If you're reading this, I am going to assume you are either a parent, a grand parent, a sibling, a cousin, ok just a family member in general of a baseball/softball player, or you are the player yourself.
I have spent a lot of time around baseball in my life. I'm 32 years old, and have been in and around since I was 4. That's a long time.
In that time I've had the opportunity to be a player at every level except the major leagues. Ok, not every level, but almost every level. I played little league (didn't get to do tee ball), I played travel ball, middle school ball, high school ball, Division 1 college baseball (so no, I didn't experience JUCO, D3, or D2 ball), I played in the college world series, I was drafted, I played in rookie ball, A Ball, High A Ball, AA Ball, and yes AAA ball.
So I've practically experienced and seen it all.
I've gone through the recruiting process. I've helped families with the recruiting process.
I've been on staff with TEAM USA in the past, 2015 to be specific, so I've seen the process of scouting and selecting the players for the national team.
I've seen quite a bit.
I've probably seen the most in regard to players and their families and the disillusionment they live in. This is where you will want to start really paying attention to my words.
So what do I mean by the above sentence?
I mean a lot of players and their families function from a place of thinking they deserve much more than they actually deserve. In reality, none of us actually deserve anything.
As I said above, I played Division 1 college baseball. Did I deserve that? Not in the least bit. It was not at all my right as a man to play baseball at The University of North Carolina. That was a great privilege, an honor to have been asked to provide my services as a catcher there.
In all honesty, it may not have even been the best fit for me. More than likely, I would have been better off going much farther away from home (I grew up 15 minutes from UNC) to a much smaller school where my status as a ball player wouldn't have meant much. See I used baseball as a means to prove my worth. And UNC enabled me to do that because everyone knew UNC baseball meant big things.
BUT, I thought I had something to prove. I was wrapped up in the idea that I HAD to play big time Division 1 because that's who I was. I was a good baseball player. I was going to the big leagues. And not only was I a good baseball player, I WAS a baseball player. It was my identity, it was who I was, at least who I thought I was.
So a part of my decision to go to UNC was actually to prove to the world, that wasn't paying attention anyway, that I was good enough. That I truly was that good of a player. I was a UNC caliber player.
Now, at 32, I think that is a poor reason for making a college decision. Do I regret my time at UNC? Not in the least bit! I got to play in the CWS for two years and I have experiences from UNC I will never forget. I met some great people and I earned a valuable education. I'm grateful for my time at UNC and grateful to the coaching staff for taking a chance on a small town kid.
Do I think I made a hasty decision? Yes.
And I think many guys and their families do the same thing.
I see countless players give up the chance to play at a smaller, less regarding school simply because it is "below their level" of play. It's not on their radar. It's not their top choice.
Now I fully understand that you need to go somewhere you would like to go. I'm not saying you should just go somewhere just to go somewhere.
Here's what I am saying: Don't limit yourself because that big time perfect school isn't knocking on your door. Don't marry yourself to the idea that you HAVE to play big time Division 1 baseball. There are so many opportunities and avenues to success and many times, a school you're not considering might be the best fit for you.
Last thing, a quick story about a guy I trained over the last 18 months.
He was a Division 1 talent coming out of high school. He went D1 his first year. Some things didn't work out, he had some injuries, and ended up going to a D3 school that I had never even heard of until I met him.
He played 4 years of college baseball, won a few awards, and did this all at the D3 level. Fast forward to 2 months ago.
He was being contacted by MLB teams about the 2018 draft. Teams that wanted to scout him. Teams that wanted him to do private workouts for them, which he did.
Draft day rolled by and he went undrafted, although he was told he would be selected in the first 20 rounds. That's how the draft goes sometimes, sometimes you just don't get picked.
That didn't stop him. He made the decision to sign his first professional contract in an independent professional baseball league in Michigan where he is playing right now, batting just around .300.
There are countless stories like that. I could name drop a handful of guys I played with in pro baseball with the Braves who fit into that exact same story but I'm going to pass. But just know that there are so many avenues for you as a player or a family.
Refrain from making decisions out of pride, be open to schools you may never have thought you would attend, and just be open to the possibility of playing at the next level, even if it doesn't fit into the plan you've always had for yourself.
I certainly never planned on doing what I'm doing right now. I always thought at 32 years old I would already have had 8 years down in the big leagues and a couple years away from retirement, driving around in my Ferrari and sitting on my patio watching the ocean.
That didn't happen.
Be open. Be honest. Be willing.
If you would like some help or guidance or just someone to talk to about this journey you're own, you can set up a time to talk with me over the phone and I will be happy to listen and provide advice and feedback for your journey.