5 Reasons I didn’t Play Collegiate Baseball
Growing up I was the most baseball obsessed kid you would ever meet. I wore a baseball hat to school, Mariners t-shirts everywhere, and even had a rat tail so my hair looked like my favorite MLB player, Randy Johnson (not one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I admit).
I was enthralled by the game and everything about it. I would score games while watching them on TV. My grandparents and I would mute the television and put on the radio so we could listen to Hall of Fame broadcaster, Dave Niehaus while watching. I practiced everyday as a little kid and would try to get pickup games started at the elementary school down the street.
When I was 11, I was the first 11 year-old chosen to be on the 11–12 year-old All-Star team in a decade. It seemed to me that if I kept on course, everything would be fine and I’d be in the bigs in no time. I played select ball the next two years and started getting private hitting lessons.
In eighth grade I move to Virginia Beach and things began to change. I failed to make the Jr. High team and played in a rec league rather than on a select team. I took zero private lessons and would “practice” but never get better. I was confusing being busy with being productive. I practiced without purpose - there should always be a purpose in what you do.
I didn’t lift, I didn’t throw, and I didn’t hit everyday. That is what it takes to be a collegiate athlete — working on your craft everyday.
High school was more of the same. Even though I was back in Seattle, I didn’t continue to play year round and my competition got better, while I plateaued. When I failed to grow much taller, I used it as an excuse but still truly thought great things would happen to me. I didn’t lift, I didn’t throw, and I didn’t hit everyday. That is what it takes to be a collegiate athlete — working on your craft everyday. Just because you love baseball doesn’t mean you automatically deserve the right to play it at the next level.
1) I didn’t take opportunities & thought I was better than I was
After high school I had multiple junior colleges I could have played for but I still felt I was better than them. I let opportunity after opportunity pass me by. I took criticisms from college coaches as personal attacks and instead of putting in the work and changing their minds about me, I quit trying.
2) I Didn’t Lift and I Didn’t Eat
“Do you even lift?!” No, I didn’t. The fact is, to play at the next level whether that be a junior or Division 1 college, you have to lift. Not only lift, but eat. You have to build mass, strength, flexibility, and speed. You can only gain these things by working out, eating right, eating enough, running, and stretching every damn day. Let me say it again: EVERY DAMN DAY! You can have all the ability and talent in the world, but the ones who really make it put in the work, in the right ways. They always train with purpose towards their end goals.
3) I stopped learning about the game
I’d studied, watched, and played the game my entire life - why did I have to keep learning? The answer? The game has more ins and outs than you think. The best way to play the game evolves over time. People, technology, and data dissect the game so that you can be more efficient and compete at a level you didn’t know you were capable of. The worst athletes and coaches are the ones who confuse experience with competence. Never stop learning. Be open to new ways of playing, learning, and teaching that make sense. Don’t just change random shit because you saw it on YouTube — research it, talk about it with coaches you respect, and track the results. Most of the time the best methods end up making the most sense, there’s no need to over-complicate things. Today I study the game and business daily. I’m a sponge absorbing as much information and knowledge as I can, so I can win.
4) I didn’t want it bad enough
To play baseball at the next level means you have to want it. Not just saying it out loud, but wanting it so bad that you don’t take days off. So bad that you picture yourself on the field every night before bed. So bad that your life revolves around it and you give up stupid shit that won’t matter 1 or 5 years from now. So bad that you picture your goal, and your path to get there.
5) I didn’t take my path
I was 5' 6" as a sophomore in high school weighing in a at swole 130lbs. With an average-to-below-average bat, plus speed, and a weak arm, I was on no one’s radar. I could have worked to become a master of my craft; lifted, developed more speed, and been a great hitter. Then I could’ve gone to a JR college, built an athletic body, and transferred to a D2 or D3 school. That was my path, that was my road to playing baseball at the highest level possible. But I wanted the storybook Division 1 path. I wanted to play at Arizona State or Texas, then get drafted, and go play in the bigs. That wasn’t ever an option for me, and I completely missed my path. Not by conscious choice, but by pure blindness, cockiness, and lack of self-awareness.
Understanding your path, and the work that it takes to get to where you want to be, is key to achieving any goal. Not everyone has the same path but everyone has to have the self awareness and humility to embrace the fact that your path may be a bit harder, and uglier than the person’s next to you.
The worst feeling in life is regret. Knowing you didn’t give everything you had to make something you’ve always wanted a reality is an awful feeling. Please learn from my mistakes, and if you want to play college baseball you have to know your path and take it, even if it isn’t the one you would have chosen. I have to live with the fact that I didn’t put everything I had into my baseball career and I’ll never know how good I could have been. But now it’s my job to help athletes realize what it takes to achieve their goals. Take opportunities when they come your way, lift & eat, keep learning, want it bad, and know your path.