Fixing Finger Blisters

Here’s a video from YouGoProBaseball.com on the subject of preventing and treating finger blisters for baseball players, specifically pitchers. Matt has had this recur on the index finger of his throwing hand for the first time this season. Not sure if it is due to gripping the ball differently, throwing harder, or a combination of both factors. We’ll see how these remedies work…

Maximizing Exposure to College Programs

Following is some great advice regarding maximizing exposure to college baseball programs from The BBR.com:

  • Only elite players (1% student-athletes) receive full-scholarships. Most receive 10% to 50% of full-tuition & must pursue other financial-aid / scholarships.
  • Student-athlete & family must be realistic & should not focus entirely on Division I programs.
  • Student-athlete with lower-division ability should concentrate on local exposure at college camps.
  • Student-athlete & familiy pursuing college baseball scholarship must be persistent & pro-active while following the steps outlined below:

Play High School & Summer Baseball

  • The best way to get noticed is to play & show tools.
  • Student-athlete should not transfer schools to play for a more competitive team.
  • Play on high profile, competitive summer travel team. Local leagues don’t provide enough exposure.
  • College baseball coaches scout high school baseball student-athletes during summer because college baseball season takes place during spring.
  • Play weekend tournaments in larger towns, allowing college coaches to cover more games, teams, & players.

Contact College Baseball Coaches

  • Student-athlete & family should be proactive and contact college coaches during summer after 10th grade.
  • College coaches begin evaluating student-athletes during junior year (50% of all baseball scholarships awarded during fall, before senior season).
  • Local coaches may know student-athlete, but family must contact out of town coaches.
  • Have professional scout or coach for opposing team contact program on student-athlete’s behalf to provide unbiased & qualified evaluation of student-athlete’s ability.
  • Good coaches follow up with all contacts and see student-athletes that request evaluation.

    Contact Guidelines:

  • Never contact college baseball coach at home.
  • Student-athlete should contact baseball office, not parents.
  • Personalize contact letter to coach using correct title & last name.
  • Keep contact letter concise (1 page max).
  • Contact letters must be typed or neatly written & double-checked for errors.
  • Don’t be discouraged if coaches don’t respond.  Follow up aggressively with letter & phone call.

     General Information: 

  • Name
  • Age
  • Contact Information (Address & Phone Number)
  • Height / Weight
  • Current photograph
  • Personal statement describing student-athlete’s academic & athletic goals and desire to play college baseball at specified institution.
  • List jobs & volunteer / community work.

Academic Information:

  • Graduation Year
  • Academic Transcripts
  • GPA
  • Class Rank
  • SAT or ACT standardized test scores
  • Academic Honors
  • Name of high school guidance counselor

Athletic Information:

  • Position(s)
  • Bats / Throws
  • Honest description of athletic performance history, statistical info, & athletic awards.
  • Limit local media.
  • Evaluation & reference from opposing coach or professional scout.
  • Current schedule of high school, summer team, camps, & showcases that student-athlete will be attending (date, time, location, & directions).
  • Send performance updates after tournament games & showcases.
  • Name of high school coach.

Attend Professional Baseball Tryout  

  • Contact professional baseball teams to locate open tryout schedule for each area.
  • Attend professional baseball try out camp during summer after 10th grade.
  • Professional baseball teams & MLB Scouting Bureau host tryout camps, open to amateur baseball players.
  • Professional baseball tryout camps attended by college coaches & professional baseball scouts.
  • Players can attend as many tryouts as they choose.
  • Tryouts are free.
  • Players must be at least 16 years-old to participate.
  • Players can tryout at one (best) position.

Tryout Camp Overview:

  • Bring own equipment.
  • Administration
  • Warm-Up
  • Position players run timed, 60-yard dash.
  • Infielders & Outfielders field & throw from position.
  • Catchers throw to 2nd base in simulated stolen base situation.
  • Pitchers throw 20-25 pitch bullpen & 1 inning simulated game.
  • Selected players hit.
  • Play scrimmage game, which provides scouts opportunity to evaluate game reactions & instincts.

Attend Baseball Showcase  

  • Student-athlete should attend at least one showcase during summer after 10th grade to increase exposure.
  • Unnecessary to attend multiple showcases due to prohibitive cost of attendance ($250-$750 plus expenses).
  • College coaches & professional baseball scouts attend major showcases.  (Pro scouts asked by college coaches to identify potential student-athletes.)
  • Provides opportunity to compete & compare ability against players with similar or more talent from other states.
  • Parents should investigate events before allowing student-athlete to attend.

Attend College Baseball Camp  

  • Beginning freshman year, student-athlete should attend one college baseball program camp per-year.
  • Provides coaches opportunity to evaluate & compare student-athletes.
  • Provides opportunity for student-athlete & family to meet coach and visit college campus.

Visualize Your Success

When Hank Aron was asked,”what was the secret to your success?”, he simply replied……”VISUALIZATION”.

Here is a quick visualization exercise that is guaranteed to help make you a more confident hitter in less than one minute:

  1. Close your eyes, and then take 5 slow, very deep breaths – down deep in your belly. Feel your breath coming in and going out as you take them. With each breath, relax your forehead, jaw, shoulders, back, legs…
  2. Pause at the end of the 5 breaths, and rest without breathing for 15-20 seconds. Just stay focused on the feeling in your relaxing body…
  3. Start breathing normally again, and keep your eyes closed. Now make a picture in your mind of you being the best hitter on your team. Really feel how that would feel. Imagine the way your teammates perceive you. How the coaches respect you, and how the scouts are interested in your projection. Imagine how great it is to hit the ball hard to all fields. What sounds do you hear? What smells?
  4. Have you grabbed that feeling yet? Great! Now keep your eyes closed and let that feeling stay for 5 seconds. Give it a color. What color is it? Now amplify it!

If you do this exercise regularly  you will notice one thing: You can create unbreakable confidence by using visualization skills to help get the feeling of being successful. The “Law of Attraction” means this also increases the chances of that success actually happening.

Work on it and Play Ball!

The CNS Priming Effect from Alex Maroko

Here are four body-blasts that trigger the CNS Priming Effect:

POGO JUMPS

Pogo Jumps from alex maroko on Vimeo.

LATERAL LINE JUMPS

Lateral Line Jumps from alex maroko on Vimeo.

FOOT TAPS

Foot Taps from alex maroko on Vimeo.

ONES AND TENS

One’s and Ten’s from alex maroko on Vimeo.

For more information on speed training, check out the Truth About Quickness!

Timeline and Checklist for Baseball and Softball Scholarships

The journey for baseball and softball players wishing to continue their careers at the college level begins on the first day of High School freshman year (9th Grade). Here is a timeline and checklist for players from The Baseball Resource for players to follow on the road to NCAA eligibility.

BASIC PRINCIPLES

  • Concentrate on academic performance.
  • Develop good study habits.
  • Budget time between academics, baseball & social life.
  • Take classes from your school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses.
  • Play multiple sports to develop the athleticism required for college baseball and softball.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol & choose friends wisely.
  • Avoid problems with police, coaches, teachers, umpires & teammates.
  • Stay involved in volunteer & extracurricular activities.
  • Save & organize all awards and media articles to create an academic & athletic resume for college coaches.
  • Video all games to create a skill & highlight video for college coaches.
  • Save & organize all materials received from college coaches.
  • Contact baseball coaches at multiple programs to determine playing opportunities.

9TH GRADE (Freshman Year)

FALL

  • College baseball scholarship planning begins on 1st day of freshmen year.
  • Student-athlete & family should meet with high school coach & guidance counselor to assess academic progress towards NCAA eligibility.
  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Write attainable athletic & academic goals for season & year.
  • Play fall baseball.

WINTER  

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Attend winter work-outs to prepare for high school team tryouts.
  • Locate indoor baseball facility if not living in warm weather state.
  • Attend holiday baseball camp at preferred college. 
  • Send initial contact letter to preferred college baseball programs.
  •  Student-athlete & family allowed to visit preferred colleges at own expense.

 SPRING

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working hard in classroom.
  • Play high school baseball.
  •  Continue practicing baseball skills until summer league if cut from high school team.
  • Video games and edit skill & highlight video for college coaches.
  • Asses athletic & academic goal progress following school year.

SUMMER

  • Schedule evaluations with training coaches and scouts to identify mechanical problems & help determine appropriate college baseball division level.
  • Play in most competitive baseball summer league available.
  • Video games & edit skill / highlight video for college coaches.
  • Attend college baseball camp at preferred college.
  •  Send contact letters to college baseball coaches.
  • Include fall baseball schedule & reference letter from summer league or high school coach.

10TH GRADE (Sophmore Year)

FALL

  •  Student-athlete & family should meet with high school coach & guidance counselor to assess academic progress towards NCAA eligibility.
  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Write attainable athletic & academic goals for season & year.
  • Play fall baseball.
  • Meet with high school guidance counselor to maintain academic progress for NCAA eligibility.

WINTER

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Attend winter workouts to prepare for high school team tryouts.
  • Locate indoor baseball facility if not living in warm weather state.
  • Attend holiday baseball camp at preferred college.
  •  Student-athlete & family allowed to visit preferred colleges at own expense.
  • Send follow up letters & spring schedule to college coaches.

SPRING

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working hard in classroom.
  • Play high school baseball.
  •  Continue practicing baseball skills until summer league if cut from high school team.
  • Video games & edit skill & highlight video for college coaches.
  • Asses athletic & academic goal progress following school year.

SUMMER

  • Schedule evaluations with training coaches and scouts to identify mechanical problems & help determine appropriate college baseball division level.
  • Graduate on schedule.
  • Attend summer school sessions to catch up if behind schedule.
  • Play in most competitive, baseball summer league available.
  • Video games & edit skill / highlight video for college coaches.
  • Attend college baseball camp at preferred college.
  •  Attend local professional baseball try-out camp.
  •  Attend national showcase event.
  •  Send contact letter & fall schedule to college baseball coaches.

11th GRADE (Junior Year)

FALL

  •  Student-athlete & family should meet with high school coach & guidance counselor to assess academic progress towards NCAA eligibility.
  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Register for ACT & SAT standardized tests.
  • Select fall test date to avoid conflicting dates during high school season.
  • Register with NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Write measurable, attainable athletic & academic goals for season & year.
  • Play fall baseball.
  • Send contact letter & updated fall schedule to college baseball coaches.

WINTER

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Attend winter workouts to prepare for high school team tryouts.
  • Locate indoor baseball facility if not living in warm weather state.
  • Attend holiday baseball camp at preferred college.
  •  Student-athlete & family allowed to schedule unofficial visits to preferred colleges at own expense.
  • Research NCAA admission & eligibility requirements.
  • Send follow-up letter & spring schedule to college coaches.
  • Take un-official visits to preferred colleges.

SPRING

  •  Student-athlete & family should meet with high school coach & guidance counselor to assess academic progress towards NCAA eligibility.
  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Play high school baseball.
  • Video games & edit skill / highlight video for college coaches.
  • At completion of 11th grade, guidance counselor should mail official transcript to NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Assess athletic & academic goal progress following school year.
  • Make un-official visits to preferred colleges, paid by family.
  • Contact summer showcase directors.

SUMMER (Summer between junior & senior year is CRITICAL)

  • Schedule evaluations with training coaches and scouts to identify mechanical problems & help determine appropriate college baseball division level.
  •  Register with NCAA Eligibilty Center by July 1st after junior year to be eligible for official recruiting visits & qualify for Division I or II baseball scholarship. 
  •  Graduate on schedule.
  • Attend summer school sessions to catch up if behind schedule.
  • Play in most competitive summer league available.
  • Video games & edit skill / highlight-video for college coaches .
  • Attend college baseball camp at preferred college.
  • Attend local professional baseball try-out camp.   
  •  Attend national showcase event.   
  • Send additional contact letter & updated fall schedule to college baseball coaches.
  •  Prepare list of questions for college coaches, who are permitted to call after July 1 of junior year.

12th GRADE (Senior Year)

  •  Take college prep courses.
  • Narrow down preferred school list.
  • Plan to take official visits (5 allowed) when offered by college coaches.
  • Official visits permitted after 1st day of class of senior year.
  •  Student-athlete & family should assess financial costs for college.
  •  Apply for Financial Aid.
  •  Request official transcript, GPA, & class rank from guidance counselor.
  • Complete applications & write essays early to allow time for editing & mailing before deadlines

 FALL

  •  Student-athlete & family should meet with high school coach & guidance counselor to assess academic progress towards graduation & NCAA Eligibility.
  • Write attainable, athletic & academic goals for season & year.
  • Re-take SAT / ACT tests if necessary. NCAA uses best score from each section to determine cumulative score.
  • Complete Amateurism Questionnaire at NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Play fall baseball with team or friends.
  • Send additional contact letters to preferred college coaches.
  • Include updated fall schedule & reference letter from summer league or high school coach.
  • Make unofficial visits to preferred colleges, paid by family.
  • Early Signing Period during November of senior year.
  • Begin unofficial visits to preferred colleges, paid by family.

WINTER

  • Take classes that match school’s approved core courses & continue working in classroom.
  • Attend winter workouts to prepare for high school team tryouts.
  • Locate indoor baseball facility if not living in warm weather state.
  • Attend holiday baseball camp at preferred college.
  • Send follow-up letters to college coaches. (Include spring schedule).
  • Make un-official visits to preferred colleges, paid by family.

SPRING

  • Play high school baseball.
  • Send mid-season follow-up letters to college coaches.
  • Send post-season follow-up letters to college coaches
  • Video games & edit skill / highlight video for college coaches.
  • After graduation, ask guidance counselor to send final transcript & proof of graduation to selected college coaches & NCAA Eligibility Center.

SUMMER  (No Contact from College Coaches)

  • Do not become frustrated. Most high school baseball players are in same boat.
  • Remember that only elite players are receiving offers from top D1 programs.
  • Schedule evaluations with training coaches and scouts to identify mechanical problems & help determine appropriate college baseball division level.
  • Play in most competitive summer league available.
  • After MLB June draft, college coaches fill roster spots created by juniors & recruits that sign professional contracts.
  • Create new college list & be pro-active & contact schools via letter & phone call.
  • Ask high school coach, summer coach, or professional scout to recommend college programs that would be good fit.
  • Focus search on lower division colleges & JUCO programs close to home.
  • Contact coaches on list to gauge interest level.
  • If no interest, ask coach to recommend schools.