Another summer weekend at a travel baseball tournament and I had a conversation with yet another dad of a rising senior that wants to help their son play in college - but does not know where to start.
Sal started off the conversation telling me about his son Alex. Alex grew up playing travel baseball for a good local travel baseball organization. He was a very fundamental player; however, does not have any tools that standout. As he entered high school, two of his buddies were recruited to play for a prominent national travel ball team - The D1 Bound Ballers. Not wanting to be left out, Sal got his son a tryout with the D1 Bound Ballers and was offered a spot on their #2 team, while his buddies were offered spots on the #1 team.
The D1 Bound Ballers is a great organization - that does a fantastic job at getting their #1 team top level competition and exposure. The D1 Bound Ballers has a long list of D1 players and professional players - the vast majority of these have come from the #1 team.
The #2, #3 and #4 teams play rigorous summer schedules, with travel and very little practice or tool development. Alex has player for this organization his freshman, sophomore and junior summers - now entering his senior season he is back playing for a local travel team. In assessing Alex on the field, he is still a very fundamental player and lacks any tools that stand out for a college team.
When selecting a summer travel baseball team it is important to #1 know who you are as a player. If you are a player with D1 tools (sub 7.0 60 time, 85MPH+ throwing velocity or 90MPH+ bat exit speed) then a team like the D1 Ballers is perfect for you to play great competition, gain exposure and get strong coaching. That said, it is still important to maintain a training program to continue to improve on those tools.
If you do not possess D1 tools, then an organization focused on tool development and baseball IQ - while playing good competition is the most important thing for those that desire to play in college. An organization like this will have consistent practices and have specific programs to develop your baseball tools with objectives like :increase batted ball exit speed, etc.
As for Alex - unfortunately, he was not able to develop specific tools over the last three summers that will afford him to reach his dream of playing DI ball out of high school. He is currently a DIII/NAIA projected recruit.
I recommended to Sal that he check out an organization like Hard 90 Baseball that offers a High School Combine that focuses on his tool development for the rest of the summer and this upcoming offseason.