Choosing the right college for your son to play baseball at can be an overwhelming experience. With the large social media presence, there is an increased pressure to commit early and let everyone know about it. Listed in this article are four things that are important to consider when making a decision about choosing a college.
Obvious… right? Not as much as you think. Kids want to go to school to play baseball. Very few have the vision of knowing what they want to major in, or what direction they want to go. I know for me, it was to play in the major leagues. Until reality hits you in the face and real life sets in. Have a conversation with your child about some things they might want to do outside of baseball as a career. One way or another their baseball career will end. It could be today, tomorrow, or ten years from now. If they choose a school for baseball, and they don’t have any relevant majors for him, you’re going to end up going through the whole process again to find another school.
Some students can handle being an Identification Number in a Freshman lecture hall of 300 students. Then there are the ones who can’t. Your son may have all the baseball talent in the world, but you have to remember that they are a student first and an athlete second. If they can’t hack it in the classroom, they won’t see the field. Plus, no coach wants an academic liability. They recruited your son to help the team win games, not be ineligible. If your child is someone who needs smaller class sizes to succeed, start to look at schools that offer this. If a large school is still in your sights, make sure there is enough support for them to succeed outside of the classroom. Ask about tutoring, and academic support groups your son can attend.
As previously stated, there is a large buzz around “committing” to a school. I have seen too often athletes chose a school for their “bright lights’ name. Make sure you chose a school that you can say you played baseball at. Not a school that you say, “Yeah, I was on the team.” If you want to get better, and even have a chance to get drafted, you have to play. Scope out the roster and see who they are graduating. Is your son’s position housed by a Freshman stud who got First Team All American? If so, you might want to look elsewhere.
This goes along with seeing what the roster is like. When you sit down and meet with a college coach for the first time, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. You have to see if this is someone you think can better your life for 2-4 years. Some players can’t handle a coach that is a disciplinary with a closed door policy. Some players need a player’s coach who cares just as much about relationships as they do wins and losses. This can be a difficult process though. When you go to a school you are going to see the best version of the coach. They want you, and they are selling you on their product. Make sure you really pay attention to the things they say. If they are brutally honest and tell you flat out some things that you're not use to hearing, that might not be a bad thing. Having a coach that is a straight shooter is going to make you a better person in the long run.
These are just a few things to consider when narrowing down schools for your son to attend. Remember that baseball is a platform for life. The things that are learned while being apart of a team are going to teach your child intangible lessons that will make them strong minded, successful people. If they happen to be good enough to ink a pro contact some day, than that is an added bonus. However, have a plan for every outcome.
Yours in Baseball,
Coach Anthony Anzalone