http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/omaha-375x500.jpg 375w, http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/omaha.jpg 400w" sizes="(max-width: 375px) 100vw, 375px" />
Here is the much anticipated Part II of “Preparing for College Baseball: Top 10 Things You Need To Do:
6. Be Prepared to Play New Positions and Pitch in New Roles
Few if any freshman will arrive on campus with a starting position already locked up. Most programs make their players earn their spots. With that being said, the team might need you to play new positions even if it’s in a backup role. I received a scholarship to a D1 school as a SS. That’s the only position I had ever played and the only one I wanted to play. I was “forced” to reluctantly learn how to play 2B and 3B. This made me more valuable to my team and gave the coach more ways to get me playing time. If you have been a center fielder all through high school, make sure you take some fly balls from the corner outfield positions before you get to campus so you feel familiar wherever you’re asked to play.
Pitchers, the same concept applies to you also. Just cause you’ve always been a starter doesn’t mean you won’t pitch out of the pen once you get to college. Former D1 starting pitcher turned big league reliever, Matt Whiteside weighs in on this:
“When going from high school to college you are probably going to step into a role you’re not familiar with. For the most part freshman are going to come out of the bullpen. Being able to acclimate yourself into the role you are given is a big part of successfully transitioning to the next level.”
7. Be Early to Practices
In high school, on time is fine. In college “on time” is late. Every program is going to be different, but until you get a good feel for what is expected, a good rule of thumb is reporting to the locker room at least an hour before practice. When you first get on campus, follow the lead of the upper classmen and make it a point to be one of the first guys on the field… you probably don’t want to be the first, but shortly thereafter.
8. Go Out of Your Way to Introduce Yourself to New Teammates, Coaches, and Staff
In your first few weeks of college baseball you’ll get plenty of general introductions to your new teammates. Make it a priority to say hello and shake hands with new faces, such as teammates, coaches (position players- make sure you meet the pitching coaches and visa versa), trainers, equipment managers, compliance officers and anyone else associated with your program. Take the time at the beginning and you will fit in and get adjusted more quickly than if you just keep to yourself and go with the flow.
9. Don’t Blow Off Your Classes
Too many freshman ballplayers will be so overwhelmed with baseball, social life, dorm life, ect that school work takes a back seat at the beginning of the year. Don’t forget that if you don’t maintain a certain GPA, you will be ineligible. Put some extra time into your studies early on to ensure you don’t fall behind and end up scrambling at the end to the fall semester to be eligible for the spring.
10. Handle Failure Well
Guess what? Baseball is a game of failure. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you will. As a freshman going into a college baseball program you need to understand that everything will not go as planned. The best players will grow from their failures early on and continue to improve. TCU’s coach Randy Mazey says this:
“Freshman have to find a way to separate themselves from their new competition, so they have to be able to handle it the right way if things don’t go well at first, which is what happens to every freshman who has ever gone to college. If they have a bad day, which they all will, and have the attitude to learn from it and get better, then they usually find a way to make it into the lineup. If they mope and pout when things go bad, it usually takes those guys a little longer to break into the lineup.”