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  • Writer's pictureWayne Mazzoni

How To Determine Your Talent Level

One of the most crucial steps of the baseball recruiting process is to determine how talented you are compared to both the pool of other potential recruits and the different college levels, meaning Division 1, 2 or 3. Oftentimes, baseball players and their parents will do this incorrectly because of various factors.

One, it is a natural inclination to overestimate the talent of those we love; so moms and dads often believe their kids are D1 material when they are not. But more often, the real reason is that everyone is comparing how you fit in compared only to those on your team or on teams you play.

If you are one of the better high school players in your area, you might believe you’re a D1 player. But you are judging things from a different perspective than, say, an SEC coaching staff, which scours the country looking for eight studs to bring in each year. So rather than finding a lower-level Div. 1, or even a Div. 2 or 3 program, kids will spend much of their recruiting process trying to get the attention of coaches that will never recruit them. Worse, they pass up valuable time with coaches that would be interested. So what can you do to get a better assessment of your talent level? Here are some thoughts:

Go to colleges to watch practices or games.

Unfortunately, the only college sports that easily are found on TV are big-time football and men’s and women’s basketball. For baseball, you might catch a game now and then, but usually it is the elite-level programs. So your best bet is to check out a college practice or game in person.

This will educate you on what the team is really like — the talent, size, speed, etc. You can make an honest evaluation of your (or your child’s) talent as it compares to that team. Keep in mind, there is a major difference between 16- and 17-year-olds and 20- to 22-year-olds, so some projection must be factored in. In addition, these visits are good to get feedback about what you like and don’t like about the school itself. Too often in recruiting, kids and their parents believe — even if they might not have a shot at a major- college program — lower-baseball programs are a breeze to get recruited by and play at. Regardless of division, recruiting is competitive and players are talented. The sooner you get out to see it with your own eyes, the better off you will be.

Go to camps and showcase-type events.

These are good opportunities partly to get recruited, partly to get evaluated by a coach, but also to see where you stack up against the bigger recruiting pool. Lots of times, kids return from camps slightly dejected but also motivated. They thought they were elite, then they go to a camp and find out that other players are ahead of them. This motivates them to listen to coaches, work on skills, hit the weight room, eat right, etc.

Ask your coach.

Solicit feedback from any coach who is with you on a regular basis — high school, travel, lessons, etc. These coaches know more than we typically give them credit for. Just because you are around your high school coach all the time, you probably don’t have a sit-down and talk about college. Trust me, they know what they are talking about and want to help. Ask them for an honest evaluation of your talent level and what they think you need to work on. Get an idea of where they think you fit in regarding college baseball.

Ask a college coach.

Ask advice from any college coach who has seen you play either during a game, a camp or through video. Another great person to ask is a friend who is currently playing college athletics (or a parent of one) — who knows what the high school level is like and now knows what the college level is like.



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