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July 14, 2018

Northwestern University Head Baseball Coach, Spencer Allen, on Field Skills

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Coach Allen is the Head Baseball Coach of the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team. Allen has been a coach for NW since 2015 and is at the top of his game. Northwestern is a prestigious school with a stellar athletic program. Coach Allen gives us some insight on what it takes to be a Wildcat baseball player.

LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer a recruit who is looking to play at the collegiate level?

Coach Allen: The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to really focus on your own development and NOT the recruiting process. Find someone who will be honest with you on what your weaknesses are and work relentlessly at improving those weaknesses.

LRT Sports: What camps or tournaments would you recommend recruits to participate in?

Coach Allen: I would recommend doing a couple “National Showcases” that will get your profile out there nationally. Then I would look to do 4-5 camps that schools you have interest in. As you get closer to your senior year, you need to attend camps of schools who have an interest in you. Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report are the two national recruiting services that provide outstanding profile and video information when it comes to baseball.

LRT Sports: What do you look for as far as a recruit’s personality?

Coach Allen: I look for someone who can hold a conversation and han as interest outside of their sport. I love talking with kids who are confident enough to make fun of themselves. Last thing I always look for is someone who has respect for their parents. That is a big red flag for me if they do not respect their parents.

LRT Sports: If highlight tapes pertain, what do you look for in a recruit’s Hudl highlight tape?

Coach Allen: I look for how athletic they are. If they are repeatable with their mechanics and how fluid and easy they move. Pitchers, specifically, I will look to see how their arm works and to see if there is any velocity that can give me a starting point.

LRT Sports: How can a student-athlete get on your radar? 

Coach Allen: First off, they have to have grades and project to have a quality test score. Intro email with a good quick (no longer than 2 minutes) highlight video and a quick summary of how they are performing as well as how well they did in the past. Lastly is to make sure they are playing during the summer so me or my staff can watch them. The best way is for our camps!

LRT Sports: What is NU Baseball’s mission?         

Coach Allen: Trust. Passion. Development. We go into much more depth, but those three core values summarize what we believe in.

LRT Sports: What are some key things recruits should consider and say when contacting you?

Coach Allen: Really all they need to do is have a realistic view of their skills as well as understand that we recruit the whole country. Being a good high school player in your region does not always equate to being a player we will recruit. Lastly, understanding that sometimes the needs we have are not a match.

LRT Sports: Which do you value more: hitting percentage or field skills?

Coach Allen: Both! Fielding is easier to improve so I probably look more at hitters knowing we can get guys better in the field. 

LRT Sports: Since Northwestern is a prestigious university, what do you look for in recruits in regard to academics and athletics?

Coach Allen: I look for kids who want to be great at both. Truly they are kids who want to be great in everything that they do. They do not accept being average. They do not accept failure bottom line. When we find those type of individuals, they will work to maximize their talents. That is all you can ask.

LRT Sports: What is the most bizarre question you have been asked by a recruit? 

Coach Allen: I got asked if I was Marcus Allen’s son (Former NFL Running Back).

LRT Sports: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as a coach? 

Coach Allen: Got kicked out of a game one time for laughing. 

LRT Sports: If you had to describe your team in one word, what would it be and why?  

Coach Allen: Potential – This is because we have shown flashes of being a good, but still have not proven it consistently.

Images courtesy of Chicago Tribune