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  • Writer's pictureWayne Mazzoni

What To Look For From College Programs

The recruiting process is really similar to the process you go through to find a job. At first, you don’t have a job, so you network, send out résumés, go to job fairs, look at help wanted, etc., all to get your name out to those in need of help.


This is much the same with recruiting. Assuming you have the talent, you need to get your name out to college coaches. Could be from your high school or summer coach, maybe you have a video, or you get seen at tournaments or camps.


In the world of work, if you are a marketable employee, you hopefully will find your hard work paying off and soon several companies may want to hire you. Same with recruiting. Now that you are in demand and being recruited, it puts you in a position to decide which is the best place for you, and the employer/coach becomes the sales person.


For a job, you would want to know the hours, the pay, bonus, benefits, dress code, chance for advancement, co-workers, what specifically you will be doing on the job. In college baseball, there are many things to look for as well. So let’s get to it


Academics


I assume your main reason for going to college is to learn, grow, get a degree and find a job/career. But baseball takes a lot of time for practice, games, travel, strength training, video study, etc. A coach/ program/school should tell you how they will support your goal of being on the baseball team, all while getting your education. If you succeed on the field, but not in the classroom, then you really have not achieved the goal and purpose of going to college. So the bottom line is: What practices are in place to keep you succeeding in the classroom?


Strength and training

It’s safe to say when you walk in the door at college at age 17 or 18, you will not be the same athlete or have the same physique when you leave. College baseball is very much about your skills and your mental game, but the fact is you need to be healthy to be on the field and the stronger you are, the better you will perform. So you should know what kind of training facilities and staff the college provides, as well as the team doctors, and what type of strength and conditioning facility and staff are available.


Coaching

You likely are to be with a coaching staff for four years, so you should do your homework on what you are getting yourself into rather than just making a decision from solely talking to a coach on the phone or in person. While your gut feeling is one you should follow, you also should ask the players on the team or parents of players on the team what they think of the coaching staff.


Facilities/equipment

It is important to know what type of game and practice field a program has, what its winter facilities are like, what type of gear will be used, what is provided and what has to be funded or bought. It doesn’t always mean the program with the better field is the better place for you, but the fact is you need all the information to make an informed decision.


Schedule/results

You should know who will be on the schedule if you go to that school. Any good trips, big opponents, great life experiences? In addition, you should certainly know the team’s record over the past couple of years to know which direction the program is headed. There’s nothing wrong with going to a program that has been down, but the coach should explain his plans to improve things. Quarterback Andrew Luck committed to Stanford when it was 1-11 and last year helped lead the Cardinal to an 11-1 record. Further, you should know how many players have had the chance to play after college. If that is a realistic goal of yours — not a dream, but something that could be in your future — you certainly want to know a coach’s ability to help by placing you in the best summer leagues and creating access to scouts.


Players

Last, but most certainly not least, you need to know something about your future teammates. Are these guys you can get to know and like? You can never be sure about the team dynamic until you are there, but to blindly think all teams are the same is a mistake. So do your homework, take a visit, meet the team, watch a practice or a game, whatever you need to do to find out what your future brothers — and hopefully lifelongs friends — are like.

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