy. In fact, I’ll be reaching back out to Kevin and other California JCs to recruit pitchers in the spring” says Coach Flickinger.
FieldLevel is the trusted, online network that allows coaches to successfully recruit athletes and exchange verified information in an atmosphere of compliance. Access to the Network is free for coaches. For more on the FieldLevel Network or to join, please visit www.fieldlevel.com.