Everyone wants to play D1 baseball; only 1% of high school players will go on to play at D1 programs. Want to be part of that 1%? Below are five things that we have indicated as current D1 baseball players that can set you apart from the pack.
1. Staying Even Keel
Everybody knows that kid growing up who slams his helmet when he gets out and no matter how the team is doing he is upset if he isn’t playing well. This type of selfishness doesn’t work at the Division 1 level. Besides your parents and some of your close friends, no one is concerned with the type of game you have, scouts and D1 coaches want winners that stay even keel no matter the situation. I’ve seen guys who were drafted lower then they were projected or not get drafted at all because they can’t keep their composure when it hits the fan. In D1 baseball you will fail and coaches and recruiters will know that. So if you want to play at that level, you have to figure out how to be that guy that doesn’t let things spiral out of control after an 0-4 game. Be a gamer and try to be the same guy day in and day out.
2. Physicality/ Looking the Part
In Junior College I was putting up ridiculous numbers. When I would ask the scouts what I was doing wrong and why I hadn’t been drafted, they all said that I needed to put on 20-25 pounds. Size not only tells D1 and pro scouts that you are strong, but it also tells them that you will be durable down the stretch. Don’t let size be the reason you don’t go D1. Don’t say “I can’t put on weight,” I don’t know how many guys (including myself) that said that over their career but are now 200 pounds. Watch the D1 players on TV, if they are 20-30 pounds heavier than you then you need to step up physically and it can be done.
Obviously this will vary depending on your height, but this is a general weight and body fat percentage that D1 players play at for each position.
Corner INF 200lb-2351b 12-15%
MIF 180lb-195lb 8-11%
Speed OF 180lb-195lb 7-10%
Power OF 200lb-225lb 12-15%
Catcher 205lb-230lb 12-15%
Pitchers Finesse Arm 180lb-205lb 10-13%
Pitchers Power Arm 200lb-230lb 13-17%
3. Play to Your Strengths
If you are reading this article, then you have expectations of playing D1 baseball. If you think that you can get to that level, then you are doing something right. You are probably playing well and are one of the best guys on your high school or club team. To play at the D1 level you will have to play to your strengths. Be realistic about the type of player you are and don’t deviate from you strengths. Think about what your strengths and your weaknesses are; play to your strengths and hide your weaknesses. If your a guy who can really run then work at bats, get on base, and steal bags. Also, teach yourself to bunt. D1 coaches love a fast guy that can drag; it will boost your average. If you are a power guy, look to strike out less and get your pitch. When you get it, let it eat. If you are good with the glove, don’t big league your ground balls between innings. D1 coaches are always watching and that could be your one chance to show how good you are with the glove.
4. Be a Student of the Game
This is one of the best ways to develop what we call in D1 baseball “feel.” You can learn a lot from watching baseball. Find your guy on youtube that is at your position or is a similar hitter as your and model your game after them. Watch your teammates at bats and learn what the pitcher is doing; pick up patterns. Guys think they have four at bats per game, But they actually 30+ at bats if they are watching while their buddies are hitting. You can learn a lot from watching the guys in front of you and finding tendencies. If you can pick up on pitchers tendencies you will steal more bags, you’ll put up better numbers at the plate, and you will stay locked in while other guys are losing focus and giving away at bats.
5. Surround Yourself with The Right People
The best way to make good friends in baseball is being a good teammate. Surrounding yourself with good friends that share the same passion for the game will help you through the ups and downs of baseball. Have a good lifting partner that will encourage you to get better and stronger in the weight room. Have a buddy you can go and hit with if you want to work on your swing. Have a good throwing partner that takes a simple thing such as playing catch seriously. If you are reading this article you are likely a in the top of your lineup. Surround yourself with the guys hitting around; this will keep you comfortable during games. Develop accountability partners that will keep you from spiraling out of control. Surrounding yourself with good people is the best way to better yourself while still having fun at the yard. It won’t be the hits or the home runs that you remember, it will be the people and the relationships you made along the way.
Author: Anonymous 1 and 2 (for NCAA reasons)
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