WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PLAY COLLEGE BASEBALL?
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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.
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Home Telephone / E-mail Address
Men’s Baseball Coach
Name of College
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).
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.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 250-2103 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of Birth: March 9, 1982 Height: 5’11"
SSN: 446-29-1999 Weight: 195 lbs
High School: W.T. White High School
1244 Forest Ln.
Dallas, TX 57228
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
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
Coaches: Kevin McGhee
Head coach, W.T. White High School
12345 Inwood Rd.
Dallas, TX 75228
Former Coach, Mustangs
Personal: Jennifer Cathey
W.T White High School
Ten Things to Help Earn a College Scholarship
1. Understand the Commitment You'll Need.
6. Get Your Body in Shape.
8. Visualize Your Success.