This article was originally written when Rob Friedman first started @FlatgroundApp, a social media tool to help players get free exposure and advice from the pitching community. Since it was published, the impact of these platforms has continued to grow and we hope it continues to provide cost-free opportunity for those who are willing to put in the work and dream big!
It’s fair to say that playing youth baseball is more expensive now than it ever has been. There are a lot of contributing factors to that. Chief among them are the shift away from town leagues, the growth of travel ball, and profit-seekers who have realized that they can capitalize on naïve parents and players who will spare no expense to pursue college and professional baseball dreams. At KPB, we constantly hear from parents and players whose pop-up blockers simply can’t keep up with all the invites to “must attend” events or ads for the latest baseball gadget. Players and parents are made to think that if you want to keep playing baseball, it has to be expensive. As we’ve said time and again, this simply isn’t true. The same can be said for the college baseball search process and there are cost effective or free alternatives to everything in the recruiting process that costs money. Don’t believe us? Read this article.
We’ve previously written about how technology can help you get recruited and in this article we highlight how that is more apparent than ever. The feelings about social media’s role in the recruiting process are starting to shift. College coaches are no longer using social media simply as a character check, or to cross kids off their list, but rather they are using it to really connect with and find recruits. It’s now becoming common for players to garner interest and even get offers from videos on social media and this will continue to be an increasingly important way for kids to get free exposure. To highlight this point, let’s look at one place where the social media spotlight is already helping high school recruits get interest and even offers from coaches.
If you are active on Twitter, you’ve likely heard of the Pitching Ninja (@PitchingNinja on Twitter). The account is run by Rob Friedman, who posts the most amazing GIFs of baseball highlights that the internet has to offer. Friedman’s Pitching Ninja handle has 190,000 followers (up 80,000 from last year), many of whom are Big Leaguers themselves taking time to marvel at the work of their peers. While much of Pitching Ninja’s work has been focused on highlighting the best of the best from Major League players, it’s his most recent project that has us pounding away at the keyboard in excitement. A year ago, Friedman started a new accounts, @FlatgroundApp for pitchers and @FlatgroundBats for hitters. The account descriptions read, “Harnessing the power of social media to break down barriers & prevent pitchers from falling thru the cracks. Improve skills & showcase talent.” The handle epitomizes the way players can get exposure, coaching tips, and more for free through social media.
Pitching Ninja’s latest effort represents the best of what social media is capable of. He’s using his platform to provide a way for players to get better, get the exposure they need, and continue playing the game. The best part? It’s free and offers a glimpse into recruiting in the digital age, where you are one tweet away from making it to the next level. Don’t believe us? Just ask one of the many players who have received college offers or professional contracts because of the Flatground accounts.
As we have in the past, we offer a huge tip of the cap to Pitching Ninja, Rob Friedman, whose new platform is already succeeding in leveling the recruiting playing field, lowering the cost of exposure on families, and providing kids with a legitimate and affordable opportunity to get coached and seen. If you are a pitcher or hitter looking to make it to the next level, be sure to check out these accounts and leverage social media to get free exposure and opportunities!