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Monday, June 1, 2009
Baseball College Recruiting: 10 Facts Baseball Players, Coaches, and Parents Need to Know
By Kenny Buford
Although many of the colleges want you to believe you have to be the top of the top for baseball college recruiting, that isn’t always so. In fact, many times colleges are assuming that they are not looking at the top 5% because those student athletes may already be spoken for.
Some things to remember:
1. Grades count. Sure, athletic ability is important, but do you have the grades to get into the college admissions office and catch their eye even without your sports ability? You should have grades that support you as a well-rounded student, not just an image of a ball player alone.
2. Do you know what a college coach values in a player? Is it the same as a high school coach or a teen-level coach? What do you bring to the coach that is different from the myriad of other players your age and ability that makes you a step above? Can you bring the values to the team that your coach is looking for?
3. What is your motivation? Not just “are you motivated” but what motivates you? Is it fame, money or a passion for the game? Do you work at your game based upon only your motivation? Do you have many motivators for your game? This is important; because parents, students and coaches will need to understand the motivators.
4. Are you motivated? As a verb, do you have it? Do you have what it takes to look into adversity and tough times and still shine? This is going to be important to be able to display to prospective colleges and future coaches as this may be a tie breaker trait.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute. Some students start as early as their freshman year in marketing themselves to colleges. If you are a senior and haven’t started, don’t let that discourage you, but do get moving on that! Market yourself as early as you can as a true athlete, because every moment you are no exposing your abilities, your peers are.
6. Do you, or do you plan to, meet the core requirements of entering college? If you are a great player, it’s important to have pretty good grades and decent SAT scores. There are a myriad of Internet sites that can help you make sure you are not lagging, and your guidance office should be able to help you. Again, it’s never too early to start working on your sports collegiate career.
7. Know the reality. According to statistics, less than 15% of high school baseball players will play college baseball. Just know your realities so if you don’t make the team, you are not devastated. It’s as important to know the realities of the situations as well as how to best get into a situation. Never enter any situation blind to both sides.
8. Look at the bigger picture. You may want to play ball but you may also want to have a certain climate, social life and academic schedule that fits your desires. Look at more than just the team; because you are more than just a ball player.
9. Do you have what it takes? It’s more than just the above. There is also something called “Luck and Timing”. Absolutely realize that you have to have both in addition to all the things you can control. Realize that a little of this is going to be out of your control.
10. Finances: not everyone is going to be playing ball on scholarship, or at least on full scholarship. Decide if the cost is worth the sport participation. If you are reading this, the answer probably is “yes, of course it is” but realize an injury or a sudden lack of passion means you still have the finances to deal with but none of the glory of the sport. Really weigh your financial realities.
All of this is meant to get you thinking – be it a parent or a player. Even a coach reading this needs to understand that you are going to be looking at some kids who have the research down pat and can impress you, but some other youth will be just as impressive deep down, but you may have to scratch the surface a bit. Not everyone knows the ins and outs of impressing a coach and a college but may be an exceptional player, student and person under it all. It’s everyone’s responsibility to learn as much as possible and do what they can to ensure the best options for all involved.
Kenny Buford spent years playing baseball at the college level. Today, he coaches 3 youth development teams and shares his extensive coaching knowledge on his blog, you can visit him here: http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/
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