Posted Under: Johanna's View
This morning I am writing for the lobby of the Mohegan Sun Casino where the World Baseball Coaches Convention is taking place. Its an opportunity for High School and College coaches to come together and learn some best practices for coaching at any level. Starting yesterday afternoon, and going through tomorrow morning, college and professional coaches will share their expertise about everything from hitting, pitching, fielding, drills, and mental preparation.
Yesterday, I went to a couple of session and learned quite a few things. Several coaches yesterday spoke about the need for each at-bat to be no longer than three pitches. Why? Because if you are throwing strikes, and the batter doesn’t hit them, you should be able to create an out in three pitches. If he does hit it, your infielders should be able to create the out with the batted ball. And so, a 1-1 count is critical to the success of the pitcher, more than any other count. If he doesn’t throw a strike, he is behind. If he does throw a strike he is either ahead in the count or hopefully, the batted ball has been caught and has created an out. Though I think this all seems so logical and simple, I had never heard it spoken about quite this way, and with the emphasis that these successful coaches placed on that count, and that situation. Throw strikes. We hear it all the time, but do we as fans think about it like that? I don’t think so.
The other thing I heard yesterday was from a panel of college coaches who run successful programs about recruiting. Here is the truth if you have a kid that you want to get a free ride to college. Those camps that you pay to attend because some college coaches will be there will not raise your chances of playing for a D1 college. If your kid is talented, he will be ranked without one of those. If your son is All-conference then he will be found. If he isn’t, he probably isn’t good enough to play for a D1 school- period. Don’t waste your money on a camp that is hosted by a college or university. They will tell you what you want to hear and take your money. If your kid isn’t be ranked in his district, his conference, his state etc, then he isn’t ready to play at a D1 school.
Now I just said that they could go to a college or university camp and perhaps get found. Yes, the school will still take your money whether they think you are good enough to play for them, but they will also tell you honestly what your chances are when you are done. They also may be helpful (because they are honest) in telling you at what level of college baseball you could play. Perhaps a D3 school would be a good fit. Perhaps D2. Perhaps your son could be a possible late bloomer and therefore should look at Junior College with an eye on moving to a D1 program if he develops.
The other big thing repeated is that no one should pay a company to create a video for your kid to send to colleges. You can do just as much with a smart phone video camera and posting it to YouTube. The coach is not going to look at more than 30 seconds of video on any kid (they just get too many videos) and that 30 seconds can tell them if they need to see more. They aren’t going to recruit based on the video only no matter who made it.
Lastly, realize that before anyone gets on a plane to come see you our your son play, they are checking out your facebook and twitter pages- and if they find anything questionable there, they aren’t paying for the flight.