Another National in Pro Ball.
On behalf of all the Nationals family we want to say Congratulations to Zach Kelly for signing with the Oakland A's in 2017.
Jonah McReynolds was drafted 2016 by the Texas Rangers.
Congratulations To Drew Cox
On behalf of The Virginia Nationals Family we want to say Congratulations to Drew Cox on his new job as baseball coach and History Teacher at Radford High School. Great Job Drew.
Welcome to the home of The Virginia Nationals Baseball Team. This team is made up of players that want to play at a higher level and are willing to work towards that goal.
History of the Virginia Nationals
The Virginia Nationals team was started in 2006 and played tournament baseball. After taking our lumps, the team set out to change things and they did. They started to work and practice harder and it paid off. The Nationals won alot of tournaments and won back to back State titles, finished 2nd in the USSSA World Series in TN in 2007. As players worked and grew, things changed and we started playing higher level events. Playing Showcase baseball was alot of fun and playing with and against players that are now in college playing at different levels and some playing Pro baseball.
Before we go any futher I need to say this, that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the support from parents, family and friends. The support group is the most important part of the team. You as parents have to buy into what we as coaches are doing and have to stay strong and upbeat. The player has to fit in to the team and the parents have to fit in also. We are a family and we take care of each other.
Since most of the players were 2011,2012, & 2013 grads,there have been over 20 players that have moved on to play at the next level. Things have changed in todays World, but if players that play for the Nationals will follow what the program has laid out from the past and that is "Hard Work pays off", practice like you play, and DO nothing to embarrass yourself or your team, then the players that want to wear the name Virginia Nationals can and will be rewarded.
So the question is DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A NATIONAL?
Coaches & Players that made the Nationals who we are.
Brian Crockett, Buddy Hill, Keith Kluge, Tony Parcell, Roy Stanford, Kevin Turner.
David Boston, Hunter Britt, Austin Brown, Drew Cox, Drew Crane, Cam Crawford, Tyler Crockett, Michael Crouch,
Todd Dunbar, Tyler Duke, Karlyn East, Caleb Francis, Dustin Garst, Justin Goode, Tyler Goodman, Alex Harlow,
Brandon Harless, Matt Hill, Cody Hise, Zach Kelly, Brian Kluge, Parker Linden, Steven Floyd, Anthony Mead,
Zach Mineroldi Jonah McReynolds, Forrest Morris, Quinton Otey, Paul Parcell, Ryan Peevey, Roy Stanford,
Scott Spradlin, Chris Stocki, Josh Turner, Zach Utterback, Josh Watts, Logan Woodall.
Former Virginia National Josh Turner working out in Fairlawn NJ with Cincinnati Reds Scout
Words to think about
BEING PART OF THE TEAM IS MORE THAN PLAYING
Make The Most of Your Opportunity
"You don't lose when you get knocked down, you lose when you decide to not get up."
I can't remember where I saw this quote or who said it. I'm not even sure I have the right words. It's just one of those thoughts that I recall from time to time and it gets me through a tough situation at work. I'm one of those odd parents that often see quotes that I think would inspire my kids. I usually print them out and lay them inconspicuously by the computer where they do their homework. They never acknowledge that they see any of these quotes and I never ask them if they saw it. The quote will just sit there for a few days and get tossed on weekends when my wife does her clean sweep of the house. But, I'm pretty sure they see it and think how weird their father is and then quickly move on to explore the wonders of Facebook or I-Tunes. Nevertheless, maybe it's one of those subliminal messages that just pop up in their mind when they need it the most. They have had tremendous success with baseball and have a pretty terrific attitude, so maybe....
This quote pops up in my mind because we have been receiving an inordinate amount of e-mails from parents that think their kid is getting the shaft from not playing enough high school baseball. Most are from parents of underclassmen and that will be the focus of this post.
First, just because a player is not starting or getting as much playing time as you, as a parent would like, doesn't mean that he is not learning, developing or a valuable asset to the team. Being on a baseball team is more than just playing or starting. Everyone on that roster has a role. Many high school teams have mid week scrimmages, and situational practices in which everyone participates. We talked about this in a a previous post. Those scrimmages and practices are just as important as the games to many coaches. If a player is good, then his skills may motivate someone else that doesn't want to lose their position to that underclassman. Many of you parents with bench sitting sons need to sit down with them and ask them what is their motivation? Is your son setting goals and working harder in practice to achieve those goals? Does he have the desire and the drive to want to be the first on the field and the last to leave? Does he hustle the most? Is he the most attentive when the coaches speak?
If so, then his time will come. If not...then that may be the problem at hand. Because practice and scrimmages are where you learn and develop skills...it's not always in regular season games. The coach may have picked up on that. The only way to turn this situation around is giving 100% ( that is all he can give ) effort, learning, developing and setting goals to get out of that mental rut that is often caused by sitting on the bench. If he truly loves baseball, he needs to truly love the journey to get there as well. That means paying dues, working harder, hustling and doing everything he is asked to do and more in practice.
But even if that player never gets his chance or is just not as physically talented enough to crack an everyday line-up, attitude and enthusiasm is still important. A player must realize that this is still a team sport and that there are other team members that need their support...a dead dug-out often results in dud of a game. There really is no room for negative attitudes in the dug-out just because a player is sitting the bench.
There used to be a kid we knew who was a smallish infielder who also never played much...but he never gave up trying. He was the inspiration in the dug-out, leading the team in other ways like spirit and upbeat chatter on the bench. He usually only got in games that were blow-outs, but when he got up to bat, he received more vocal support from his team mates than anyone else. He never even thought about quitting or giving up. He was having fun just being on the team, with his friends and for the love of the game. At the end of the season, the coach gave him a special award for being the most inspirational player on the team. He never played much, but I guarantee that he learned and developed in many ways other than just baseball.
Players, if you are sitting the bench, try something new and turn it up a notch and see what happens. The coach hasn't cut you. You ARE on the roster and he must see something in you right? Even if things still don't change then at least you can hold your head high and be very proud that you gave it your all and played the best of your ability day in and day out. You may not have a career in baseball, but that work ethic that you learned between the lines will pay you HUGE dividends later in your adult life.
Will it make ME more EFFICIENT.
Will it make ME STRONGER.
How does it EFFECT the TEAM
Infield Tips for middle infielders: The key to taking your infield game to the next level consists of two major plays in a game:
1. The backhand play in the hole plays a major role in both high school and college baseball. This play involves arm strength and footwork that coaches look for at the next level. When the speed of the game increases, there is no room for error in your mechanics. Runners get down the line much faster at the higher levels of baseball, therefore players with weaker arms and bad feet get exposed.
To work on the backhand play, players must perfect the transfer from the glove to the hand. This will allow a better grip and a quicker release. When a player doesn't have to worry about catching the ball and the transfer of the baseball, he will be able to concentrate on the next step-- quickly setting his feet.
2. The charge play is also a key area for infielders to master. All players at the next level can make the routine play so we must work on the charge play to stand out from the average player. Footwork for the charge play should be a routine drill for every infielder at practice. Angles are so important in the completion of the charge play, so players must learn proper body control and arm angles to have success.
While players warm up, they should use several different arm angles to become comfortable with their release points.
Summary-- By working on the proper infielder techniques and practice reps, these two plays will take your game to the next level!
WHAT TO DO ON DECK
The start of your at-bat will likely depend on the outcome of the previous at-bat. For instance, if he walks the hitter before you, you’re probably going to see a first pitch fastball.. If the previous hitter swings and misses at three curveballs, there’s a good chance that you’re going to see curveballs. Your approach at the plate, and what the previous hitter did, will affect your job at the plate. You might have to hit behind the runner and move him over, score him from second or drive him in from third with less than 2 outs. Again, you should know all of this based on the work you did in the on deck circle.
As you may know there are numerous hitting methods and styles that exist in the world of baseball. They all claim the same thing: that they are the best. So who’s right and who’s wrong? They all are. Now you are probably saying, “This guy must be nuts. What the heck is he talking about? He doesn’t even make any sense.”
My point being is that if a certain hitting style works for a particular player then that style is the best for him. However, that same style won’t necessarily work for you. It may, but it may not. That is because if a certain style doesn’t work for you it’s not the best.
We must remember that hitting is an art. Trying to carbon copy hitters is the worst possible thing you can do. I encourage you to try different approaches, stances and follow throughs to see what works and doesn’t work for you. Let’s look at the 7 common traits shared among great hitters, no matter what hitting method is used.
Believing in yourself and your ability is vital to becoming a great hitter. If you don’t believe in yourself who will? Questioning yourself on deck or in the batters box is pointless because it is way too late at that point to worry about anything. You must trust that the work you put in has gotten you ready to perform, no matter the pitcher or the situation. I firmly believe that most hitters get themselves out more often than the pitcher gets them out. Simply doing the correct preparation, both mentally and physically, can place you in the mind frame needed to be a great hitter.
If you are not comfortable you will not hit. Period. Yes, when first experimenting with a new stance or hand position or whatever you might feel a bit uncomfortable. However, this should soon disappear as you practice this new technique. If it doesn’t disappear it probably is a sign that it’s not the best for you. However, remember that you can come back to this at a later time and it might feel great. That is the beauty of the swing. It can be an ever changing art form. The bottom line is: find your comfort zone and work from there.
3. Baseball Specific Vision
The ability to recognize and react to pitches is evident in all great hitters. You have a miniscule amount of time to see the ball, recognize the pitch, its velocity and location and then have the ability to generate the mechanics to make hard contact. There is a specific way to develop the vision skills that great hitters possess. However, virtually nobody knows about it. Vision drills that use colored balls (Never quite understood this one as we all know a baseball is white with red stitches), video games and other wacky equipment may improve certain aspects of “vision”, but not the vision need to track and react to a baseball. I’ve tried them all on both myself and my students. I have tested them in the real world. I know what works and what doesn’t. This skill is obviously vital as the old saying goes “You can’t hit what you can’t see.”
4. Reactive Strength and Abilities
Your ability to react will determine how good, or bad, of a baseball player you are. The game is consistently challenging you on how quickly you react to different situations. For example do you know where to swing the bat before the pitch is thrown? Of course not. You have an idea of what you want to do with the pitch, but have no clue where it is going until it leaves the pitchers hand. In very simplistic terms you are reacting to the pitch. Great hitters react very well, bad hitter don’t really react much at all. For a deeper, more in depth explanation on this I will be releasing a three-part series titled “The Biggest Secret in Baseball.”
5. Triple Threat Torso – Quick, Powerful and Flexible
You must develop a torso that has the above three qualities. If you lack even one you are severely limiting your potential. Everything else happens as a result of the torso. Leg movement, path of the hands, contact position and follow through all are effected by the abilities of your torso, or core. By developing these abilities every aspect of your swing will improve. Trust me you won’t get the triple threat by training the core in a manner that is shown on late night television infomercials or by balancing on a wobble board. Baseball specific training with the correct exercises, weights and tempo can deliver a triple threat torso to die for.
6. Short Swing
We all know that you must keep your hands inside the ball in order to consistently make hard contact on the sweet spot, especially against a good fastball. No matter which hitting method you follow, a short, compact stroke is a major emphasis and is crucial to success. I like to say, “If you swing is long, your day will be as well.”
If you cannot maintain balance before, during and after the swing you are severely doomed to inconsistent and unimpressive performance. The better your balance the more consistent your swing will be. If you are falling in any direction you will not only make poor contact most of the time, but you will have a hard time putting anything behind the swing.
This does not mean standing on some sill wobble board or stability ball. It means the ability to maintain your equilibrium throughout your swing. This is swing-specific balance I’m talking about here. Don’t be fooled by a fitness and training industry that is riddled with low-level “trainers” who simply don’t understand your needs.
To become a flat out stud, you must be sure that your training is specific to the traits I have listed above. Bodybuilding routines and mindless batting practice will not do the trick.
There you have it, the 7 traits that are found in every great hitter. Experiment with what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. These traits can be developed, usually quicker than you think, with proper training. Develop the qualities that I spoke about and you will be on your way to complete and utter domination.
HOW DO YOU LOOK
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I love to use this quotation during difficult times on the field of competition. The game of baseball as well as the game of life is full of opportunities to show what we are really made of. It is easy to be filled with confidence and composure when we are in the middle of success and things are going well. Often athletes speak of being “In a Zone” when things are going good. Feeling as if they are playing outside themselves and just letting things happen. Not knowing how or why things are going the way they are, but just happy they are going that way. Or a team might be in the middle of a winning streak.
Someway, somehow, they seem to be getting all the breaks whether it is their own actions, or the untimely failure of their opponent. But the true test is how we handle those moments, or periods, where success seems to be running away from us. No matter what the team does, or players individually, they seem to be on the short end of opportunity after opportunity. Collectively, the team or player just seems to not be able to overcome small obstacles along the way to be victorious.
Baseball is a game of failure. A hitter will fail 6-7 times out of ten at bats and be considered successful. Teams rarely go an entire season without a loss. The test is mentally, how do we handle those failures? How do we handle those times of challenge?
The dreaded “slump”. Every athlete, regardless of their sport, will endure periods where success seems to be hiding from them. It seems like no matter what a person does, they can not get that “break” that will get them over this hump. Often times, you will see an athlete try and push harder, try and fight themselves out of this period. Sometimes the consequences are harsh; digging themselves deeper and deeper into this quagmire of
unsuccessful times. It is our ego and basic human instincts that will drive us to want to fight our way out of this.
The test is not to give up and maintain our composure at all costs. The measure is how we respond. We can control how we respond to these situations. Easy words to say, but never easy actions to find within ourselves. You have to find that “special something” deep inside you which continues to drive you during these times. During these times the answer may be to just “let go” as you do during the periods of success. The letting go though, is letting go of the negative thoughts, the self doubt, and the blame towards other forces or people. You need to have faith in your abilities. You need to find faith in those around you that they will support you and that you do not need to do everything yourself.
Focus on your actions and what you are doing to stay strong and continue to battle. Ensure that you respond with positive actions and continue to battle. Someone on the team needs to step up and be that strength for others if needed. One person, maintaining this strength, can be the driving force that will bring everyone else along and help the team endure. This faith, or confidence, must be your driving force. During this time, you need to let go of the easy road. The easy road of giving up, or placing blame on other people or things.
During these times you have to find a way to eliminate all the negatives. No matter what the issue or what the obstacle, there can be no negatives. You must find a way to look at everything as a special opportunity to improve, reflect on and continue to move forward in a positive way. Remove the focus on results. Do not judge each individual step along the way, each hit or out. But rather, judge the process by which you are taking.
Was it a good At Bat? Did I swing at good pitches? As a Pitcher, did I throw the pitch well? Did I commit to the pitch? By doing this you will be in a much stronger position to overcome anything. In the end, you will be “measured” by how you responded and handled these periods. You will be remembered for your courage, strength and endurance of challenge. Those that judge us whether they are coaches at the next level, scouts, family or friends, love to see us fail. For it is not in the enjoyment of seeing the failure, but rather the joy in seeing what lies deep inside us to help us overcome the failure or difficulty. It is our response to these “so called” failures. Quite possibly, the only person who will remember this is you.
We ALL fail or endure challenge throughout our life. But it will be the source of strength the next time you need to endure difficult times and what gives you the confidence to endure. So how do you want to be measured? Even if the only one measuring is you!
WHAT COACHES LOOK AT
When you arrive at a game, camp, or showcase please be aware that you will be judged as early as when you step out of the car. The coach will probably glance at his watch to see if you are on time. Then he will look to see what you are wearing. Appearance will tell whether you are there for baseball or you are there for social reasons. When exiting the car, you should have your uniform pants on and your shirt tucked in with belt fastened.
Have your turf shoes or running sneakers on and laced up. This means the outfit of sandals, shorts, high socks and a sleeveless dri fit is not what a coach is looking for. Please make your cell phone, ipod and other electronics scarce-- either in your bag or leave them in the car.
When you arrive at the dugout, a coach wants to see if the player he is there to watch is ready to play. When you enter the dugout, drop your bag, put your cleats on and ask your coach whether you need to grab your bat or glove. Seeing a player out front of a dugout as soon as the team arrives either tossing a ball in his glove or swinging a bat with his batting gloves on means the player is there for one reason-- he is there to play. Any coach would love to see that. The player in the dugout lounging, checking a text, or waiting for the coach to say, "Let's go boys, cleats on," is a huge turn-off to the coach.
Coaches arrive early to games to watch everything. A shortstop, centerfielder or catcher may only get two plays a game so you have to make the most of your time.
When you begin to play catch, be ready to impress. In the beginning your velocity doesn't have to be fast but your tempo should be brisk. Catch the ball in a ready position and throw it back accurately and firmly to your partner. If the ball is to your left or right move your feet over and catch the ball in the middle of your body. If you are lazy and reach for the ball what will the coach expect you to do on a ground ball at the end of game two of a double header?
Throwing the ball over your partner's head or one hopping every five throws is a big turn-off. If you can't hit your teammate in the chest before the game, how can the coach expect you to do so when the winning run is on third and the ground ball is hit to you?
Please remember these helpful hints the next time you take the field. Look sharp, feel sharp, be sharp! You make an impression every step of the way.
35 Proactive Steps ALL Recruits can Take!
By Chris Krause
Recruits are always wondering what they can to do improve their recruiting process. Here are 35 steps that ALL recruits can take to get one step closer to an athletic scholarship opportunity. (In no particular order)
1. Be aggressive. Don’t contact a coach one time and give up if you don’t hear back. Email a coach and wait a few weeks. If you don’t hear back from them in 3-4 weeks, try calling. If you get a voicemail, leave a message and also send an email. Reach out up to 3 different times and if a coach doesn’t respond after those attempts, then move on from that school
2. Bring up visiting a school to that coach. Don’t wait for them to bring it up to you
3. Use all the help you can get. Talk to your high school and club coaches and outside sources. They can help you with any connections and relationships they might have. Most parents do not have a network of college coaches…but trusted sources might.
4. Don’t rely too much on email. A personalized note or handwritten letter could go a long way towards separating you from other recruits.
5. Give more than just 1 word answers to coaches – show them your personality!
6. When visiting a school, remember that the current players are reporting back to the coaches so be cautious of what you say and how you handle yourself. Also, take advantage of the opportunity and ask them about the coach, school, program etc. Why did they choose this school over others?
7. The athlete should email a coach his/her information before just calling a coach. Definitely a good thing for them to be calling the coaches and being proactive but don’t just cold call coaches – they need to have some information on you before giving them a call.
8. Coaches are recruiting you – not your parents. Be sure to manage all of the communications.
9. College coaches talk to one another – maintain respectful and professional communication with all coaches.
10. College coaches want to see Varsity level film – this helps them create a better evaluation based on the level of play.
11. Coaches don’t want music and all of the fluff that is on most highlight videos.
12. Make sure that you have an appropriate voicemail greeting and email address to give to coaches – you don’t want to give coaches an email like email@example.com or have music playing for 3 minutes on your voicemail greeting.
13. Make sure you have an appropriate photo on your scouting report. Coaches don’t need to see you taking a picture of yourself in the mirror.
14. You should contact a coach before any visit to a school.
15. You should contact a coach before and after going to a camp to ensure an evaluation.
16. Take advantage of the calling rules. Coaches cannot call you or return your phone calls, and you will get VMs quite frequently—use this to your advantage. You may get a lot of voicemails, but leave a message. When you leave the message, tell them exactly when YOU will call back. This will do two things for you: 1) Better chance of getting on the phone with the coach. 2) Good idea of where you are on the recruiting board. (if you are high, you better believe the coach will be at his desk when you call in again)
17. Do not wait for a coach to contact you…initiate the contact.
18. When you open an email from a coach, make sure you respond within 12-24 hours. College coaches can track and see when you’ve opened the email, so if you do not respond for a week or two, you will not be taken serious.
19. Talk to some older athletes who have “been there”. It helps so much to learn from athletes about what playing in college at different levels is actually like. Athletes are shocked sometimes when they show up for D1 programs and were not aware of how much it actually entailed
20. Ask the coach the tough questions about where you fit in. Just because he throws a little money your way does not mean he expects you to come in and start as a freshman! You need to know how you compare to other players in your recruiting class and what the coach is expecting to recruit in upcoming years, especially if a priority is playing time.
21. Learn how the Financial Aid process works and estimate your EFC.
22. Talk with Financial Aid offices at each school you are in contact with. Your goal should be to receive as much aid (athletic or otherwise) to help offset the cost of attending college.
23. You should research at least 4 schools a month.
24. You should fill out on-line questionnaires at schools you are interested in.
25. Start thinking about these topics when it comes to schools, size, type, location, distance from home, cost, student population, majors, requirements, athletics and events, activities, special programs and your gut feeling.
26. Learn about the NCAA contact rules.
27. Learn about the NCAA Eligibility Center.
28. Understand what different associations have to offer you: NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, NCCAA, CCCAA, NWAACC.
29. Get an evaluation from a trusted source before you spend time targeting the wrong schools.
30. Ask coaches what their recruiting timeline is.
31. Ask where you stand on a coach’s list.
32. Ask if the coach can waive your application fee.
33. Learn how to get over your nerves when speaking with coaches. Remember, they want to hear from you and you have to separate yourself from thousands of other student-athletes around the country.
34. Prioritize your time. A college coach needs student-athletes who can balance their schedule NOW. If you can’t do it now, how will you do it in college?
35. Visit local colleges to get a feel for what a campus is like…it is cheap and helpful!
The 35 tips above are just a few of the proactive steps recruits can take. Do you have any tips you want to pass along? Comment below with your advice and be sure to click “like” to share these tips with other athletes and families
WHAT TO DO IN THESE TOUGH TIMES
These are tough economic times no doubt. Families all over the country are watching their expenses and scrimping on the very things we used to take for granted.
One of the budget cuts in many families are the cost of going to showcases and playing on elite College Development Programs. Many families have to make sacrifices. But be careful. Don't play it too safe or your son may be looked over. I know several families that have cut out showcases altogether and are relying on their son's success in high school in which most college coaches "DO NOT SCOUT". Using the local rec team or the local Junior College as a steppingstone to the next level can be helpful. This can only work out if the proper steps are taken to continue to expose the player to 4 year college coaches.
If your son goes to a JC, then make sure you make the targeted 4 year coaches know that. Send them updates, videos and encourage your son to talk to his JC coach and tell him what 4 year colleges he is interested in. Many JC coaches are great at placing kids in 4 year colleges...some aren't. Make sure your son is at a JC that has a track record of success.
But never assume that the 4 year coaches will come to your son. Unless he is the second coming of Bryce Harper, that won't happen...That said...the Las Vegas JC Bryce played for was inundated with player requests to play there. That's proved to be a great strategy for the many high school players that got drafted in this latest 2010 draft. There were dozens of scouts practically camping at the stadium gate waiting for Harper to take the field.
Bottom line...stay aggressive. E-mails, letters, and DVD's don't cost money. Keep your target coaches informed. You don't have to outspend to get your shot...just outsmart them.
COLLEGE COACH TURNOFFS
RT Staff Note: Another Great Article from NCSA Athletic Recruiting...www.ncsasports.org.
15 College Coach “Turn Offs” to Avoid
By Adam Diorio
College coaches are evaluating prospects during every single interaction. Whether the coach is watching film, talking to an athlete on campus or watching them deal with a loss after a high school game, each observation is a chance to make assumptions about the prospect. It is important for every recruit to understand what sort of things might leave a negative impression with a college coach.
After surveying and interviewing former and current college coaches, we came up with a list of the most common “turn offs” that ALL recruits should be aware of!
In no particular order:
- Student athletes asking about scholarships on the first email or visit they have with the coach
- Student athletes being rude to their parents
- Student-athletes acting like they are “too good” or above that particular school
- Student athletes coming to a visit unprepared. For example, having no prior knowledge of the school or team.
- Student-athletes being quiet on the phone with only one word answers to their questions. Coaches understand that prospects can be nervous, but make sure you do not seem disinterested!
- Student-athletes not being honest about their interest level in that school
- Student-athletes who call or email too frequently
- Student-athletes acting inappropriately on a recruiting visit. For example, partying too much.
- Parents being too involved
- Student-athletes who misrepresent their academic and athletic information
- Student-athletes not responding in a reasonable amount of time
- Student-athletes not providing the necessary info. For example transcripts and video
- Student-athletes who do not personalize their correspondence with college coaches. For example, writing an email or a letter with “Dear Coach” instead of using the actual last name.
- Student-athletes arranging a campus or home visit and not showing
- Unrealistic opinion and promotion of the student-athlete by parents, high school coaches, or the athletes themselves.
Do any of those sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. Many athletes and families make mistakes throughout the recruiting process. The list above certainly is not all encompassing and there are many other pitfalls a recruit can succumb to. In most cases, the mistake might not immediately result in a prospect’s name being crossed off the list, but it certainly will not help…and given the importance of this process, why risk it?
Think about it like this. A college coach is looking at two prospects. Both have almost identical academics and athletics. One prospect comes to a recruiting trip and parties too much and misses curfew while the other gets to bed on time and has a productive visit. Which prospect do you think will be higher on that coach’s recruiting list?
Read more: College Athletic Recruiting | College Recruiting Blog - Athletic Scholarships Blog | NCSA http://www.ncsasports.org/blog/2010/05/19/15-college-coach-turn-offs-to-avoid/#ixzz19cbMao6n
A major part of the college selection process is visiting a school. You can visit a school in two different ways-- an official visit or an unofficial visit. A good idea for any student-athlete is to take an unofficial visit. An unofficial visit allows a family to travel to a school of their choice, tour the campus, visit the athletic complex and get to see what type of atmosphere the school has to offer on their own. This is a very important trip.
On the other hand, most official visits are scheduled around a big football weekend or a sporting event that will have the school running on all cylinders. Going on an unofficial visit will allow you to see a school during its down time. For an official visit, you will be toured around campus by one of the coaching staff and possibly a player. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about the baseball program. Mom and Dad may be able to get more questions answered than they need on the unofficial visit, but by far the player will have more fun on the official visit. Below I have listed the definitions of both official visits and unofficial visits.
An Official Visit is a prospective student-athlete’s visit to a college campus paid for by the college. The college can pay for transportation to and from the college, room and meals (three per day) while visiting and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. NCAA recruiting bylaws limit the number of official visits a recruit may take to five.
An Unofficial Visit is any visit by a prospective student-athlete and their parents to a college campus paid for by the prospective student-athlete or the prospect’s parents. The only expense the prospective student-athlete can receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. The prospect may make as many visits as he or she likes and may take the visits at any time. The only time the prospective student-athlete can not talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.
There are three basic ways a player can communicate with a college coach-- by e mail, phone and in person. All are very important and should be done by the player and not the parent. A college coach wants to hear from the player. The player will be the one on campus for four years, not the parent. A coach wants to hear from your son's voice that he is interested in the school and that their school is a place he could see himself attending. To be very honest, when a coach sees too much involvement from a parent, it will register as a red flag in their min
When sending a coach an e mail, you need to understand that they receive many e mails every single day. Being direct and to the point will be your best bet. The e mail should be factual and be sent as soon as you have interest in the school. If you have an upcoming season approaching, that is an additional plus.
You will want to give them facts on you (name, grade, school, GPA, SAT scores (if taken) and your team's info (name, coach's name and number). Attaching an upcoming season schedule will be helpful and highlighting a big game in the season is important. It may entice the coach to come out and watch. If there are multiple players to watch, he may decide it's worth the trip. Do your research and address your note to the recruiting coordinator if this is a new email. I would definitely have someone in the baseball business check your e mail before you send it. Your parents have your best interest at heart but in this area they may not know what to add. For example, adding your Little League stats may be a turn-off for the coach. Having the parent assist with the e mail is OK but please make sure it does not look like a NY Times best seller! Remember the coach wants to hear directly from the player.
A couple of important points to remember:
1) A coach will not be able to give you or ask you any recruiting info over e mail before your junior season. 2) Some coaches may even hold off on responding because they do not want to hit a "gray area" in the rules of recruiting. So please do not be alarmed if a coach does not respond right away.
When talking to a coach on the phone, please make sure it doesn't sound like you just woke up. If you call the coach, please have an idea of three or four questions to ask. If you can keep the conversation going, then your personality with show. Ask questions about the upcoming season, big games, travel trips. This will give you an idea of what direction the program is heading. When the coach asks a question, please be honest. You need to find out if this school is the right fit for you. A few rules to remember: A coach can start calling your son July 1 going into his senior year. At that point he will only be able to call you once a week. You can call the coach as many times as you want, but the coach can only call back once. Before July 1, you can call him as well but just remember, even if you leave a message, he can't call you back.
When speaking to a coach in person, make sure he has your full attention. If you do not know the coach, introduce yourself. Walk up and say hello. State your name, reach your hand out to shake hands and look the coach in the eye. This is OK to do at a showcase, camp or campus visit. During a tournament, a coach will not be able to speak with you, so understand he is not being rude, it is just against the rules. If you know the coach please remember a few things about him. Try not to make it seem like the first discussion every time you speak.
Always a good habit: When you're at a field, showcase, or on campus, always look good! Coaches are always judging and evaluating their recruits. Have you hat on straight, your shirt tucked in and have your turf shoes laced up. Your appearance sends a message by itself, so look sharp and be sharp.
By understanding these communication rules and guidelines, you'll maximize your opportunities with the colleges of your choice.
Most schools start a 6-8 week fall season the first week in September. You will be expected to play 6 days a week. Most teams will practice two or three days a week and play 3 to 4 games per week. Be ready to go as soon as you get to campus. Just because baseball is a spring sport doesn't mean you take it easy in the fall. Your starting spot will be won or lost in the fall, and you will need to arrive for school in great baseball shape. Please do not take the entire summer off and expect to have your arms and legs in baseball shape. This could cause an injury.
As you already know, it is very important to have a great first semester in the classroom. When selecting your fall class schedule you will have a tight window to complete your 12-15 credits. On average, a fall practice starts anywhere from 2:30pm to 3:00pm. This means you will have to schedule your classes from 8am to 1pm.
Once classes are done, you will have just enough time to grab a late lunch and head to practice.. Once practice and weight lifting are over, it will be close to 6 or 7pm. At that point, you will be heading to dinner and then you will need to focus on studying and course work at 8 pm. Please understand that this is what is expected of the college baseball player in the fall-- a busy, demanding schedule.
After the fall ends, small individual workouts begin with groups of 4 or less practicing. At that point, you will begin your weight lifting program that will be 3-4 days a week either before class in the morning or after practice at 5 or 6 pm. This program will go to the first semester break and pick back up when the second semester begins.
In the spring, you can expect 3-4 weeks of practice prior to the first game. An average D1 schedule will be 56 games, plus the conference playoffs. Academic conferences and D2 and D3 schools will play anywhere from 36-45 games, plus playoffs. Mondays are usually days off, but some players will hit on their own anyway and pitchers will work out.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually mid-week games against a school within a 2-3 hour drive and Thursday is typically a travel day. Conference games are played Friday, Saturday and Sunday or Saturday, Sunday. If you are on the road, you can expect to arrive back home anywhere from 10pm to 2am Sunday night. Remember, no teacher will cut you slack because your game went into extra innings on Sunday. You will be expected to be in class Monday morning.
Most academic conferences and D2 programs will have a shorter season-- around 36 to 45 games. Most seasons will run from the end of February to the beginning of May. Some programs will not have as rigorous a schedule as what is listed above, but then you have to ask yourself what commitment you want to make. Some student-athletes may look and say this is too much.. If so, then you have to ask each program about the time commitments with their game and practice schedules.
But if a heavy game and practice schedule is what you want, and the schedule is something you can handle, then double-check that college program's expectations of their players. You should ask questions and take a close look at the team schedule, because the last thing you want is to go to a school that carries a light winter schedule and shortened season schedule.
Know what type of commitment you want to make to college baseball, and know the details of the commitments that the college programs expect of their players. When you clearly set your goals and know what the colleges expect of you as a student-athlete, then it becomes easier to find the right school for your specific goals and talents.
The next Level
Did you know that there are 270 NCAA Division I programs? Are you good at math? That's over 9,400 student/athletes on D-1 baseball rosters right now. Want more? There are 1,200 Division II, Division III, NAIA, and Junior College teams. (See link of NCAA Colleges that have baseball teams in the Sidebar to the right under Useful Sites and Links)Based on the same 35 man roster, there are 42,000 active players at D-2 or lower. No problem right? Your son should be a shoe-in to play college ball...Right???? Well, not exactly. There are several other factors you should consider before you start packing up the trailer for college. First and foremost, college baseball doesn't usually hand out 100% scholarships. In fact, they are required to only offer 33%. If you want more than that and want to attend a top school, the your son better be one of the top 100 players in the country. If he isn't, here's help...
If your son is a freshman, start researching camps and showcases and make sure he is on one of the top travel teams...If he is a sophomore...start now!!!
Grades and Talent
You hear stories about how easy academics are for student athletes in college...Well, it is NOT! Especially in baseball. If your son is to play at the college level he must have good grades...period!!! He must also have projectable baseball tools that the college programs are looking for to fill their immediate needs.
As soon as he enters high school, his focus should be on the books. Establish a good grade point early, because as he gets older and the demands of high school baseball get greater, he will need some cushion. But high school baseball is only a small part of the process. In the summer, he needs to get serious and attend "select" camps at colleges where he might want to go to school, and play on a competitive select, travel ball summer and fall team. Scouts tend to follow the teams with the better athletes that enter the better tournaments. Simple economy of scale.
In the summer following his sophomore year, he should develop a list of realistic schools -- Again be realistic...that list should be all inclusive...from junior colleges to top 50 D-1 or D-2 programs. Parents should listen at the camp and showcase scouts...they will tell you what level your son can play or what he needs to work on to get there.
The following is an excerpt from Baseball Parent Magazine...
...How do you market your son's baseball talents? Who might really be interested in him? How many -- if any -athletic "exemptions" (special academic consideration for athletes) do prospective colleges allow? Where does your son want to play? What will determine where he chooses to play? And will anyone help you with the search? Probably / maybe not. You and your son just may have to do it all by yourselves.
For starters, his high school coach may be too busy to worry about your son's college career. On the other hand, he might be a great help in steering your son to the best program, for him. He might take the initiative to send introductory letters to coaches notifying them of your son's interest in playing college ball and his legitimacy as a prospect. He might also provide spring, summer and fall game schedules and post-season statistics. Over the course of a several month recruiting process, he might spend hours on the telephone with coaches promoting your son. Some coaches may even spend still more hours helping your family weigh his decision.
Early on in the process you'll want to assess the reputations of college baseball programs that are of interest. Eventually you'll want to make visits to check out baseball facilities; the coaching staff; the quality of the program; the off-season conditioning and training facilities; the number of fall, intersquad, exhibition, and regular season games (which could be as many as 100); and to check out the community support.
Explore the possibility of signing early, in November of your son's senior year. For some families, this can be a good decision, because it could spare your son the frustration of a prolonged search and allow him to enjoy a less anxious senior year waiting to see who wants him. If an early signing is an option, college visits should begin during the fall or winter of your son's junior year.