WHAT COACHES ARE LOOKING FOR...
The biggest question young baseball and softball players always ask me is, “What are college coaches looking for while recruiting?” There never is just one answer for this question. Each college coach looks to improve their program each year, constantly looking to fix their weaknesses. It depends on what that specific program needs that year; contact hitter, shortstop, pitching, power hitter, or just in general an athlete to mold. Below I have listed key qualities that every college coach loves to see!
Work ethic: Coaches want players that will dedicate all of their time and efforts to the sport. It shows how much you are willing to work for the coach and the program. Are you going to be that player that gets to practice early for more cuts or ground balls? Stay after practice because you just couldn’t grasp a certain concept? Also, when you are noticeably putting more work in then asked you will inspire other teammates to work hard. Dedicated athletes are bound to improve and succeed!
Potential: When college coaches watch you perform they know that they just can’t stick you into their Division 1 starting lineup, they see potential from each player, that they will be able to “mold” you into the player they want! I like to think that each college has their own style of players or attitudes. So if you show similar qualities to that school they will think you have the potential to be a part of that program.
Character: Being a college athlete is both physically and mentally demanding. Getting up at 5 AM for a workout you can barely survive, heading straight to classes all morning. Hopefully you will have time to squeeze in lunch before going to a 4 hour practice.After practice you have dinner then tutors and homework. By the time that is all finished the only thing you will want to do is sleep just to get up and do it all over again! There are many days where you just feel like giving up! There is not a lot of time for socializing and the only time you would get would be late at night which would mean potentially missing an AM workout or being so tired the next day where you can not give 100%. Coaches look for athletes who have the character to say no to troublesome outside influences. Also, baseball and softball are team sports, being a team player is huge in team chemistry. Having great character to push your ego aside and only think of the team.
Versatility: You might be the best third basemen or pitcher on your high school team but when going to college there will be 12 other players that were the best as well. Showing versatility is a lot more impressive then being a player that can only play one position. So what if you lose the starting shortstop position, if you are versatile you can still go for an outfield position!
The biggest advice I have for youth looking to play their sport collegiality is to relax and fun. When you start to stress out and worry about getting that scholarship is when you will not perform at your best. Remember, you play this sport because you enjoy it!!
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
1. Practice Makes…Better
It’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting better; improving. One of the life lessons we hope our children learn through sports is that their effort is rewarded.
2. Focus on what you can control
Youth sports should help kids learn that all they can do is focus on their effort, and not the outcome. Focus on what they can control, not what is out of their control.
3. Let go of mistakes
Successful athletes brush off mistakes. They acknowledge them, they learn from them, and they then move past them. They are in the past.
4. Keep learning
We’re constantly learning – from our successes but also from our mistakes. Youth sports should help kids recognize that even the best players are constantly learning and working to get better. It’s an approach to life that will serve us all well.
5. Being positive moves us further
PCA’s “Emotional Tank” analogy to a car’s gas tank is a good one here: just like a car’s gas tank, when our emotional tanks are full, we can go further. In a Responsible Sports environment, while coaches and parents fill our youth athletes’ tanks, one life lesson for athletes to learn is the need for them to fill their teammates’ tanks..
6. Celebrate Success
Sports teach us to celebrate success – large and small. We all know how to celebrate winning the game, but sports can also help us learn to celebrate the smaller goals we set for ourselves, and see ‘winning’ differently.
7. Become a true team player
Sports should teach our children what we mean by a true team player – someone who contributes 100%, and at the same time cooperates and collaborates with teammates to help bring out their best, too. PCA talks about being a Triple-Impact Competitor®: making yourself better, making your teammates better, and making the game better. It’s this lesson we hope our children bring to their adult relationships.
8. Win and Lose With Dignity
It’s called Honoring The Game in sports. And we hope our athletes learn to both win and lose while respecting themselves, their teammates, their opponents and the officials and organization that help make their sport experience possible. As an adult, how we define ‘game’ changes, but we hope sports teaches us all to win and lose with dignity and respect.