By Tom Briner
Today, we’re starting a new feature for our KPB blog – posts for high school coaches who want to help their players move on to play in college.
As a high school baseball coach, you can make a huge difference in whether or not your players play in college. Simply making a phone call or returning a questionnaire can be instrumental in helping your players get to the next level. Here are some important things to remember:
- Give your players your objective view of their skills. If you don’t think they are capable of playing Division 1 baseball, tell them about the alternatives. There are ways to do this without breaking down a player. For example, “Look Tom, I’m going to be honest with you. Right now you aren’t a D1 player in my mind. If that is the level you want to play at, you need to gain 10-15 pounds, work on your defense, and get better at executing on offense. There are other options for you if D1 doesn’t work out.”
- Return phone calls and questionnaires. While this work may seem tedious, college coaches are always interested in getting the opinions of players’ current coaches. Taking 5-10 minutes to fill out a questionnaire for your player could make a huge difference in his life. Your players will appreciate your efforts, possibly for the rest of their lives. I still speak with my high school and summer ball coaches and am very grateful for the work they have done for me and my teammates.
- Make calls or send emails on behalf of your players. If you think a player is a good fit for a college program, shoot the coach a quick email mentioning your player and why you think he would be a good fit. It is important to do this objectively in order to build credibility. If you refer a guy who is not a D1 player to a top D1 school, that college coach may dismiss future emails from you. Here’s an example of a quick referral email: “Hey Coach ___, I’ve got a kid who might be a good fit for your program. He’s a great student (3.9 GPA) and his fastball sits between 87-90 with good control. Attached is my contact information. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. Thanks for your time.”
- Motivate your players. Show them clips of college baseball. Bring former players back to speak with them. Take them to a college game or even tell them your own college baseball stories. There are a plethora of YouTube clips that will motivate and fire up your players. This will not only help your players get better individually, but it will help your team grow and be successful.
- Treat your star player the same way you treat the last guy on your bench. High school is a time when kids develop and grow. The last guy on your bench this year could be the star of your team next year. It is important not to play favorites and to hold all players accountable. If your star player works his butt off, the last guy on the bench will see what it takes to be great and do his best to match his intensity and work ethic.
Remember, high school kids are very malleable, so this is a great time to instill hard work, positive mental attitude, and focus into their lives. I don’t have to tell you, those lessons can make a big difference for your players, on and off the field.