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Playing Baseball at the Next Level | Beyond the Bat Mug

January 14, 2019

Playing Baseball at the Next Level | Beyond the Bat Mug

The question amateur and youth baseball players continually ponder:

"What does it take to play baseball at the college level?"

I had a coach tell me when I was in high school, "if you want to play baseball in college - there is a college out there for every kid to play at."

I agree with that statement. 

With that understanding, the thought process transitions from "what does it take" to "what is important to me." When asking the question "what is important to me" - I think a young baseball athlete needs to understand that deciding which college to attend is much more than a four year decision. Picking your college is very much a 40 year decision. 

Wrapped up in your college baseball decision is the people that you will meet and connect with, the friends you will make, the education you receive, the credibility that will come along with the degree you graduate with, the play time you will earn (and the lessons of adversity that come along with "riding the pine"), the relationships you develop with your coaches, and beyond. All these things will play a 40 year roll in your life.

There is something that makes this even more difficult - being predictive of what will be important to you in the future. It's common for a 17 year old kid to write down, "I want to play D1 baseball." However, there is a possibility the same kid goes to a D1 school and gets no play time, and his metric changes to "I want play time."

Here are three things that commonly get overlooked when making a decision of what college to play baseball at:

  1. The coaching staff. Ask yourself: what is their style of baseball? Does it fit to your style of play? How do they run their program? Does it meet your personality? When a player's style of play and personality doesn't mesh with the coaching staff - it is an uphill battle that leads to frustration.
  2. The surrounding city. This will be your home for the next 4 years. A lot of your time will be spent on campus, at the gym, and at the field - but, there is still down time that is spent. If you are a surfer, and make the decision to go to a school that is landlocked - it could be a difficult adjustment (sounds silly -but, it's true). Escaping "the grind" of school and baseball to have fun is a critical part of the equation to success. 
  3. How does the visit make you feel? Does the visit feel like a sales pitch? Or does the visit feel like home? Can you see yourself hanging out with the guys that are currently on the team? Does the coaching staff have a personality that works with yours. Trust your gut (even if it's against the "popular" option).

Understand that college baseball is meant to be fun. You will look back someday and not worry about stats - it will be more about the memories you created with your teammates and coaches.

We hope this information helps! Best of luck in your decision!

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My name is Randall Thompson, founder of Thompson Mug Company - we create the Dugout Mug - which is a baseball bat mug. In 2014, I asked myself - can someone drink from the barrel of a baseball bat? The short answer: "yes!" & people love it. Our reach has grown, and I write short and precise entries about my experience in baseball from my days in little league to the Toronto Blue Jays organization - to bring to you - 'Beyond the Bat Mug.'