By Eric Johnson
When you start to get recruited, you can sometimes get wrapped up in the process. It’s a tricky situation. Getting recruited to play college ball means that you have to have an “I” mentality. You have to be thinking about when coaches can see you play, how you do in games, how good your at bats are, and if your skills are showcased to the fullest. But at the same time, you’re in the middle of one of the greatest experiences of your life: high school baseball. So here are some tips to help you balance getting recruited, with playing to win right now in high school.
- College coaches absolutely look for situational hitting. If there’s a spot where you have to hit behind the runner or lay down a bunt and you get it done, that is a positive in a college coach’s eyes. They want to know they are recruiting a guy who will do whatever it takes at the plate, in the field, or on the mound, in order to win.
- Coaches watch for body language. If your team loses 6-0 but you went 3/4, should you be smiling after the game because of your great performance? No. Sure, inside it’s ok to be satisfied with the way you played, but you have to value winning! A player who doesn’t care about winning and losing, doesn’t show the competitive fire that goes deeper than any individual’s performance, is worthless to a college coach. That goes for when your team wins but you have a bad game too. Know that a coach is looking for a whole lot more than just a hit when they are watching you. So keep your attitude in check. Bring energy to the dugout and show that the most important thing to you is winning. Because regardless of your ability, the most important thing in college baseball is also winning. Show a coach that you’re capable of understanding that.
- Finally, assume that someone is always watching. I know that sounds pretty cliché, but I can tell you for a fact that lots of coaches show up and stand somewhere out of the way because they want to see how a kid plays when he thinks no one is watching. Does he run a hard 90? Does he lay out for the ground ball? Does he bear down in a big spot on the mound? Anyone can up their game when they think someone important is watching them. A coach wants to see who ups their game when the only reward is winning.
The bottom line is, don’t throw away your last year of high school baseball because you’re so wrapped up in the recruiting process. I can honestly say that the most memorable baseball moment I have occurred in high school. Don’t miss your opportunity to have your moment. Play to win right now and the rest will take care of itself.