Choosing a Travel Ball Team

This post is for players that are in high school.  If you’re not in high school yet, don’t worry about getting recruited, focus on becoming a better ball player.  Learn to love the game of baseball because that is the best way to learn how to play with heart, and in the end, college coaches love players who play like they love the game.

That being said, once you’re old enough to start looking for a college, getting yourself on a great travel team is crucial to getting recruited.  There are a few things you need to think about when choosing a team.

1. Get on a Good Team

Scouts want to be away from their players as little as possible so you’ll notice that the majority of them start to show up when playoffs start.  They assume that the good players have made it to the playoffs.  If you find yourself on a team who can’t make it to playoffs, you’re not going to get seen by most scouts.

2. Find a Coach Who’s Goal is to Get You Recruited

There are tons of teams these days that are just trying to take your money.  My coach had been coaching and getting kids recruited for years so he had relationships with plenty of coaches.  You want to find someone like that, and there are plenty like that.  If you find yourself with a coach who at any point is unsure of what the next step is, you are with the wrong coach.  You want someone who can guide you through the entire process and don’t be afraid to go out and find someone new.  Your coach should be there for you, not for money.

3. Associate Yourself with People with the Same Goals

If you surround yourself with people who want to succeed you will be pushed to succeed.  Also, if you play on the same team as guys who are just playing for fun, that looks really bad in front of scouts and they will immediately discredit you.  Scouts are looking for guys who want to win and want to be pushed, guys who don’t care are a cancer to the team.  If you find yourself on a team like this, leave immediately because if a scout sees you as a cancer that is a hard first impression to shed.

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What College Coaches Are Looking For

Now that I’ve spent two years in college, I can really see what our coaches love in some of our players, and what they wish they could change.  My freshman year I was doing outfield drills with the other outfielders and our coach got pissed because one of our guys complained about how we do the same drill over and over.  The coach told this guy, who was a junior at the time, that they recruited him because they thought he was a hard nosed, tough dude who would be able to lead the team.  He continued to say, in front of everyone, that he doesn’t know if he was even worth his scholarship since he’s always complaining and isn’t the tough guy they recruited.  Not once did he say anything about his skills.  He wasn’t one of our better players and the coach never made mention of that which he easily could have done.

Yes, coaches care about how well you play, I’m not saying that’s not important… because it obviously is.  Be real with yourself, if you’re a division two recruit right now, I am telling you.  If you are tough, hard nosed, you hustle on and off the field, don’t let anything rattle you, and just play your best baseball, scouts WILL notice and they will give you a chance at the division one level.

I first got seen at a tournament in Arizona, and I truely believe that the way that I played at that tournament got me recruited.  Something got into me and even though it was a hundred plus degrees, I was hustling all over the place and was extremely enthusiastic; into the game from the first out to the last.  Not only that, and probably more importantly, your coach knows what kind of player you are, and no matter how chummy you are with him, he’s not going to put his reputation on the line for you.  If you want your coach to say good things about you, prove to him that you deserve it.  My scout team coach knew I was one of the harder working players on our team and I know he told every coach he talked to.  That goes a LONG  way coming from a well trusted coach.

My senior year, I had already committed and my scout team had a banquet.  My future college coach was the keynote speaker.  He talked about a player he had and in what ways he was a great player to have as a coach.  Not because he’s their best player but because he knows that he never has to worry about how hard he’s working.  College coaches have a LOT on their plate; if you can take the edge off for them, then they’ll love you.  Work your butt off and they know you’re reaching your maximum potential and there’s not much more they need to do for you.  Get good grades and they won’t have to worry about you in the classroom, in fact, players who get good grades are making their coaches look better without the coach having to do anything… they love that.