15 Tips for Making it as a College Baseball Pitcher

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college baseball pitcher

As the Omaha Bracket is now set, many high school players dream about themselves being on the big stage in the next few years. Being a college baseball pitcher is often an adjustment period for freshman starting their college careers in the fall. Let’s look at the things that go on in order to get to the promised land in college baseball. Here are 15 tips for making it as a college baseball pitcher.

1. All About Winning

college baseball pitcher

First and foremost, college baseball is about winning! Baseball is now a business.  The head coach’s job status and livelihood depend on one stat….WINS.  So you will see a side of a head coach which you have never experienced up to this point before.  The players who have the most playing time understand this attribute and produce to back it up.  

 

2. You are Now an Individual

You are over 18. Legally you are now considered an adult. Therefore, you are expected to carry yourself as such moving forward.. Excuses are not welcomed.  As for being a member of a college baseball team, your teammates are now who you will spend the most of your time with every day.  Living together, meals together, practice together, work outs together, hanging out together, partying together.  This is the nature of the sport.  More often than it should be, players in the middle of the pack get caught up in this shuffle, and lose their personal identity as a ballplayer.  Always remember, that baseball is a team game, played by individuals.  Your playing time is now based off of how well you execute your job when called.

 

3. Scholarship & Walk On Players Alike are Property of the Team

If you are on a college team, when the team calls a meeting, or a practice, no matter when it is, you have to be there.  You only viable excuse is I have Class.  It is a privilege to be a college athlete, therefore you are not a typical college student.  Because you are property of the team, it is important to understand the differences in perks between scholarship player and a walk on.  

Scholarship players are first in line for many concepts. Uniforms and accessories, meal money, getting a hotel bed on the road trips.  Along with getting more instruction/reps in practice.  The team has finances invested in scholarship players, so the coaching staff wants the results they have envisioned when the player signed his letter of intent.  college baseball pitcher

Walk ons do not have an easy road.  Aside from being put on the back burner with the benefits just mentioned, you truly have to stand out in your opportunities.  Opportunities to prove yourself will be given in the fall.  This is the evaluating period of the season.  The coaching staff makes a lot of decisions in September and October going into the season. Walk ons do have the possibility to eventually earn a scholarship.  However, not all walk ons are equal.  In regards to winning, coaches are always open to a new player who can help them win.  

 

college baseball pitcher

4. Inter Squads are the Time to Dominate

college baseball pitcher

Referring to opportunities to prove yourself, inter squads are very regular in college baseball.  In both fall and spring.  Understand that you practice to play the game. The college baseball season allows 56 games.  If you go deep into the postseason, it may be over 70 games.  Inter squads are the first way to prove yourself as a college baseball pitcher.  Use them to get better, and get more comfortable on the mound.  Pitching versus competition is the best provider of feedback that baseball offers.  You see where you need to improve very quickly.  Plus, don’t be afraid to keep a hitter’s ego in check. Dominating your hitters is the quickest way to earn the respect of your teammates.

 

5.  Egos are Vastly Abundant

In order to make it in this game, you have to have self confidence and a tenacious attitude.  It’s a driving force to be the best.  It’s just the way it goes. However, you will run into some players who love to talk about how great they are.  And also let you know who you are not better than them.  If they slack off in practice and have a string of bad games, they then become perplexed as to why nothing is working.   These guys are no fun to be around.   They tend to make excuses when things don’t go there way, then return to patting themselves on the back once something goes their way…..ignoring that their ERA is hovering around the conversion rate of a much weaker world currency.   

Baseball is a very humbling game…you will hear the immortals in Cooperstown express that wisdom first hand. So why would a no name college baseball player be above that?  Answer: INSECURITY

You will find upperclassman on the team who go about their business the right way and put up the big numbers, all while understanding that they are just 1 spoke in the wheel to help the team win.  These are the team leaders. They are the bridge to the coaching staff, and have successful adult lives after baseball.  As a wide eyed freshman, cling on to these leaders.  See how they handle themselves, pick up on their work ethic, and be a sponge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just don’t annoy them too much.

 

6.  Sadly Cliques Didn’t End in High School

Cliques do occur in college baseball.  You have the party cliques who do not prioritize the game as much as the rest of the team.  For some reason, this group never gets chastised enough from the more clear minded teammates. Lacking of comprehension that the Machismo of the Night does not correlate to jaw dropping stats between the lines. Naturally, some brain cells are missing.  As playing time and trust from the coaching staff and teammates decline, the mindset of the partier shifts to,

Well I can party harder than you….

Thats Great, I just took your spot  

Members of this group tend to make for several disruptions throughout the season.   

Next there is the weight room clique.  These guys are not so much dividing the team chemistry, they just get really addicted to lifting weights.  When they see big gains for the first time in their lives in college, they are addicted. They begin to lift too heavy and not specific to baseball. This does affect their performance on the field.  

Check out my biceps Yo…

….Look at your ERA Bro!

Then you have the Lazy/Bitter/Entitled Clique.  Excuses Unlimited. These are the ones who never play.  Not even sure why they still have a roster spot.  They may have played at one point, however, the game caught up to them, they couldn’t handle the adversity that comes with baseball, or they just need a diversion from the acceptance that they are simply not good enough.  Now this group is a cancer.  Relying on hope while clinging together, in secret, wishing for certain teammates to fail. Thinking that this is how they will get their job back.  They are manipulative, don’t want to work hard, and never go the extra mile for the team, or themselves.  These bottom feeders know how to milk the conditioning and have a good laugh about it.  

I am not doing that…  

Have fun never getting out of the bullpen

As a result, since misery loves company, they are always looking for new recruits.  Stay away from their tactics, and don’t be afraid to tell them what you think of them.  You will instantly earn acceptance from your right minded teammates and coaches in doing so.

 

7.  Good Morning 6 AM

college baseball pitcher

Plain and simple, you will learn how far your body can be pushed at 6 am…and then pushed some more!  Baseball activity in winter time, before sunrise, may be something completely foreign to you.  We all know the amount of focus required to play this game, let alone, have a catch without getting anyone hurt.  Add this into a group setting and your coach who is not showing any signs of that he hit the snooze button, and this a called a life adjustment. Whether you are an early bird or not, this is when you get your work in.  

This may be the only time an indoor facility is available on your campus, or possible a dynamic ploy by your coach to thin the heard of the cliques mentioned above.  Have your mind set that this is your GO TIME is for baseball each day, and plan your events and rest around it.   So when you hear the coach yell,

EVERYONE ON THE LINE!!!!!  

You embrace it!
The best players answer the bell every time it rings.
Don’t let it toll for thee…

2 Tips for 6 AM Practice:

 – Don’t Be Late!!!!
(Do NOT Even Think About Testing the Waters on this One!)

 – Don’t skip class and go back to bed after practice

 

8.  Begin to Develop Your Routine

Developing a consistent routine and sticking to it is one of the simplest ways to improve.  Once you realize what you need to do each day to be prepared to play, and how to go do it, success is more likely to follow.  Routines come from testing and tweaking, along with knowing your value and your role on the team.  Routines become extra efficient when you have a teammate that joins you in the preparation process.  Undoubtedly, you will have the team routine, the stretching and dynamic warm up, etc.  The rest that has to be done is on an individual basis.  Properly executing the routine may require showing up a few minutes earlier….and good coaches love that!

college baseball pitcher

9.  Life as a Pitcher

college baseball pitcher

Transitioning to being a Pitcher Only in college is often times a difficult adjustment.  As in high school, you played other positions and did everything in practice.  So get used to no longer taking batting practice.  Don’t hang around the cage.  You will realize very quickly that you are unwelcome.  Next, familiarize yourself with the Hurry Up and Wait Mentality.  It’s annoying, yet vital to grasp the concept.  Therefore, make it a point every day to get in your 3 necessities as a college baseball pitcher. Throwing, Running, and Strength Conditioning.  In the team concept of practice, you will have PFP’s, Backing Up Bases, being publicly embarrassed during a 1st & 3rd drills, hitting fungos, shagging, and more running.   

If you have picked up on the theme here, pitchers run a lot.  Much is done to build endurance to enhance performance on the mound.  No arguments there.  The other reasons for running are to keep you busy, stay out of the hitters’ way, kill some time, or plain and simple, coaches who can’t teach, make their pitchers run. Regardless of the notion, be sure to have a good pair of running shoes.  Never run poles or distances in your spikes.  Your body will hate you!

As for PFP’s and backing up bases.  They are tedious, boring, and weird at times.  Keep in mind, that when these situations come up in a game, it can be the difference between winning and losing.  It’s that simple.  So take the accountability to do them right and be efficient during the drills.

 

10. College Baseball Season Layout

1 Month of Practice in the Fall, the rest of the semester in the weight room and on the track.  Then roughly a month off for semester break over the holidays.  Practice begins in January, 1 month before your first game.  The NCAA allotment for games played is 56.  Games usually begin around the 2nd or 3rd week in February and the conference tournaments begin in May.  …and may the strong survive!  Regionals, Super Regionals, World Series!  Baseball has some pretty special benefits  in these rounds.

We will cover this topic in more detail in the next post.

11. Loyalty?

college baseball loyalty

As mentioned in the 1st point, the baseball at this level, and every level after is all about winning.  So understand that there is no loyalty in college baseball.  Sure maybe the top 5% of players have on field security.  Nevertheless, if a coach finds a player that is better, he will go with him.   

You may have earned a starting spot in the fall, and the coach assured the job was yours.  Then come January,  there is someone else there playing the same position as you who just transferred in from a big time program.  It’s a Punch in the Gut!    

Also, some players will have their scholarships taken away from not producing or clashing with the coaches. This is the underbelly of college baseball that is not seen or spoken of much.  It is very common that players in college will transfer 1 or 2 times to other programs.  Know your value as a player, and understand that you may have to take your value elsewhere.

 

12.  Watch Out for the Rabbit Holes

Coaches will put certain players through the wringer to see if they has what it takes to play on his team. These tactics are a way to determine if one has the mental strength to make the right decisions in crunch time.  Very military like.  It may seem like an awful thing to be a part of, yet rather efficient.  These procedures may be used to induce playing time based from off field maneuvering. Some coaches may need players to do the grunt work. Throwing batting practice, hitting fungoes, doing the charts, fixing things and the go get this for me guy.  

Now some of these chores are the only way a player can be on the team.  The brown nose players gladly accept these tasks, not always knowing that they are signing away their development.  Don’t fall victim to these traps. Always be alert with your head on a swivel and understand what is your main goal.  If you realize that something is not right, say something, or get out of there. The coaches are always watching to see how you react to things.  

 

13. YES!  Some teammates Will Try To Chop You Down at the Knees

college baseball pitchers

Like mentioned about the cliques, there are bottom feeders who don’t want to be shown up at practice, so they don’t look as bad sitting on the bench.  Leeches like this will try to persuade you away from doing the right thing.  They once had promise like you.  Either they wasted it away or physically their skills have already gone on the downslide.   College baseball pitcher

What is the point of doing this?  Why are you working so hard?  Come hang with us.

The Answer to all of this, I Want to WIN!!!!

Lazy/Bitter/Entitled Clique Members are jealous of hard workers and yet no one is ever jealous of them…..End of Story.

college baseball pitcher

14. Make it a Responsibility to Better Yourself

This one is short and to the point.  Once you get immersed in a program and see how it works, then you can set realistic goals for yourself.  Take the initiative to improve at every opportunity.  A solid career as a college baseball pitcher can open a lot of doors for you later.  It is never too soon to prepare for that, because you have no idea how fast the next 4 years will go!

 

15.  Close the Yearbook

uncle rico college baseball

Finally, every year, a new player will never shut his yap about how great high school was.  He will babble about all the great times and try to let everyone in on the inside jokes.  No one cares!  We all had our high school experiences also.  No one is interested.  Great, you were all league, all county, all whatever….. You are expected to earn those awards in order to play at the next level.  It’s all in the past.  The way this game goes, is that you are only as good as your next start, your next appearance. Realize that we are only as good as the next hitter your are going to face, and only as good as the next pitch that you will make.  This person is in a clique of his own, because no one wants to hear about his glory days.  Close the yearbook, you are in the process of become a Man!

 

The Complete College Baseball Pitcher

College baseball is a quite the maturing process.  It requires a lot of dedication and putting forth a great deal of effort, even when you body is saying NO!  Nonetheless, it is worth it.  When you put in the work and produce results, it comes with great rewards.  Great memories that no one can ever take away from you and great friendships that can last forever.  

In addition, you are battle tested. Baseball is an advanced stepping stone for life.  It can turbocharge your transition into the real world.  Naturally, you will easily run circles around the guy who lived next to you in college who felt that going to class was optional, and playing video games til 4 am every night was mandatory.  Plus, you will rank higher than those who took the safe route,  Thinking that going to class and doing his work was enough.  You know how to tap into your intangibles and make big things happen.

 

college baseball pitcher

Keep Dominating!!!

college baseball pitcher 

About the Author

Brad Kirsch Slider DominationBrad Kirsch is the Owner/Creator of Slider Domination.
He is a former professional pitcher who blogs about all things Pitching.
Brad has also authored the AudioBook,
7 Reasons Why YOU Should Throw a Slider.
If you haven’t done so already, you can Download the AudioBook Here

 

 

College Baseball Pitcher

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