If you are a high school player wanting to continue playing in college, then baseball is probably your passion and focus. But, there is more to life than baseball. The last year plus has show us that life can change very quickly, and it is absolutely essential that you have a backup plan. Athletes are very familiar with the saying, “Play like it’s your last game.” As a pitcher, you could be one pitch away from a career ending arm injury. As a position player, you are one bad step away from a knee, ankle, or hamstring injury that can drastically change your baseball career. You don’t have to focus on potential injuries, but you should think about your college decision as much more than a baseball decision so you can ensure your happiness in a life without baseball.
As the level of baseball increases (high school to college to pro), the number of players decreases to a very small percentage of the number that played Little League or travel ball. Playing professional baseball is something many ballplayers dream about, but very few get to live out that dream. Most ballplayers go on to other jobs and dreams. It is essential to put yourself in a place where you will be happy with your life after baseball. When choosing a college, it is important to select a college where you will be happy even if your baseball career doesn’t work out as you hoped. It is also important for you to select a college that will open up opportunities to you once your baseball career is over. These days, networking is an important strategy when looking for a good job, and the baseball community is a tight knit group that can provide opportunities for networking.
Here is an important question to ask yourself as you consider colleges and create a backup plan:
- Will my current high school grades allow me to go to the college I want even if I can’t play baseball there?
If this answer is no . . .
- How am I going to improve my grades?
- Should I go to junior college to improve my grades and open up more opportunities?
- What are my interests outside of baseball? Can any of these interests lead to a career?
- Would I be happy at a specific college without baseball?
- What do I want to study? Do the schools I like have my major?
It may seem strange that a website focused on helping you play baseball in college would want you to ask yourself these questions but we’re here to help you make realistic informed decisions. Think of it this way. When you go up to bat, you have a specific plan. When the count and situation change, you adjust your plan too. It is important to be ready for unexpected changes in the game, in baseball or in the rest of your life.