This article was written by Nick Millspaugh. Nick played D-1 Baseball at IPFW in Fort Wayne, IN. He finished his collegiate career at Indiana Wesleyan University alongside Atlanta Braves’ starting RHP Brandon Beachy.
On several occasions, I have seen kids work hard for their entire life in order to get to college and play baseball only to quit before the first semester is complete.
I have made it a point to investigate why this occurs.
If you are reading this article and are a parent of a young athlete or a young athlete aspiring to play college baseball, please pay attention.
The most common denominator is that the kid is simply burnt out.
Once I get recruited and make it to college then it is on a downhill from here, right?
We all spend so much time on the chase, that we too often don’t prepare ourselves and the athlete for the harvest.
From a young age, an athlete will begin this process. I refer to it as a process and not a preparation, again pay close attention.
The process is that he goes to private lessons when everyone else is playing with their friends.
The process continues when he spends his summer traveling to different destinations while his friends are playing video games and going to amusement parks.
The process nears an end when all of his work has paid off and he gets an offer to play at the college level.
Finally, the process concludes when he steps foot on campus and goes to his first practice while his roommates and classmates are staying up all night socializing.
What happens next?
The athlete soon realizes that there is more to life then baseball.
He was never prepared for the scary fact that when he got to college, the journey has only just begun. Class for 15 hours per week, practice for 20 hours per week, studying for 10 hours per week and group workouts for another 5 hours per week.
This is a full time job and for someone who has not taken the time to prepare for life outside of that, he will find himself feeling left out or left behind.
Most of the time he is burnt out and just ready to start being able to enjoy the frills of life like his friends.
My parents knew my goals but also made it a point to make sure I had balance.
I knew the importance of having balance in my life and my priorities.
I was fortunate enough to have a parent that played college baseball. He let me know constantly that this was just the next step.
The worst thing for everyone involved is to see a kid go through all of the work, feel like the journey is finally complete day one of college and give up shortly after that.
He often realizes that this really wasn’t his dream after all.
Just because he was always above average he thought that was the logical thing to pursue.
Baseball in college often holds the fondest memories of the game and overall experiences. This, however, comes at a high price that requires balance.
If he is properly prepared for what is to come, it will simply be the next chapter and no doubt the best part of the journey so far!