Trying to decide whether to play college ball or not

Long story short, I have no idea where I want to go to college, what I want to major in, or even if I want to play baseball.

I know that I can get into ANY college I want (except maybe Ivy League schools) for academics alone. Ranked 3 in my class of 675 (4.55 GPA), 29 on the ACT, over 2000 on the SAT.

I also know that I am perfectly capable of playing college baseball. I’m 6’6" and can throw around 88 (I’m going to be a senior next year, easily throwing 90+.) By far my best pitch is my change up, which runs about 15 mph slower than my fastball and drops a foot or so. I also have a pretty good slider and my curve ball is a work in progress.

That being said, I feel like the first step in my college decision process is making the decision to play ball or not. Baseball has consumed my life since I was 4, I’ve played non stop all year round. I love the feeling of standing on the mound, all attention focused on me. But I don’t know if I need to be playing in college. I’m not stupid: I know the chances of me playing ball beyond college is nil. I realize that some day in my life, I am going to stop playing. But I don’t know if that time is now.
I feel college is my time to get started in life, get serious about studying, and for once in my life actually have free time.

I know there is no way for anyone to tell me if I should or shouldn’t play. I just have some questions for any pitchers or coaches out there.

  1. In off season, how much time would be dedicated to baseball?
    1A. What all would off season consist of?
  2. In the regular season, how long do practices go for?
    2A. What do PO’s (pitchers only) do in practice?
  3. Describe a normal day, both off season and regular season.
  4. How many classes do you have during the season, and will you be required to stay for 5 years to graduate?
  5. Are there required study halls?
  6. Do you live in a separate athletic dorm?
  7. Do you feel like your entire college life is devoted to baseball, with barely any free time to do what you please?

Sorry for making this so long, this is just the first place where I feel I can get straight answers without them being phrased in such a way as to persuade me either way.

Thanks, Matt

How come you don’t have Division I schools trying to sign you?

How come you weren’t drafted?

Good questions. At 6’6" and throwing 88 mph, you are very projectable, and as for colleges, yeah, you’d be getting looks from some elite programs I’d guess.

  1. In off season, how much time would be dedicated to baseball?There’s really no off-season at Div. 1 programs. Fall is dedicated to fall ball, winter is weight training, spring is the season, and summer os for summer league ball, which most coaches encourage you to do, if you’re good enough.
    1A. What all would off season consist of?About 2 hours of weight training and conditioning. No throwing. Maybe a little hitting on your own. Some cross-training like basketball.
  2. In the regular season, how long do practices go for?3-4 hours.
    2A. What do PO’s (pitchers only) do in practice? Throwing, running, fielding practice, bullpens, shagging in BP, hitting fungos to other infielders.
  3. Describe a normal day, both off season and regular season. Way too varied depending in the school, but classes in the morning, baseball in the afternoon and evening.
  4. How many classes do you have during the season, and will you be required to stay for 5 years to graduate?At top Div 1 schools, if you’re an actual prospect, you’d usually cur back on classes in the spring. So it usually takes 4.5 years to graduate … something guys like me do to finish up after playing pro ball.
  5. Are there required study halls?For freshman and sometimes sophomores. Upperclassmen only if there’s grades issues.
  6. Do you live in a separate athletic dorm?We did, but that was because I was on scholarship. Some schools do, some don’t. Just depends on how big the program is.
  7. Do you feel like your entire college life is devoted to baseball, with barely any free time to do what you please?
    Yes. Pretty much. But it was the BEST college experience ever!!

It sorta sounds like your heart isn’t in it to play ball with these questions. That’s perfectly OK! You’re right on about the very small chance to play at the next level. But for me, the process in working toward that goal is what made college so much fun. The “practice” part of pitching to me was just as fun as the actual “game” part, if you know what I mean. But if you’re already asking about how long will it take and will I have time to go to a concert or hang with a girlfriend … then baseball will be a long and tedious thing for you and I’d encourage you to follow your true passion, whatever than may be.

I agree 100% with Steven. I would only add one thing, the word regret. Once you’ve closed the door, it’s over. What ever you may be or have been is gone. I would suggest you go through here in the forums and see how many guys are in a painful place of really wishing and not being able or only being able to play a ghost resembling the competition that you’ll miss once you’ve let it go. I don’t want to talk you into anything, but if you’ve got a God given talent for something and walk away, no matter the difficulties and hurdles that may seem inconvienient now, it will gnaw at your soul because you’ll never know. Be prepared for that as a part of making an informed decision. If our art isn’t the place you want to be or sacrifice for, then there is nothing wrong with moving on and having a great and full, happy life. I just recommend that you consider carefully.

[quote=“TheOleOneBall”]How come you don’t have Division I schools trying to sign you?

How come you weren’t drafted?[/quote]

Coaches can’t contact us until… July 1st I think it is.
Plus I got almost no exposure during the school season. I was forced to be a reliever because I was the only pitcher who could handle pressure. Ironically, with only 1 start, I had 2 more wins than anyone else, and only 4 less strike outs than our main starter.
My summer team however is doing the Georgia show case, which I’ve heard attract plenty of scouts.

And JMB33, thanks for the reply, but I don’t think you read anything I wrote…

Steven. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer those questions. You are kinda right when you said that it doesn’t sound like my heart’s in it. I just can’t reason spending all that time in practices really not doing a whole lot to improve myself.
I think some of my resistance comes from my terrible high school program. In our district the head athletic director is a football guru and refuses to spend any money on any other sport. Therefore we only have 2 coaches total for all of our baseball teams (Varsity, JV, freshmen). With only 2 coaches running practice, the pitchers get a raw deal. We are stuck doing pointless drills just to make coach feel like he’s “working with us.”

And yes, jdfromfla, I realize the enormous hole that could potentially left in me by quitting. Like I said, I’ve played since I was 4, and baseball has defined who I am for quite a while. That regret looming on the horizon is really the reason I’m still in limbo about playing…

Being one who is older than you I can offer this perspective. You can always go back to school but you can’t go back and play college ball once it’s passed you by.

Also, your situation in high school isn’t automatically what things will be like in college. More than likely college ball will bring new experiences, new friendships, new challenges, etc.

And, finally, as one who suffered a career-ending injury (in another sport and not that I had a career anyways), my perspective on things has changed. If you’ve not had such an injury, you probably take your physical abilities for granted. I used to as well. But not any more. Now I look at things like a healthy knee as a gift - a gift that can be taken away in a moment’s notice. I really hate seeing people waste their gifts. Sounds like you’ve been blessed with some very nice gifts.

Ok, that last one might be a little strong. Not trying to lay a guilt trip on you. Ultimately, you need to decide whether playing ball is what you want to do or not. It makes no sense to make yourself play if you don’t really want to. Just make sure that your reasons for not playing are legitimate. Not anticipating playing beyond college isn’t that good of a reason to not play college, IMHO, if you really still enjoy playing. Less than favorable experiences in high school also aren’t good reasons for not playing college ball - again, if you really still enjoy playing.

Try to separate out whether you enjoy playing from the reasons you would consider not playing.

I think I disagree. I think your first step should be to pick a college. Pick one that has a baseball program but pick it based on the academics you are looking for. Now get on that team your freshman year and see how it goes. You’ll know what to do after the first year.

I think I disagree. I think your first step should be to pick a college. Pick one that has a baseball program but pick it based on the academics you are looking for. Now get on that team your freshman year and see how it goes. You’ll know what to do after the first year.[/quote]That is great advice, and sorta what I did. I don’t have the typical D1 body type or velocity, but I had enough skill to get a few smaller D1s looking at me. The ones that were somewhat interested were not up to par with my academic standards. I got a 32 on the ACT so I was looking for a top level academic school. In the end, I chose a smaller Division III school that will satisfy my academic needs, and it has a competitive baseball program that I will be able to play at…best of both worlds. And if I don’t like it after freshman year, I don’t have to come back the next year and I will know that I am still happy with my decision based on acamdeics.

Dino gave you advice that’s as solid as it gets.

Steven gave you a glimpse at the inside workings –for the questions that you asked.

Jdfromfla followed as a sounding board so you can think the process through with a different perspective. And Roger complimented and wrap’d things up nicely.

There are many people here on this site -thanks to all the guys that have help’d you thus far and more, so don’t feel alone in thinking this thing through. You’ll even find a former MLB player or two waltzing through that’ll help you with advice if asked.

Now I’d like to give you the benefit of the experiences of two young men that I coached who were very talented, very sought after here in New England, and who both had overall good academics. And each had life all figured out from start to finish – so they thought…

The first, made a senior class trip to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the entire presentation hit him like a ton of bricks – “this is what I was born to do coach!” Ahhhh, right…. You sure your feeling ok … was my first response, then shaking his hand and wishing him well was my second. Ok, three years of training culminated in a trip to Boston, Massachusetts and now he’s cruising all over the world delivering shiploads of DVD’s and Volvos. But he’s happy.

The second, stepped off a bus – twisted his ankle and knee, and that was the end of that. He endured so much pain that he spent hours in an emergency room and then went through a long drawn out rehabilitation process. Even to this day, he still has to be very careful about going down stairs, lifting simple objects and a host of other things.

Both of these people had me making phone calls all over the place, canceling travel plans and other stuff that just seem to come out of the woodwork. Working closely with both families from the start was a real reality check for a lot of family and friends. It also showed them how quickly the limelight dims and how cold the hospitality calls stop when a guy is no longer viable.

Baseball is a different lifestyle that has all kinds of ups and downs that can blindside you if you’re not careful.

A true calling in life usual sits deep inside all of us. Some see it early, some see it not so early. And for others – unfortunately, some don’t go looking for it or see it at all. Give yourself time to hear the call – it will come, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you’ll figure it out. College or not. Baseball or not.

Who knows, someday you could own your own Volvo dealership including a DVD player for first time buyers.

Coach B.

Every Christmas my family and I get a nice Christmas card from some port-of-call from my Merchant Marine grad with — Merry Christmass coach! In the backround are palm trees, bikinis, white beaches, bikinis, blazing setting sun over the water, bikinis. Geeshhh - and here I am stocking up on Absorbine Jr. Go figure.

I think I disagree. I think your first step should be to pick a college. Pick one that has a baseball program but pick it based on the academics you are looking for. Now get on that team your freshman year and see how it goes. You’ll know what to do after the first year.[/quote]

Oh, I don’t mean looking for the quality of the program, I mean if they have one at all. For instance, SMU is a college I haven’t ruled out yet, but it doesn’t have baseball at all.

And here’s more insight from me on my situation.

I actually just got back from playing two games against an ELITE team. I mean, 4 of the players were drafted, and every other one is going to a D1 school with a large sum of money.
I heard all this before the game, and I went into it expecting to be smashed around the park. But alas, 5 innings went by without runs. Only reason they got any in the 6th was due to errors forcing it to be a 6 out inning.

I also threw a ball from first base over the left field wall. Never tried it before, but needless to say I surprised myself.

So it’s like, now I know without a doubt that I have the talent needed to play. The feeling of being able to compete with such athletes while still being a year younger is amazing.

Bah, every time I start leaning one way something new pops up…

Dude, it sounds like you have a gift from god that every kid wishes for, you have a chance to play were all kids want to play, Division 1 baseball.
I wish I was in your position right know, I would die to be in your position.

Look yourself in the mirror, and ask your self do you love this Game?, do you want to play Beyond high school?, do you want to go pro, most Importantly, Do you really want it?

These questions I ask myself almost every day I work, every game I ask myself this, every day in the weight room.

Its just a matter of asking yourself, Do you really want it. and believe me, there’s nothing wrong with saying No. If you don’t have fun playing this game anymore, then try something else.

Im not trying to be disrespectful or anything. But I honestly Would love to be in your situation right now. 6’6" throwing high 80’s and you are barely going to be a senior. You have the talent, you know that yourself, God gave you talent, to be that tall with a Natural Strong arm.

You just gotta want it.

Its just a matter of asking yourself, Do you really want it

The only answer I get from myself is a mixed one.
“Sure I’d love to play, just give me a normal college life and free time”

It’s like, COME ON! How can I be wanting such polar opposites at the same time.

Have you considered a career in veterinary medicine?

Coach B.

I wish I was in your situation, knowing that I had the talent to go somewhere. That in itself is a blessing, and just think about the little things you enjoy around baseball. For me, I just want to stay around baseball, maybe I’m not much of a player, but I love the sport so much. And you are extremely lucky to have the brains you do. Because of that, you always have options outside of baseball if you decide its just not for you.


The reason why I asked is because Texas A&M is one of the finest colleges in the nation and since your in Texas, have good marks, athletic and so on, it would stand to reason, that’s were you should go. To make it even easier for you, they have financial aid counselors, a student body of about 42,000, all kinds of Veterinary science related courses, reasonable acceptance standards, etc.

So, decide on Texas A&M and take it from there. Best wishes with your college career.

Coach B.

Veterinary medicine?
Ehh, biology and the likes don’t suit me well.

I’m more of a numbers and science guy.

But yes, A&M is definitely on my list of options.

Also I have some more questions, mostly about the recruiting process.

Will coaches normally come to you if you stand out, or is making first contact essential?
Also, what do players have to do to get drafted out of high school? Sign up for something? (I don’t mean have extraordinary talent, etc)

Having the stuff you mentioned should put you in position to have your coach contacting some people for you, have you approached him or has he mentioned it to you? Usually when a HS coach sees potential to go further they will be happy to contact schools and try to get someone to come see you (Particularly with the grades you mention…he should be thrilled for you). Also summer teams do that and of course there are showcases and tryouts that individual colleges publish looking for talent to come try out at.

I picked Veterinary medicine out of the blue… I could have just as well asked about a career in finger painting, but, your reply said a great deal about you.

First off you know what you don’t want, and what your not. Second, you have a pretty good idea of what interests you and how that compliments your makeup. Third, your class standing and GPA says your brain bucket is working pretty darn good and your ability to take to task assignments and complete them with above average ability will open a lot of doors for you. And forth, I would suggest taking all of the above and reason out more of what you don’t want to do, day to day for the rest of your life.

As far as playing ball at college, well I don’t know you well enough to be specific nor am I all that well versed on student guidence - BUT, I can tell you this… along with an experience that’s very similar to one of your sentences a while back.

In particular …


Regardless of your prior experiences in high school … this outlook has a smell to it, that any rookie coach or staff member can pickup miles away. It (outlook) has a way of fingerprinting everything else - eye contact, body posture, handshakes, …you name it, it’s a cancer.

A club I was with couldn’t afford the scouting ranks, so we had open sessions. I filled in for one coach due to illness and was given the green light to “gut feel” the remaining group. We had more than we needed but wanted to see how the season was going to progress. The players didn’t make all that much and some of them even did other stuff to make ends meet. After a short talk - I noticed one guy talking through the fence to someone on the other side while I was talking. So, I looked at him throught the group and asked " so, what do think", he glanced at me, turned his head back to the guy on the other side of the fence and said… and I quote…“whatever.”

After everybody gathered their things and I was locking up, I asked this same individual to come with me. I walked to the one-way fire exit door, stuck a wooden peg under it, walked him to a while pole about waist high with a yellow oval sign on the top that said “taxi”, along with my remark, “this is a one way trip son, good luck.”

If you don’t have a fire in your belly to want ball … any ball, you’d better have taxi money stuffed in you socks, cause that’s were your headed.

Now I don’t mean to be negative toward your questions about college, coaches and recruiting - but if you plan to go further in your fact-finding, I’d ratchet up the “wanting it” just a bit.

Coach B.

I know that no college program in existence would have a shoddy program like we do at the high school. I’m also well aware that my lack of enthusiasm is clearly visible to anyone with eyes. I don’t really know where it comes from, just some broad ideas. On my summer team, it’s not nearly the same. For summer ball… man, I don’t know. Everything is just so much more fun. The coach is relaxed, the polar opposite of the high school coach. I have a sneaking suspicion that the lack of enthusiasm stems from about 3 sources.
First off, during the school season, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing that I feel I can control about my game. We don’t learn if we will start or not until… about an hour before game time. Crazy, right? And once in the game, the coach calls all of the pitches. Normally not a problem. But he his pitch calling doesn’t suit the way I throw. As I throw so hard, I normally go right at batters and don’t try to pitch around them. His style goes something like this “If the hitter has hit the ball out of the in field, he won’t see a straight pitch and if that means throwing 4 straight balls, that’s the way it is.” He was a pitcher in high school, but he had no arm. He relied on his off speed, and that seems to be carrying over into his coaching career. I’ve talked to him about it, and the pitch calling has improved in my favor, but I still don’t like being totally helpless out there.

In the summer, it’s what I say goes. I am free to shake off pitches and dictate to the coach how my arm feels and how many more innings I think I can go.

I guess I just have control issues haha.