Corraro Baseball

It’s what you do before the season starts that makes a champion.

College Recruiting

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PLAY COLLEGE BASEBALL?

 

MIKE MARTIN

HEAD BASEBALL COACH

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

The question of "what it takes for a student-athlete to compete at the collegiate level" is constantly brought before me in my travels across the country. The answer may be as broad and vague as the question. In this book you will find hundreds of Baseball programs. Is there a Baseball program right for you? Yes. Can you walk into any program and compete immediately? Probably not.

To compete successfully as a NCAA Division I player, a student-athlete must be focused, dedicated, and opportunistic. NCAA Division I is the most recognized and competitive level of college Baseball. The time commitment of a Division I player is likened to a full-time job as both players and coaches alike put in long hours all year long to insure success and team development. These hours (15-30 per week, depending on the team) are in addition to college classes, individual study, and social activities. Even so, these programs are so sought after that they attract literally thousands of applicants each year. To play college Baseball, however, you don’t necessarily have to limit your search to Division I colleges and universities.

Speed, power, and arm strength are the primary components that distinguishes a Division I player from Division II, Division III, and NAIA. The technical speed and proficiency of a player to make plays with quickness and accuracy separates the top Division I player from all others. The tactical speed to read and anticipate rather than just reacting determines the speed of the game, and thus the level of play from Division I (tactically fastest) on down. If you are deficient in any of these key qualities, maybe you should look for a lower level of play where you can compete with more success.

College coaches receive hundreds of letters and phone calls every week from high school players, coaches, and parents claiming they have a player that can play Division I Baseball. The college coach’s first question is always, "Have you ever seen my team play?" and "Do you know what Division I is like?" Too often they don’t. Having only seen youth and high school games, they are not aware of the intensity and speed of play at the college level. The same could be said of college coaches pushing their players to the professional level; we naturally think that our most talented players can excel even with the increased pressure which that level demands.

A quality Division I player typically has a clear repertoire of attributes to bring to a college team. Summer select camp programs can help you hone those skills and evaluate your own abilities with respect to other top players in your recruiting class. Our camp program is always a great place for us to evaluate young talent. Typically, I’m looking for real aggressive, assertive, quick paced, give 110% all the time type of players. But that’s my style, and the style of play I demand here with my program. Other coaches will evaluate the talent based on different criteria.

Here are examples of the capabilities of a typical Division I player:

Pitchers

Leadership – instills confidence in teammates

Exhibits speed, consistency, and control

Diversity of pitches

Ability to adjust to different hitters

Excellent arm strength

Handles pressure well

Catchers

Leadership – controls the tempo of the game

Reads hitters well

Calls pitches with confidence

Quick release with excellent arm strength

Throws accurately to bases

Displays mental and physical toughness

Middle Infielders

Excellent footwork and range

Quick release with good arm strength

Throws with accuracy

Ability to consistently turn the double play

Vocal leader on the field

Infield Corners

Excellent instincts and quickness

Reacts quickly to line drives and ground balls down the base line

Ability to handle tough throws both in the air and in the dirt (1st base)

Quick release with good arm strength (3rd base)

Throws with accuracy

Outfielders

Excellent speed and quickness

Good judgment and instincts with fly balls and line drives

Ability to make strong accurate throws to bases and home plate

 

Hitters

Ability to make solid contact with the ball

Adjusts well to different pitches

Reads and reacts to coaches signs and puts the ball into play

Can hit with power

Excels in pressure situations

 

What does it take to play college Baseball? The answer is "What do you want from your college Baseball experience?" If you have the technical, tactical, and physical tools to play at the Division I level, do you have the time and dedication? If you would sit the bench for a Division I team, wouldn’t you be happier playing for a Division II, III or NAIA program?

The question of college choices can be comprehensively researched in the pages of this book. The answers to questions about your future as a collegiate Baseball athlete ultimately lie in your abilities and aspirations.

 

Mike Martin is the Head Baseball Coach at Florida State University. He is the fourth winningest active college Baseball coach, and ranks second nationally among active Division I Baseball coaches with a .744 winning percentage. Currently in his 20th season at FSU, Coach Martin has compiled an overall record of 1022-250 and was named ACC "Coach of the Year" in 1995 and 1998. Under his leadership, the Seminoles have made 19 straight NCAA post-season tournament appearances and advanced to the College World Series 9 times. In addition, Coach Martin has coached 38 All-Americas, 72 All-Conference Selections, 3 Golden Spikes Award winners, and has 88 former players who have signed professional contracts.

College Cover Letter / Resume

 

SAMPLE COVER LETTER

YOUR NAME

Address

City, State-Zip

Home Telephone / E-mail Address

Date

Coach’s Name

Men’s Baseball Coach

Name of College

Address

City, State, Zip

Dear (Coach’s Name):

Based on my research in preparation for choosing a college, (name of college) has both an excellent reputation, and the types of academic and athletic programs I hope to pursue after graduation from high school.

The enclosed resume details my academic standing and Baseball experience. I am currently a junior, with a GPA on ____ on a 4.0 scale, and taking college preparatory classes with an emphasis on (list core courses). The strength and variety of courses offered at (name of college) provide several degree plans of interest to me, although I have not yet decided on a specific major area of study.

More specifically, your Baseball program is of primary interest to me. I believe my skills and abilities would fit well into your program, and enable me to contribute to the success of the (team name) while continuing to develop my Baseball talents under your style of play.

I would like to pursue all available means for financial aid, and I believe my academic standing should qualify me for scholarship assistance.

Thank you for any consideration you can give me as a future (team name). Please send me information on your program, and any suggestions you may have on how best to prepare for attendance at (name of school) in the fall of (your graduation year).

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

Editor’s Note: The sample cover letter is for illustration purposes only. Please be original and write your own letter. College coaches tell us they have seen this one a few times and are likely to file it in the trash.

 

SAMPLE RESUME

 

GEORGE MALSBURY

5535 McCommas

Dallas, TX 75206

(214) 250-2103 / big-stick@baseballonline.com

 

Date of Birth: March 9, 1982 Height: 5’11"

SSN: 446-29-1999 Weight: 195 lbs

Academic

 

High School: W.T. White High School

1244 Forest Ln.

Dallas, TX 57228

(214) 385-5660

Graduation Date: Class of 2000

GPA/Class Rank 3.28 GPA (4.0)

Top 25% in class

Honors program – Math

SAT/ACT Scores 610 Math, 560 Verbal: 1170 – SAT Total

11 Math, 12 Verbal: 23 – ACT Total

Athletic

 

High School Baseball: W.T. White Longhorns

Varsity team, 1996-98

All-District Honorable Mention – Sophomore

All- District – Junior

Position: Third Base

Bats: Right Throws: Right

Baseball Club: Dallas Mustangs

Coach: Jim Turner / Bill Thacker

3-Time Regional All-Star

References

 

Coaches: Kevin McGhee

Head coach, W.T. White High School

12345 Inwood Rd.

Dallas, TX 75228

(214) 827-9951

Bob Suarez

Former Coach, Mustangs

(214) 696-9642

Personal: Jennifer Cathey

Counsler

W.T White High School

How to Earn a Scholarship

Ten Things to Help Earn a College Scholarship


1. Understand the Commitment You'll Need.
Have you ever field 250 ground balls, taken 100 hacks in the cage, and sprinted from home plate to first base 25 times -- all in one workout? Now image doing that and more everyday for the next ten months.

If the thought of such rigorous training turns your stomach, then maybe college baseball isn't for you. Because that's the type of commitment and dedication you're going to need if you want to play at the next level, whether it be D1, D2, D3, NAIA or JC.

However, if you're ready to accept the challenge, then your baseball future could be very bright.

2. Improve Your Baseball Skills
Ultimately, your playing ability is the most important factor in deciding whether you'll suit up in a college uniform.

Don't be nervous, though. Most high school ball players need a lot of work to reach the level of play that is going to attract a recruiter's attention. And if you live in the northern U.S., you'll need to work extra hard to be on the same level as your competition in Florida, Texas and California, who live in climates that allow them to play ball year-round.

For starters, sit down with your coach and ask him/her for a honest opinion of your skills. Where are your weak points and what can you do to improve? Video-tape yourself in the batting cage and fielding your position and ask your coach to critique it. Notice your mistakes and work to fix them. After you've made a detailed list of everything you'll need to accomplish to reach your potential, get some professional help.

Find a quality instructor to give you private lessons for an hour or more a week. If you don't know any instructors, ask you local college coach for a recommendation.

Set up a net and hitting tee in your basement. Watch instructional videos and read educational books. Every conceivable topic is available.

Remember, you need to develop the discipline to stick with a training plan, even during the off-season!

3. Set Achievable Goals
Set short and long term goals for yourself. Make sure you write your goals down and sign them, pledging your commitment to improve. Keep your goals positive. For example, "I will run the 60-yard dash in 6.9 seconds and I will make contact in every at bat." instead of "I will not be such a slow runner and strike out so much".

Be very specific how you're going to achieve your goals. If one goal is to earn All-League honors this season, write a detailed strategy how you plan to achieve that (work on tee for 30 minutes per night, field 100 pop flies every day, etc.). Be realistic! If your first goal is to become a college All-American and the #1 pick in the amateur draft, you're going to be disappointed.

Instead, begin with small and more manageable goals, like batting .300 this season, driving in 20 runs, stealing 10 bases. When you reach your goal, set the next one even higher. This way, you'll feel good about yourself as you progress.

4. Devise a Target List of Schools
Make a list of all the schools that will meet your educational, athletic, financial and social needs. This is called your target list. By the fall of your senior year, narrow your list to five schools. Ask your parents and guidance counselor to help you research prospective schools. Search the web, read college guides, go on campus visits and ask lots of questions.

Make your educational goals your #1 priority. Unfortunately, no one can play baseball forever and you'll eventually have to choose a career. If your list only features baseball powerhouses like Miami, Louisiana State and Stamford, make sure you also include some lesser know baseball schools, just so you have something to fall back on. Remember that smaller schools and junior colleges have a great deal to offer as well.

Call each school and ask for a general brochure along with information about their baseball program and any specific academic programs that interest you. Write a letter to the coach introducing yourself and expressing your interest to play for his squad. Send him press clippings, your high school and summer league schedules and recommendations from pro scouts. Order the NCAA's free Guide for the College Bound Student/Athlete (800-638-3731). This will give you a better understanding of the recruiting process.

5. Improve Your Grades & College Entrance Exams Scores
If you want to be an eligible recruit at a four year NCAA institution, you must meet minimum requirements for grade point average, SAT or ACT exam scores, and core courses. No exceptions!

Most college coaches will eliminate you from their recruiting list if you do poorly in school. You'd be too much of a risk. If a recruiter must choose between two players of equal talent, he will always choose the better student. Why? Because he knows the better student will not become academically ineligible or fail out of school.

Work your butt off in the classroom and you will see the rewards. The higher your grades and exam scores, the more schools will be able to recruit you and the more opportunities you'll have. So hit the books hard. Be disciplined with your homework. If you're getting B's right now, strive for A's. Ask your teacher for extra help, get a tutor after school, take a preparatory SAT/ACT course, form a study group with your friends. Do whatever it takes to improve your marks. Aim High!

6. Get Your Body in Shape.
College coaches recruit players who are in good physical shape, will not be injured easily and who look like ball players. Sure they will make exceptions if you're overweight and unable to get to first in less than 10 seconds -- you just better be able to hit the ball 400 feet or pitch 90 mph!

Ask your school's trainer or gym teacher to recommend a conditioning program that will strengthen your forearms, hips and legs. Make sure it includes weight lifting and a lot of aerobic work like running, biking and swimming.

So, if you have a gut, lose it! Turn your flab into muscle. Jog and do wind sprints at 6 a.m. before school starts, improve your flexibility with stretching for 30 minutes every night after you finish your school-work and do rotator cuff exercises with dumbbells when you're watching TV.

Also, avoid fatty foods like chocolate, ice cream and french fries. Stick with vegetables, fruits, and lots of complex carbohydrates like pasta, bread and rice. You'll notice a tremendous difference if you workout regularly and fuel your body with nutritious food.

7. Seek Exposure.
If you assume college coaches and pro scouts will be knocking down your door waving offers during your senior year, you're setting yourself up for a big disappointment. It's up to you to promote yourself. So take the initiative and be proactive with your career.

Most college programs do not have the money to send recruiters to your games. So whenever you can take your game to them, you should do it.

Exposure is key. The more opportunities you have to play in front of college coaches, the better chance you'll have of getting an offer.

Go to camps at the schools you want to attend, play on select summer teams, compete against the best competition possible, make a highlight video of your skills and send it to any coach who hasn't seen you play in person and go to as many talent showcases as you can.


8. Visualize Your Success.
Mental imagery can play a huge role in your development. Play the game in your mind by using as many of your five senses as possible. Smell the infield grass, feel your hands gripping the bat, experience the butterflies in your stomach.

Make a mental movie of yourself doing everything perfectly -- hitting scorching line drives in the gap against your league's #1 hurler, throwing out a speedy runner at the plate with your cannon arm, beating out a hard hit ground ball with the game tied in the 7th and laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the tying run to second. Close your eyes and play your movie over and over again.

Now when you actually take the field, you'll have the confidence to make your movie a reality.

9. Become a Well_Rounded Citizen.
Develop other interests outside of athletics. Play a musical instrument, study astronomy, take up photography, work part-time at an animal shelter, join the chess club...whatever it is you love to do in your spare time, pursue it!

Give something back to your community by devoting at least two hours a week to a local nonprofit organization. Choose a place that could use your help, like Students Against Drunk Driving, Meals on Wheels, a peer drug counseling service, a soup kitchen or an organization that helps teach inner city children how to read.

You'll feel good about yourself and make a positive difference in someone else's life. You'll also prove to coaches that you're a person of many talents and someone who will contribute to college life in various ways.

10. Lead a Clean Life.
college ball, you'll resist all of the temptations that are presented to high school students. You know what they are - alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, cutting class...the list goes on and on.

Before a college coach offers you a scholarship, he'll do a lot of research. Maybe he'll call your guidance counselor, your science teacher, your athletic director or anyone else who may know you. If he discovers that you're a risk, you can kiss that scholarship good-bye. Coaches aren't looking for so-called cool guys that like to drink and smoke. They want dedicated and serious ball players whose off-the-field lifestyles are not going to disrupt or jeopardize the team's success.

No coach is foolish enough to invest as much as $20,000 in one player for a season without doing a background check. So what do you want college recruiters to find out about you?