Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do You Know Where You Stand?

Where do you stand?

Do you know where you stand as far as your talent or potential as player goes? I have been working with baseball players for 13 years as a coach, and have been playing the game for 30 years, and this still seems to be a problem no matter where you go. Understanding where you are in your development can help you as a player set goals and have a realistic sense of what the future holds. Knowing where you are usually comes from experience, you have to get out of your little bubble and see what else is out there. I currently live in a cold weather state, being Colorado, and have found that many players have no idea where there talent really stands and in many cases think of themselves to highly, without real evidence. Let me give you a little personal example. When I was in high school and looking to go to the next level I was setting up tryouts with all sorts of programs and coaches from D1 to NAIA. I had been in my little bubble and had not really got out and tested my talent too much. Some of it had to do with the fact that my family did not have a lot of money, but I worked really hard and wanted to play. On my way to a try out for a D1 school in Kansas I decided to stop at some smaller schools as well. The first school I stopped at was a NAIA school that was very competitive in their league and region. I went through the tryout and felt like I did very well, I was excited to see what the coach would say. The coach started out by saying that I would probably not be playing at his school, I was instantly disappointed, what was I going to do; I was on my way to a D1 school to test my talent. Well before the disappointment set in, I think the coach could read my face and said, you will probably not play here because you are better then any player I have on my team now. Of course he was more then willing to take me, but this is fine example of not knowing where I really stood, so I could make the right choices of schools to visit. The D1 tryout went well and I was offered the chance to go there, but that is another story. As a player you need to get out and play with, or against some players from around the country or at least your region. You have to see how they play, how they look and perform. There are also many so called recruitment tryouts and camps. I use, so called, because you need to look at these with a grain of salt, is the tryout really a way to make money or is it really a talent camp for coaches. As a basic rule of thumb if the tryout camp is really expensive it is probably a fraud. As a player you should look for local camps, or schools that are having camps and tryouts. A program that we have started this year is providing players with a free evaluation camp every summer, the camp is free so no player has an excuse that they could not come. We cover everything from strength and conditioning to fielding, hitting and pitching. Each player receives a full evaluation or there skills as well as some tips on how they can improve. This has evolved into the winter evaluation camp where we bring in other professionals to also evaluate. These camps are more in-depth, and so have a small fee, but the fee is for paying for the professional evaluators and their travel to our location. Finding a good competitive team might also be a great way to help establish your talent and raise it to the next level. The experience of playing with players you have not grown up with and getting to locations you might not have gotten to without this team will help you as a player develop and be ready for the next stage. The challenge of the blog this week is to really evaluate where you are as a player and where you want to go. Be honest with yourself, and you will become a better player then you thought possible.

Brian Niswender
Co-Founder Baseballstrengthcoaching.com

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