The Players’ Tribune has a great series of articles called Letter To My Younger Self. In this feature series, professional players pen a letter to themselves at a younger age, using their experience and hindsight to give advice and talk about things they could have done differently. We love the idea of learning from experience and the experiences of others. Current and former college players have a lot of valuable advice to offer current college baseball prospects as they go through the recruiting process, and we thought that Letter to My High School Self was a great platform for successful players to share this advice. We hope you can learn from the lessons of those who made it to the next level!
*This article was published for the first time several years ago. Its lessons are as valuable today as they were when it first posted.*
Dear senior year of high school Justin,
Baseball season is right around the corner. All the years of hard work and dedication are finally going to pay off. I know you’re nervous about getting recruited and post-graduation plans, especially seeing other teammates getting heavily recruited, but know your time is coming. Stay motivated and keep pushing to achieve all the goals you have set.
All the hard work you put in throughout the years will get noticed by college coaches, and they will reach out to you. Because of your poor academic decisions early in your high school career, you will be restricted in what levels you can play at. You will have to take a longer road to get to the NCAA D1 level. The junior college route isn’t a horrible way to go, and the level of play isn’t as bad as you think it is. There are exceptional players across the nation that have gone the junior college route.
Throughout the year you will go on visits to junior colleges around your area in Northern California. Just remember to enjoy the experience, it will help prepare you for the future when you begin getting recruited by four-year universities. When you’re looking at the schools, remember not to settle for the closest option to you and not to look for the best team but to look for the best fit. Go to the school that wants you and can help develop you into a D1 pitcher. When you set your ego aside and realize your true talent level, that is when you will see the biggest jump in your on-field performance.
During your senior season, you will experience highs and lows just like any other baseball season. Remember that a bad outing doesn’t mean you won’t get recruited and that a great outing doesn’t mean you should go D1 right away. I hate to say it, but you aren’t ready yet.
Your first year in Junior college will help you in more ways then you realize. It will help teach you what it takes to be a college athlete. There will be long days. You’ll have to go from early morning classes to practice for three plus hours. Then you’ll go to the weight room and follow it up with a night class. Junior college will also help you mature on and off the field. You will develop a work ethic that will help you beyond your baseball career.
Take advantage of the second chance junior college gives you academically, it will make you NCAA eligible. Coaches care about your grades, it shows them that you’re dedicated to their program and that you won’t be a problem for them off the field. Always remember why you play the game and to enjoy the ride of your last high school season.
College Senior Justin McMurtrey