American Baseball Camps — 5 Things You Must Do To Play Division 1 Baseball

Apr 19, 2019 by Nick Rotola CEO of American Baseball Camps in  baseball camps Baseball Showcase D1 Baseball Prospect Camps Youth Baseball Advice
5 Things You Must Do To Play Division 1 Baseball

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. To learn much more about this topic check out our At Home Baseball Program.

 

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 your 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. A lot of guys like reading books on baseball. We compiled the best of the books we’ve read and put it in this guide: At Home Baseball Program.

It’s important to 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.

 

Authors: Anonymous 1 and 2 (for NCAA reasons)

 

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Why do we do what we do? With 72% of youth baseball players quitting by age 13 – American Baseball Camps came on to the scene in 2015 to help young players fall in love with the game and to “get better & gain confidence.” We do this with baseball camps all over the US including but not limited to: baseball camps in Benbrook Texas, baseball camps in Oklahoma City/Choctaw Oklahoma, baseball camps in Citrus Heights California, baseball camps in Hackensack New Jersey, baseball camps in Kansas City Missouri, baseball camps in Kissimmee Florida, baseball camps in Norton Massachusetts, baseball camps in Peachtree City Georgia, baseball camps in St Louis Missouri, baseball camps in Topeka Kansas, baseball camps in Tulsa Oklahoma, baseball camps in West Covina California, baseball camps in Wichita Kansas, baseball camps in Phoenix Arizona, baseball camps in Milwaukee Wisconsin, baseball camps in Columbia South Carolina.




Dear Baseball Parents: 3 Step Guide To A Great Car Ride Home

Feb 06, 2020

A 3 Step Guide To A Great Car Ride Home

Parents, do you ever feel as if you are stuck on what to say to your child after a long day on the field? Now, normally on the good days, where your child has a few hits and played well the conversation might seem easy.

A quick, “Good Game”, or “Wow, way to play today!” In hopes that your son or daughter will take over the conversation with how they felt, or the play-by-play from their perspective of being on the field.

Well with all good things, comes the bad, and in those times, do you feel as if you freeze up?

Or do you feel as if the awkward silence has weight within the room, and you are finding any way to make it less stressful?

Being a college athlete, I have endured countless car rides home, some of them being my parents and I interrupting each other in excitement over the unbelievable plays made in the game and some of them being dead silent.

 Though there were the bad days where no one knew what to say, not even me, those were the days that helped shaped me into the player and man I am today. 

Parents, here are some helpful hints and insight into the ways to effectively communicate through the good and bad days your child will go through when playing this game.

 

Hint #1: BE SUPPORTIVE 

No matter what kind of day your child is having, be there. Tell them how the game personally made you feel like a supporting figure, but then after, LISTEN.

For several years in my life, I believe I felt like I held my true opinions internally on the game until I was alone and could express myself. This was not healthy, as I was bottling up my emotions, rather than expressing them.

Parents, please, let your children who are passionate about their sport(s) express themselves, they need to get the emotions out and in the open in order to best cope and move forward.

Just like us adults, when we hold things in, rather than expressing them it negatively impacts our emotional aura.

Children experience this as well when playing sports, so rather than sitting in the car in silence, even if it was a tough day at the field, make sure you show support and engage in getting your children to express how they are feeling after each game, proving your true support, as well as helping them move forward.

When children see you care for their feelings, and you give them the opportunity to express themselves, it shows them how much you truly care, and are there for them as a true support system in their life both as an athlete, and an individual in this world.

 Hint #2: Communicate WITH your Child, Rather than TO Him 

Being an athlete you put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to succeed. In the game of baseball, you see as each player goes through an emotional rollercoaster throughout each game based on the different outcomes and circumstances that come within a baseball game.

Being that athletes apply so much pressure to themselves when we are faced with failure, on numerous accounts our first reaction is to be upset with ourselves for not being successful.

What this does over time is break us down, and then what we need most after is for the people we love most to adapt with us and feel as we do base on the outcomes of the current game.

Take this, for example, your son/daughter has the game of his life, goes 4-4 with a walk-off home run, the success and emotions he will feel this day will normally be much different than the day he happens to go 0-4 with 2 strike-outs.

What we tend not to realize is the significance of what they were truly feeling in those moments. Rather than saying “Today was just a tough day”, or “You tried your best”, try encouraging them by asking what they were feeling that specific day. Or, ask them what they felt did not work one day, compared to the day they were successful.

Questions that make the athlete reflect on their current states within the game will positively lead to them reflecting, and working towards better execution in the future.

Allowing your children to learn from their mistakes is a normal want for most parents, so applying the same core values to the sport they love, will show them you are there for them, rather than just there to watch.

Work with your child on coming to resolve or a solution to work for come the next time he/she touches the diamond.

Referring to the emotional side of baseball, rather than just the physical demand that comes with playing this sport will give your child insight into the larger aspect of this game.

That being, that the majority of true-life lessons you learn can be easily implemented to the game of baseball, thus making them realize in the end that we truly are still just ‘playing a game’.

Paying attention to how your child is feeling within, and effectively getting he/her to communicate it with you will lead to healthier coping remedies come the next time they feel this way, either after another game or after a life event.

Communication is key, and doing so with your child, rather than directing comments at him will better lead to fluent and healthy conversation in the car ride home from both good and bad performances.

Adjust your topics, to the things your athlete has been feeling or is expressing with you, in order to give off the most effective and efficient communication to your child.

Being an athlete is not easy, but having a support system, and someone to turn to effectively communicate when you need too is detrimental in the overall success of any athlete and person in this world.

 Hint #3: Explain the Bigger Picture 

 Being an athlete myself, it took me a long time to see the relevance, and the overall outcomes you learn from playing the game of baseball.

There are countless life lessons I am going to take away from this game, that I never truly realized at a young age.

These lessons are something I believe children need to learn to not only see but also act upon starting at a much younger age.

Learning when to be effectively aggressive, as well as learning to control your breathing in order to better control yourself in each situation is something I wish I would have understood earlier, and it is something I believe parents can show and explain to their kids based on what each child felt and expresses to you after a game.

 These moments that we as baseball players express as, “Oh I just missed that, next time I have to be ready just a little sooner” or, “Man, I didn’t expect that base-runner to do that, next time I will learn and expect them to attempt to score on the same opportunity”.

These sayings, the little things that lead to us making adjustments are things adults do every day. Whether that be, planning to leave for work a few minutes earlier on a Monday, due to traffic being a little worse than normal, or you have to accommodate to an unexpected meeting within the workplace.

These adjustments on our toes, and learning to work with them rather than making excuses to be defeated by them are things your children will one day face.

So, simply explain that to them, use their examples to better them for the world outside the white-lines, as well as within them, this way come other challenges they face, or competition that arises within their life, they will be better prepared to work to become successful.

As much as we who endure in this game love it, there is more to life and we ALL know that. But, as a child I remember thinking there was nothing more important than finding a way to win a game, the thing is that mentality should go hand-in-hand with the mentality we as athletes have outside the field as well.

As parents, make sure you express the fact that there is more to life and that these things your athlete is experiencing are things that will come up over and over again within their life, and it takes the ability of continuously making adjustments in order to best accommodate to each situation we face.

This game comes with so many highs, and lows. So many emotions and feelings that are hard to explain in words at times.

But athletes need a support system, one that is there to communicate with you and help you understand the emotions you are feeling. The life lessons and experiences that come with the game are ones that need to be remembered, and if effectively communicated and reviewed, can be detrimental in further success in life.

The car ride home from games has never been an easy task, yet I hope these hints make it a bit more impactful and beneficial for the family as a whole.

 

A College Players’ View Of The Mental Game Of Baseball

Nov 07, 2019

 

“BASEBALL IS 90% MENTAL AND THE REST IS PHYSICAL!” – Yogi Berra

 

These wise words from the great Yogi Berra are trying to explain that the game we all know and love is mainly mental. Yes, you play the game with your body as in swinging the bat and throwing the ball. Meanwhile, the mental aspect is that you have to make the right decisions each and every play.

Baseball is a game of unconsciousness, this is the reason so much effort is accounted for within the little things. If you focus on the little things, you will find that making the unconscious decision is much easier.

In Baseball, being confident is very important. Confidence stretches further than being competitive, you have to believe that you are the best player on the field day in and day out.

As a pitcher or hitter, you must have self-confidence in order to fail less, and succeed more.

Another key part to the mental game of baseball is Imagery.

This usually means visualization, but if you use Sensory Imagery, your visualization skills will become more
powerful.



A good simple equation for this is

I x V = R (Imagery times Visualization equals reality).

This equation is basically saying that if you take a memory or vivid image and relive it, you will get real results.

For example hitting your first home run or throwing a no hitter, if you relive these memories and apply that feeling to what you are doing, you will become more successful.

Another good mental note to take and use in baseball is being aggressive.

Coaches may sometimes say “close the door”, “bury them”, this means go out there and don’t actually bury them 6 feet underground, but end the game pitch and hit with aggression so there is no chance of them coming back and winning the game.




Pregame Routine Of A Professional Pitcher

Oct 12, 2020

-Assuming a 6pm start time, arrive at the field at 4:45. At 5:00 head out to the outfield to stretch

 

Lower body Routine: 10 mins

 

  1. Jog from foul pole to foul pole
  2. 15 yard sets of the following: high knees, butt kicks, side shuffles, karaoke, skips for height, Frankenstein kicks, forward lunges, and side lunges
  3. 5, 90 feet sprints. Build up intensity with each sprint.

 

Upper body: 10 mins

 

  1. Jaeger band stretching
  2. Spine twists and lower back stretches (Cobra Stretch)
  3. Flat back arm swings (Bend over so back is parallel with ground and swing arms up and down so fingertips touch the turf)
  4.  Huggers (Stand up straight and swing arms around your body in a hugging motion)

 

Throwing: 15 mins

 

  1. 10 throws from 30 feet nice and loose. See the ball spin out of the hand. Looking for perfect back spin. No cut spin.
  2. 10 throws from 60 feet in the rock-forward-rock-back stance (Spread legs father than shoulder width, rock into front leg, rock into back leg, then push off loaded back leg and throw to your target)
  3. 10 throws from 90 with the step behind stance. Good Rhythm. Be athletic. Bouncing around.
  4. 10 throws from 120. Long toss throws with crow-hop. Start with an arc on the throws and with each throw we get the angle lower and lower with the last throw being a straight line.
  5. Bring it into 60 feet again for the final 10 throws. 3 FBs, 3 change ups, 3 curveballs, 1 FB. (Throw all your pitches before you enter the bullpen, feel what is working and what is not)
  6. Final step is practice 2 throws to each base. So your throwing partner is going to be your base. Angle your body so that you pretend to field a ground ball and then throw to your partner as if he is the first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and catcher. If you plan on picking off also practice two pickoff throws to each relevant base. We do not want our first throws to a base to be in the game.

 

Pregame Routine Of A Professional Pitcher

Bullpen: 25 pitches. To be thrown 15-20 mins before the game starts

 

  1. (For ages 14 and up) Start by throwing a weighted baseball (7-10 ounces) to your catcher from 30 feet. 5-10 times. Work on hitting catcher in the chest and making the arm move quickly

 

  1. Windup: 10-15 Pitches

 

  1. Stretch: 10-15 Pitches

 

-Note: Sequence for both windup and stretch is 3 Fastballs, 2 Changeups, 2 Curveballs, 3 Fastballs.

 

-Note: Execute each pitch. If you don’t like it, throw the pitch again until you feel comfortable with it.

 

  1. Final 5 pitches are designated for a simulated batter. Have the catcher call pitches and you execute pitches. (Practice like this is the first batter of the game)

 

  1. Last throw: Always end on a Fastball. Simulate the first pitch of the game.

 

-Leave yourself 5 mins between bullpen and game to rest and lock in mentally.

 

-Velocity comes from the legs not the arm. A strong front side and a powerful back leg will keep the ball down in the zone. Never think about your throwing arm. Keep it loose and relaxed.

 

This blog was written by current Professional Pitcher Mike Castellani. Mike excelled in the classroom and on the field at Bucknell University where he was their Ace. The left-hander then went on to pitch in the Frontier League where he is the Ace of his staff. Mike has written for American Baseball Camps in the past and is the author of our Pitching Video Evaluations. He also is a contributing author in our book: At Home Baseball Development Program

3 Comments

Jayden

Love this, thanks for all the information

Jayden LaFleur

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