This article is written by Jon Helsabeck. Jon is currently the General Manager of the Beach Collegiate Summer League in Myrtle Beach, SC and is the head coach of the Murrels Inlet Tide in that league. He is also an instructor at the Southeast Stars Baseball Academy in South Carolina. Jon was formerly the recruiting coordinator for Stanly Community College.
Parents & Players-
Too many times, kids make their mind up on where to play college baseball before they have even visited the campus.
Though having a goal and want is a great thing, sometimes once a kid visits a campus and has time to sit down and have a conversation with the coaching staff, he realizes that a certain school may not be the right fit.
But what is the ‘right fit’?
As a parent and a player attending a college on a visit, be sure to have a plan when you get there.
First off, academics are a top priority because trust me, a baseball career doesn’t last forever.
Secondly, when you take into consideration the facilities of a program (because that is every player’s number one thought – where will I be every day, where I am supposed to get better), realize that everything is perception.
A college baseball field that isn’t as nice as it’s rival’s is perceived as that college doesn’t necessarily support their baseball program as much as the other.
That is my number one gripe when it comes to recruiting.
Do not let a coach promise you the world because no coach 100% knows his line-up for the next year.
Most don’t know day to day.
Don’t let them sell you the field and facilities.
As a parent, let your child find the ‘right fit’ for himself and do not be quick to jump at something that looks so perfect. Do your research on academics and the history of the baseball coach and program.
Though many college facilities that are perfect do reflect success, that doesn’t always mean that a player will take advantage of them.
It is easy for a college athlete to get down on himself and lose that drive when he realizes that maybe, just maybe he is over-matched.
As a baseball player, realize you are a baseball PLAYER.
Do you want to go Division 1 and ride the pine, or go Division 2 and have a chance to play every day and make an impact?
As a player, do your own research. See what age the guys are in front of you at your position, watch games, watch skill levels, and take your time making the right decision and find the ‘right fit’.
The biggest part of finding the ‘right fit’ is finding the right coach.
I have been that kid coming out of high school that talks to numerous coaches on the phone and in person and I have also been that coach that is calling the player recruiting him to come to his school.
Each coach is going to pitch his school’s and program’s upside but be sure to ask about their downfalls.
If a coach side steps a question or doesn’t sit and talk to you like an adult, he isn’t the right coach for you.
I believe that each player and each coach should have a relationship.
Every coach has a different type of relationship with each player, but he still has a relationship with them. That is what coaching is all about.
Every college baseball coach is going to push you to your limits on the field, but taking your time to find the coach that will also be a mentor and role model when your playing days are over is a special thing…and that takes time.
Do not rush into saying ‘YES’!
I understand that it is an exciting time in your baseball career. But be sure to weigh all pros and cons, do your research, and make the right decision for you and your family.
Pick a school that you want to represent across your chest and do your best in the classroom and on the baseball field. Don’t sell yourself short!