Most athletes want to move onto the NCAA levels, but getting there requires more than just talent (Tools). With a lack of proven information on the internet, parents and athletes are being left to “fend” for themselves.
Having talent is the foundation of NCAA recruitability, but showcasing your talent and being in the right place at the right time will determine your future.
“At Big League Edge, we have put helped over 500 athletes land NCAA baseball or softball scholarships. Our NCAA recruiting and consulting network spans hundreds of programs, which provides us with a full picture of what it takes to land that scholarship.” Stated BLE instructor and Varsity baseball coach Larry Marshall.
Marshall went on,
“Getting recruited requires a concentrated effort that identifies, contacts, and trains for the programs you wish to eventually play for. Talent is required, but learning how to showcase your talent is just as important.”
Although there is no “how-to” guide upon the subject, there are things that athletes and parents need to know before they spend another dollar upon NCAA recruiting.
TOOLS VS STATS
The cornerstone to getting recruited starts with giving the NCAA coach something to recruit – talent.
Parents and athletes often mistake “talent” for statistical execution, but any recruiter knows that stats are unreliable and do not necessarily translate onto the NCAA baseball or softball levels.
“A hitter whom bats .400 in high school will not do so at the NCAA level unless they have a great hitting approach that uses power and hand speed to match the game speeds of college baseball.” Stated NCAA baseball coach BA Garner.
The “tools” that Garner is talking about are what drive recruiting “talent”. Parents and athletes often feel statistical execution at their levels is good enough. However, the NCAA levels have speedier fielders whom close gaps and run balls down quicker than the high school or travel ball levels. Thus, underpowered base hits at the lower levels become outs at the NCAA levels.
“The shortstop at the high school level most likely has lesser range than the shortstop at the NCAA level. This is why underpowered hitters whom bat .400 in high school potentially are not recruited because they hit .400 by spraying the ball, which inevitably becomes outs at the NCAA level.” Stated Garner.
Talent is defined by NCAA recruiters as power and speed at the plate. On the mound, it is no different.
“When we recruit a pitcher, we look at velocity first. Since hitters have increased their plate coverage, approach, power, and hand speed, velocity matters at the NCAA levels.” Stated NCAA recruiter Jacob Kingsley.
Mistakenly thinking wins and ERA numbers land scholarships is a pitfall that most parents and pitchers fall victim to.
“We hear it all the time. My son went 13-5 and struck out a lot of hitters, but he is not getting looks. When I dive deeper into things, the pitcher threw 78-82MPH and used a big breaking pitch to get everyone out. That pitcher is most likely getting recruited.” Stated former MLB pitcher and BLE Founder Jim Parque.
If we examine how the game works, we will begin to understand why “tools” matter over statistical execution – when concerning NCAA recruit.
Since strike one is the best pitch in baseball and the fastball is what sets everything up, we will use the fastball.
- An 80MPH fastball requires a certain amount of hand speed and reaction time, but such is lessened considerably when a 90MPH fastball is thrown.
- If the hitter has hand speed to match 80MPH pitches, 90MPH pitches require more from hitters, causing them to have to “cheat” to hit 90MPH pitches.
- Therefore, hitting advantage decreases, and off speeds and location can exponentially decrease the hitter’s advantage further.
If we examine pitchers:
- If hand speed overmatches pitch speed, hitters have more time to react. Therefore, they have more time to recognize off speeds or location.
- If pitch speed overmatches hand speed, hitters have to “cheat” on the fastball, which opens up outside locations and off speed pitch quality.
Since baseball is a system of numbers that is based upon the 4.3sec runtime from “home to first”, all recruiting revolves around putting runners on or keeping them off.
Training is crucial to developing the “tools” of the game, which will determine whether you get recruited.
TRAIN TO INCREASE TOOLS
There are many ways to improve tools, and it always starts with raw muscle power. Contrary to popularized player development, there is no “magic” mechanic that unlocks additional tools. You have to get into the gym and lift iron.
Once you have the body that can withstand the force and energy loads required to move at the speeds of top level competition, then and only then will you be able to compete.
“We recruit physicality first. An unfit body tells me the athlete does not work hard or they do not want to work hard. Both are the same, and both do not play at our level.” Stated NCAA recruiting coordinator Ron Mellinchamp.
After physicality comes training technique.
Movement enhancement is the cornerstone to performance, as it directly trains the body to move quicker, stronger, and faster. As Newton’s Law of Motion states, “F=MA”. Meaning, if you want to move energy faster, you increase mass, acceleration, or both.
Since hitters and pitchers are moving energy from their bodies into the pitch, it makes sense to train movement.
One great choice to developing power and velocity is VeloPRO Baseball’s Velocity LOAD Harness. Used by 8 MLB teams and over 60 NCAA baseball and softball programs, the VL Harness is the only movement enhancement training system on the market today that unlocks performance velocity within 3 weeks or less. For more info, visit http://www.veloprobaseball.com.