Every baseball player goes through transitional periods in their game. Usually this involves advancing to another league where competition is stiffer, and players are older. One of the biggest transitions you can make is the journey from high school to college.
Transitioning to college baseball can seem intimidating without the proper guidance. After all, this is the highest level many players will ever achieve in their careers. Athletes are bigger, stronger, faster, and you need to be prepared. Former professional baseball player Marlon Byrd knows what goes into taking this next step. Follow along with these Pro Tips from the diamond and start your college athletic experience off right.
MAKE THE GRADES
As with any interscholastic sport, athletes need good academic standing to be eligible. “You are a student athlete. If you do not make the grades, you do not get to play,” Byrd says.
Make sure to take your studies seriously. Being talented on the diamond can be all for naught if you cannot perform in the classroom.
BONUS PRO TIP: Byrd also says academic success can give you more playing options. If you make the grades, you can potentially choose the school you want to attend, if you have the talent.
BE CONFIDENT AND REALISTIC
After you’ve gone through the baseball recruiting process and made it onto the roster, there’s some self-thought that needs to occur. You need to sit down with yourself and realize what college baseball will be like. You should understand quickly, though, that there’s little deviation from your norm.
“It’s the same game, the guys are just a little better,” Byrd says. Despite the heightened competition, you need to realize you’re still playing baseball. Once more, you’ve been recruited and scouted the same as your teammates. You’ve made it through the recruiting process and are now considered a college athlete. You deserve an equal shot at success, too.
In addition, you should also take the time to realize your place within your team’s roster. You are no longer the veteran, senior athlete but rather the freshman rookie in the clubhouse. You are starting over.
“Guys are going to be a little bit older; your juniors and seniors are going to be stronger,” Byrd says. “What you do is you have to work to get that strength.”
A great way to help get over the rookie hurdles is to reevaluate your weight training routine, according to Byrd. Getting stronger in the gym can boost your performance on the field. A bigger frame and added strength can also get you closer to matching your junior and senior teammates.
HAVE A ROUTINE
Another habit Byrd stresses to athletes making the jump from high school to college is to have an all-encompassing routine. While your high school schedule yielded positive results before, this is a new arena. You’ll have to adjust your routine to better match the college landscape.
“You’re going to have better coaches; you’re going to have better food. You’re going to have better athletes; you’re going to have better fields all around,” Byrd says.
Make sure you’re still getting quality work in on and off the field. Take advantage of the facilities and resources at your disposal to get the most out of the college baseball experience.
Transitioning from high school to college can seem daunting for baseball players. With the right mindset and preparation, you can conquer the changes with ease. Use these baseball Pro Tips and dive headfirst into your college career.