By Keep Playing Baseball
KPB PodcastFeb 28, 2023
51 | Ian Macdonald, Associate Head Coach, Indiana Wesleyan University
In this episode, we talk all things recruiting with Indiana Wesleyan University Associate Head Coach and Twitter thread king, Ian Macdonald. Coach Macdonald’s career includes coaching stops at Grove City College, University of Charleston, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Wherever he has been, success for his team has followed.
In addition to coaching, Macdonald is known for his work educating players and families about the recruiting process on Twitter or through his website, collegebaseballrecruiting.net. Coach Macdonald is one of the leading voices on the college baseball recruiting process. His online course, Foundations of College Baseball Recruiting, launched a few months ago and aims to empower recruits with the tools to make informed decisions about the recruiting process and college baseball.
Accurate, thorough, thoughtful, and well-organized, Coach Macdonald's content is a must for any serious college recruit or parent. Coach Macdonald’s commitment to transparency and equity in the recruiting process is admirable, so it’s great to finally have him on the KPB Podcast to pick his brain about all things recruiting. You won't want to miss this episode!
Coach Macdonald's Website: Foundations of College Baseball Recruiting Online Course
Coach Macdonald's Twitter: Ian Macdonald (@sowhatnextpitch) / Twitter
50| Darrion Siler, Head Baseball Coach at The John Carroll School
We are excited to welcome Coach Darren Siler to the podcast. Coach Siler is the head baseball coach at John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland where he has led his alma mater’s baseball program since 2016.
The 2018 John Steadman High School Baseball Coach of the Year and Maryland State Association Baseball Coaches Coach of the Year brings a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience to the podcast.
Coach Siler has played and coached baseball all over the world. He has coached extensively in Europe, where he served as a Portuguese National Team Assistant Coach and Academy Development Coach. While in Europe he also coached several club teams to European Cup Qualifiers and international tournaments in Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Spain, Germany and Italy. Most recently, he traveled to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Japan, and Italy for coaching stints.
Stay tuned as we pick his brain about sending players to the college level, how his international baseball experience influences running a title contending program, and tell some funny international baseball stories.
49| Alec Smith, Founder, Best Speed Baseball Academy
Episode 2 of our new season of the KPB Podcast is a conversation with Alec Smith, who has a long track record of coaching baseball at all different levels in the Sacramento Area. Smith is the founder of Best Speed Baseball Academy, co-founder of Adi-Speed National Team, a three-time varsity head coach, and also spent 4 years as a junior college assistant coach with Cosumnes River College. Countless players from Smith's programs have gone on to play at all college levels and have success, which opens the door to an insightful conversation where we pick his brain about leading players and families through the recruiting process and what recruiting looks like from his unique perspective.
48| Jim Maciejewski, Mauldin HS, South Carolina
This episode kicks off a new season of KPB Podcast episodes where we sit down with coaches most familiar with the recruiting process. We are excited to kick the season off with Jim Maciejeski, athletic director and head baseball coach of the Mauldin Mavs in Mauldin, SC. Coach “Mach” has been coaching for 17 years, including the last 12 as a head coach. He is also in his 3rd year as athletic director at Mauldin High. In addition to his high school coaching, Maciejewski has spent 5 summers with USA Baseball as a member of their scouting Task Force, and most recently working with the 13/14 year-old Athlete Development Program and 15U National Team Trials. He’s sent numerous players on to the college ranks and has a number of former players playing professionally, as well. Above all else, Coach Mach is a student of the game and runs an outstanding program for his players.
How to Email College Coaches
A targeted email to a program of interest remains one of the best ways to get recruited. Yet, many recruits mess up this valuable opportunity to create a meaningful connection. Why? Most players don’t have the patience or do the prep work required to knock the email out of the park.
If you have the patience to listen to this short episode, you'll learn how to email college coaches the right way. In just 8 minutes, you'll walk away with the blueprint for writing an email that will lead to your recruitment. Have a listen, follow up with the links below, and give yourself the best chance at getting recruited from your intro emails!
Additional Articles and Resources:
You May Also Be Interested in:
47| Doug Bernier (Former MLB Infielder and Pro Baseball Insider Founder Doug)
In this episode, are excited to be joined on today’s podcast by Colorado Rockies Data and Game Planning Coordinator and former Big League infielder, Doug Bernier. A California native, Bernier’s baseball career included success at every single level. After college baseball stops at Cuesta College and Oral Roberts University, Bernier started an incredible 16-year professional baseball career, which included 4 seasons in the Majors and over 1500 professional games. Bernier and his wife, Sarah, generously give back to the game through Pro Baseball Insider (probaseballinsider.com), an organization providing free instruction for aspiring ballplayers given directly from professional players. In addition to talking with Doug about how he maintained consistency and focus during the ups and downs of the better part of 2 decades in professional baseball, we pick his brain about his days as a professional scout and now a coach with the Rockies Big League squad. You won't want to miss this one!
Checking In: Everything Has Changed... Except for the Path to College Baseball
We've been sensing a great deal of panic among recruits and parents who have become fixated on the recruiting shutdown and D1 baseball's prolonged dead period due to COVID-19. In this episode, we try to put those fears to rest and explain why now is the time to plan and prepare, not panic. This episode follows a round-table discussion put on by our friends at the 3-2 Count Foundation exploring this new age of recruiting from multiple vantage points. We strongly suggest you check out the video here after listening to this episode!
46| Andrew Knapp (Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies)
We are excited to be joined by Sacramento area native and Philadelphia Phillies Catcher Andrew Knapp on the KPB Podcast for this fun episode. A former standout for the California Golden Bears, Knapp quickly rose through the minor league ranks, making his Big League debut on April 6, 2017. Knapp comes from a baseball family as his father Mike played 10 years of professional baseball and his younger brother, Aaron, is currently playing in the minors. This will be Knapp’s fourth season with the Phillies, and he comes back to Philadelphia after a strong second half where he hit .271 with a .346 OBP. More importantly, he is one of the truly good guys in baseball. Knapp has been a huge supporter of KPB and uses his platform to give back and do good for his communities. In addition to talking about his path to the Big Leagues, we talk about his time in college, his routines and preparation, as well as some light-hearted questions like, what would you change if you were commissioner? And, what three teammates would you bring with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?
You won't want to miss this great conversation, which comes with yelling children in the background (podcasting is hard when quarantining with kids!) and plenty of gems to get you better!
D1 and D2 Eligibility Requirement Updates
In light of disruptions to normal academic schedules, the NCAA Eligibility Center has modified initial eligibility requirements for D1 and D2 bound players. Among the changes we discuss in this podcast are:
- No standardized test requirements for 2020 graduates
- Implications for PASS/FAIL grading implemented this spring and summer
- Importance of a 2.3 GPA (D1) or 2.2 GPA (D2) in 10 core courses (7 math/english/science) prior to start of senior year
Listen in for more information of check out the NCAA article directly HERE.
KPB's Guide to Improving in Self-Quarantine
When you are sitting at home all day, every day, it's easy to get discouraged or get into a funk. Even with limited resources, you can still use your time in self-quarantine to get better and stay on track to play college baseball! In this podcast, we discuss 6 areas where you can continue to improve that will help you with your dreams of playing at the next level. Listen in to learn about improving in the following areas:
- Strength & Conditioning
- Skill Development
- Mental Game
- Strategic Planning
Quick Recap: D1 COVID-19 Eligibility Ruling
The D1 Council ruling just came out and it's good news for college baseball players, particularly seniors. We discuss:
1. The D1 Council giving every college baseball player from this year an additional year of eligibility
2. The ability for seniors to have their scholarship renewed for the additional year (at the discretion of the school, who may also reduce or eliminate the scholarship for the returning player)
3. The elimination of D1 baseball roster limits and the ability for programs to exceed 11.7 total scholarships as a result of only senior scholarship renewals for the 2021 season
Plus what it means for current players and recruits! Listen in now!
The Impact of COVID-19 on College Baseball Recruiting
Daily KPB| Walking On: What You Need to Know
In this episode, we follow the lead of our popular written article about the risks and rewards of walking on. You can read the written article here.
Listen in to learn about:
1. Different types of walk-on opportunities
2. Questions to ask when offered a walk-on opportunity
3. Risks and rewards that come with walk-on opportunities
The Ultimate Guide: Parents' Role in the Recruiting Process
The most comprehensive and important #KPBpodcast episode on parents' role in the recruiting process is here! Following the same format as our Parents' Role in the Recruiting Process mini-series, we break down everything a parent needs to know to understand their role in the recruiting process and successfully help their son find a college baseball fit. In this episode, we break down:
1) An overview of parents' role in the recruiting process and how to how to appropriately be involved in the process
2) What parents can do during each of the 10 steps of the recruiting process to help their son
3) The 5 most important responsibilities and roles of parents throughout the entire process
You won't want to miss it. Click play now and follow up on the additional parent resources we mention by reading the articles on the site!
Daily KPB| On Ramping and Safely Returning to Competitive Action
In this episode, we discuss what it takes to plan out your return to throwing and competitive action in a safe and effective way. We discuss terminology, like "on-ramping", that you are likely to hear and what it means. Most importantly, we encourage you to plan your return to baseball activity now so the holidays and poor weather don't slow your progress. Listen in now!
Daily KPB| Why Non-Baseball Characteristics Matter So Much in Recruitment
In our annual college coaches survey, coaches routinely rank non-baseball related recruit attributes as being more important than physical ability and baseball skills. Why? Having a baseline level of athletic or baseball ability is the only way that a coach will continue to completely evaluate a player. So among players who meet that threshold, it is often stuff other than on-field skill that separates them from other recruits. Want to learn more about this? Listen in to this episode!
Daily KPB| Program Fit > Level Designation
A successful recruiting process is one where the player finds a lasting college baseball fit. It's a situation where the player puts themselves in a position to achieve their college goals and enjoy their time doing it. Why, then, do so many people get caught up in chasing the highest level? The D1 experience, even when it doesn't fit what they want in a college experience? Sometimes it's hard to pass on shiny things. In this episode, we explain why it's important to keep program fit at the forefront of your college baseball search and not get tricked by level designation or the pursuit of D1 baseball. Listen in to find out more!
Daily KPB| 7 Ways Campus Visits Go Wrong
This is the podcast version of the written article by the same title on the KPB website.
Many college players that we talk to reflect back on campus visits as one of their best memories of the recruiting process. Think of it like the MTV Cribs of college baseball. Coaches open up the doors and peel back the curtains to their program and provide you with an opportunity to see what your life could look like if you end up at their program. Campus visits are a two-way interview. You have the opportunity to ask questions and evaluate whether the program is a fit for you and coaches have an opportunity to get to know you better and evaluate if you are a fit for their program. When done correctly, the visit should allow you the chance to get all the information that you need from coaches to make an educated decision on program fit. If the sound of getting to explore your college baseball opportunities in person doesn’t excite you, you may want to evaluate whether college baseball is right for you.
While campus visits should be fun and informative, they are also a big stepping stone in the recruiting process. We’ve lived through and heard plenty of stories of campus visits that go poorly. There’s nothing wrong with getting to campus and realizing that a school isn’t a fit for you, in fact that’s great! You don’t, however, want to ruin your chances with a school that interests you because of silly mistakes. In order to help you avoid making preventable mistakes, here’s a list of 7 ways that campus visits often go wrong and advice for not letting that happen to you. After listening to this and our How to Ace a Campus Visit article, you’ll be prepared to dominate your time on campus and can focus on just being the best version of yourself!
Daily KPB| A Message for ALL Seniors on Signing Day
Congratulations to everyone who is making their commitments official today or sometime during the signing period! In this quick episode, we have words of advice for signees and those who haven't yet found their program. Check it out!
Daily KPB| Handling Your Commitment the Right Way
This is the podcast version of our written article by the same title, which can be read here.
With the signing period starting in just a few days, there will likely be a wave of commitments in the coming weeks. If you are one of the recruits making a commitment or that will be you at some point, this podcast is for you! In this episode, we will address the way to handle your commitment the right way. The baseball world is small and the last thing you want to do during what is supposed to be a happy time is burn any bridges or have a bunch of college coaches angry with you. To stay in the good graces of everyone you have interacted with during your commitment, follow the 5 steps discussed!
Daily KPB| What College Coaches Look For In Recruits
Want to know what college coaches are looking for in recruits? Than you've come to the right place! In this episode, we read quotes and provide insight directly from college coaches about the skills and qualities they are wanting to see out of recruits. All you have to do is listen up and get to work building these desired skill sets!
Daily KPB| Seeking Exposure at the Right Time
This podcast is the audio version of the written article by the same name. You can read that article here. In this episode, we aim to bust some myths about "exposure" and help you better understand how to know that you are ready create meaningful exposure to college coaches. If you want to know the truth about seeking exposure and figure out how to know when you should start maximizing exposure opportunities, this episode is for you. Listen in to find out more!
Daily KPB| College Baseball Scholarship Basics
Find video and written college baseball scholarship resources similar to this on the KPB website right here.
Everyone wants to get a college baseball scholarship, but how much scholarship money is available? What can they expect if they do get a scholarship? Tune in to find out as we talk about some of the basics about college baseball scholarships!
Daily KPB| Ready to Commit? A List of Things to Consider!
Read the written version of this podcast on our website here.
With the signing period for seniors less than a month away, many players are considering their college baseball options and where they should commit following the end of fall ball. Hopefully you are putting a lot of thought into your commitment decision and looking at things from every possible angle. What does that mean? It means asking and answering a lot of questions about the programs you are considering. In this episode, we rattle off a laundry list of things you should be considering before making your commitment official, from the academic culture to the relationship you have with the coaching staff and more. Listen in as we try to help you make your commitment decision one based on facts that will stand the test of time rather than emotions which can quickly change once on campus.
Daily KPB| Committing Before Being Admitted Into School
This episode is the podcast version of the written article of the same title available here. In this episode, we discuss the precautions you need to take if you decide to commit before being accepted by the admissions committee. Listen in to find out what to do to make sure the commitment holds strong and you take care of business in the classroom.
Daily KPB| Finding Out About Prolonged Silence From Recruiters
You've been talking with a college coach and they seem interested. Then, all of a sudden you stop hearing from them. What does it mean? What should you do? We discuss that and more in this podcast episode! You can also catch the written version of this podcast right here!
Daily KPB| Red Flags: Looking Out for Money Traps and Tricks During Recruitment
This podcast is the audio version of the written article by the same title, which can be found here.
If you are reading this article, you probably already know we spend a lot of time talking about what you should be doing to stay on track for college baseball. Our website is devoted to providing you with all the information and guidance you need to make it to the next level, free of charge. Last year, a parent suggested that it would be helpful if we discussed some of the things parents and recruits should avoid in the recruiting process. The ability to recognize potential pitfalls has become increasingly important as the monetization of youth baseball leads to more people trying to profit from vulnerable players and parents who are hoping to give themselves the best chance at the next level. In this podcast, we will look at 5 red flags that can come up in the recruiting process. For the purpose of this podcast, we consider a red flag to be an event or interaction that should set off alarm bells so that you take some extra time to make sure that things are the way they appear to be. Not all red flags will turn into real issues, but they do merit closer attention before proceeding. Listen in to learn about the following 5 red flags:
1. Hidden Costs
2. Bait-and-Switch Models
3. Guarantees of Any Kind
4. When Coaches and Players at the Same Program Give Conflicting Information
5. Rushed (Scholarship or Roster Spot) Offer Deadlines
Listen in to learn more!
45| Brad Sanfilippo (Head Coach, San Jose State)
In This Episode...
We talk shop with San Jose State Head Coach Brad Sanfilippo. Sanfilippo is entering his 3rd season at the helm of the San Jose State Spartan baseball program, after taking over with the interim tag 3 weeks before the regular season started in 2018. He spun that adversity into a historic year, leading the program to a Mountain West tournament appearance. In his two years, he has already led the club to its winningest season since 2011 and the highest single season conference win total in nearly a decade. No stranger to D1 baseball, Sanfilippo served as an assistant coach from 2010-2017, including time at San Jose State and a handful of years with Cal in the Pac-12, where 21 of his players got drafted (4 who are currently in the Big Leagues) and helped lead the Bears to an appearance at the College World Series in Omaha. Before making the transition to college coaching, Sanfilippo was the head coach at his alma mater, Los Gatos High School, where he won 4 league championships and 2 section titles (the first 2 in the baseball program's history). He was inducted into the Los Gatos HS Hall of Fame in 2009.
In this conversation, we take a deep dive on recruiting, player development, buy in, and even dabble in some pre-season NFL predictions. Don't miss out as Coach Flip offers outstanding insight for recruits navigating the process!
Coach Sanfilippo on Social Media:
Academics, D1, Recruiting, Player Development, Offensive Philosophy, Mountain West Baseball, San Jose State, Pac-12, Mid-Major, Power-5
Daily KPB| Better Grades Mean More College Baseball Opportunities
The time to get serious about your academic pursuits is right now! In this Friday rant, we reiterate topics discussed in the written article Better Grades Mean More Opportunities. Check out that written piece to get the links to many of our best academic support resources!
In this podcast, we get straight to the point here-- academics are a huge piece of the recruiting puzzle! We explain why they are so important to college coaches and why now is the time for you to take them seriously. Listen in to find out more!
Daily KPB| How Are You Tending on Social Media?
This podcast is the audio version of the written article by the same title on the KPB website. You can find that article here and we strongly suggest you check that article out and dive into the links it shares that are referenced in the podcast.
We know that social media is becoming increasingly important in the recruiting process, but what does that mean for you? How can you avoid the negative consequences of social media while still benefiting from the information and free exposure that social media platforms provide? We discuss all that, talk about what we have learned about social media in recruiting from our college coaches survey, and more! Listen in.
Daily KPB| What Different Types of Emails From College Coaches Mean
This is the podcast version of our written article by the same title. That article can be read here. Note: The email examples in the article will be easier to understand in written form than what is described in the podcast episode, so be sure to check them out!
Here's a common scene in the recruiting process: You just got an email from a college program you are interested in. You are excited, and hope this will be the start of your journey to making a commitment. But do you really understand the intent behind the email? Is it expressing real interest? Before you get too far ahead of yourself, make sure you read the email closely. College coaches send out a number of different types of emails that mean different things and have different purposes. While the emails may sound similar, they can have very different intentions.
Emails are a safe way for college coaches to reach out to recruits without having to show their hand (level of interest). The emails can have a variety of meanings and purposes. The way the email is worded, how much personalized information is included in the email, and what type of response it asks from you will help you better understand the intentions of the program that sent it.
In this episode, we discuss the different types of emails that college coaches send and what they mean. Specifically, we discuss 3 different kinds of emails you might receive from a college coach (Camp Email, Exploratory Interest, Definite Interest), what each means about your recruitment, and how to follow up. Listen in to learn more!
Daily KPB| For Coaches: Let's Not Let Ego and Language Get in the Way of Development
This podcast is the audio version of the written article of the same title, available to read here.
As a coach, instead of focusing on the “right” language, focus on using language that creates understanding and the right physical response for each individual player. That may mean you tell one hitter to “swing up to the ball”, you tell another hitter to “swing down on the ball”, and you tell the rest of the hitters to “swing level or on plane”. By being flexible with your verbal cues, you help everyone get better and make yourself a more successful coach.
The idea of being flexible with language and finding verbal cues that work for each guy means you will have to set your ego (and perhaps stubbornness) aside. Doing so does not mean that you don’t know what you are talking about or that you teach the wrong things, in fact it’s the opposite. A multidimensional approach to coaching is a sign that you are committed to teaching and helping your players develop the movement patterns they need to be successful. That’s what coaching is all about. Coaching is about player development, not proving your way is the only way. If you still aren’t ready to give up your preferred verbal cue for something that doesn’t resonate as well with you, think about this: Mike Trout trains his swing thinking about swinging down on the ball and Kris Bryant trains his by thinking about swinging up. Should one of these MVPs change his training cue because it’s wrong? No! There are many paths to success! Moving forward, prioritize helping your players find their own paths to success by using language and verbal cues that work for them.
Daily KPB| The Importance of a Diverse Recruiting Plan
This podcast episode corresponds to our written article by the same title, The Importance of a Diverse Recruiting Plan.
In this episode, we discuss the many different ways that college coaches are finding the players who end up playing in their program and discuss the importance of having a diverse recruiting plan that gives coaches multiple ways to connect with you, evaluate you, and recruit you. Listen in to find out why it's so important!
Daily KPB| Learning From Others: The Value of Purposeful Observation
This podcast is the audio version of the written article, Learning From Others: The Power of Purposeful Observation.
"You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better."- Coach John Wooden
Want to play college baseball? There are people around you every day that can help you get there. The people we are thinking about are probably not the same people that immediately jump into your mind. We’re not talking about your coaches or your parents or even your teachers and counselors, although all of these people can be a tremendous help in the recruiting process. The people we are talking about are your teammates and your peers.
Your peers can play an incredible role in helping you understand what it takes to get better if you can take your ego out of the comparison. That can be easier said than done. Most high school players fall into the trap of letting their ego interfere when comparing themselves to their peers. Who has the better stats? Who is getting more attention from colleges? Who got invited to this event or plays on this team? Why is he getting recruited by that school and I’m not? Why is he already getting offers? These types of comparisons only serve as a distraction. Every college bound player is on a different timeline and follows a different path to the next level. When we talk about the role your teammates and fellow competitors can play in helping you get better, we are talking about learning from their successes and failures as much as your own.
There’s a common misconception that learning has to come from your own success or mistakes, but imagine how many more learning opportunities you create each day when you really pay attention to what is happening around you. That’s the entire point of our Think the Game articles. Learn from everyone’s experiences, so you don’t have to make every mistake for yourself! There is feedback and important lessons all around you that can help you grow and improve and we want to highlight how you can use this feedback to be your own coach and get a little better each day. We discuss 4 keys to purposeful observation in this episode. Listen in to find out what they are!
Daily KPB| Targeting the Right Programs in Recruitment
This podcast is the audio version of our written article, Targeting the Right Schools in Recruitment
A common misstep in the recruiting process happens when players pursue schools where their baseball skill set doesn’t fit. These players either only target schools where the standard of play is too high for their skills, or they ignore interest from schools where their skill set does match up well, thinking they can “do better.” It goes without saying that you should treat all interest as serious interest and make sure you do your research on every program individually. With over 1,600 college baseball programs, there are many schools you will not know about. With so many programs out there, how can you make sure you are targeting the appropriate schools for your skill level? It turns out that this question doesn’t have one simple answer and that’s why so many recruits get it wrong! Luckily, we have done the research for you and we’ve come up with 5 things you can do to help make sure you are targeting the appropriate level of college baseball for your skill set. We discuss them in this podcast!
Daily KPB| Using Your Social Network to Help You Get Recruited
This is the podcast version of the written article titled, Networking: Your Secret Weapon in the Recruiting Process.
When it comes to the recruiting process, surrounding yourself with a good network of people can make a big difference. Not only can a quality network help you make sound decisions throughout the recruiting process, having ties with people who are well connected in the college game can go a long way to opening doors and providing opportunities. There are many stories of players getting a foot in the door with a college coach because a former teammate, current coach, or someone they know has a connection to open that door. While your talent, work ethic, character, and skills are ultimately what will get you to the next level, at times recruiting can feel like it’s more about who you know than what you can do. If you are worried that you don’t have a strong network behind you, don’t worry! On this podcast we will discuss how you can use your connections to strengthen your network and how you can use your network to help in the recruiting process.
Listen to the episode for more on how you can:
1) Assess the strength of your social network
2) Grow your social network
3) Use your social network to help you in the recruiting process
Daily KPB| Demonstrating Emotional Control
This podcast corresponds to the Emotional 101 article on the KPB website.
“The ballplayer who loses his head, who can’t keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all.” –Lou Gehrig
There’s no debating that the way baseball is being played is changing. The game is slowly starting to embrace a more modern flair. Bat flips and celebrations that would have cost a beaning in past generations are becoming the norm. Still, many college coaches debate the outward displays of emotion that they see. Sure, it’s a new generation, but how much bat flip is too much bat flip? How much emotion can a player display before it becomes a side show? Since we know college coaches are spending a lot of time evaluating the body language and behavior of recruits, we take a look at some of the emotionally-charged situations college coaches see on the recruiting trail and how they help or hurt a recruit’s chances of being recruited.
44| Mike Neu: Head Coach, Cal Baseball (D1)
On This Episode:
We are excited to welcome former College World Series champion, Big League pitcher, and current Cal Baseball Head Coach Mike Neu to the podcast. There aren’t many things in the game of baseball that Neu hasn’t accomplished. He started his college career playing for baseball legend Jerry Weinstein at Sacramento City College where he won a state title before transferring to University of Miami. At Miami, Neu was an All-American pitcher and recorded the final out of the College World Series for the champion Hurricanes. Neu was drafted out of Miami by the Reds and worked his way to the Big Leagues where he pitched with both the A’s and Marlins. After his playing career ended, Neu started out as an assistant coach at Diablo Valley CC before quickly assuming the head coaching role at DVC. He made his first move to Cal as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. He left Cal in 2015 to become the Head Coach at University of Pacific (D1 in Stockton, CA) and after helping turn the program around, returned to lead the Cal program in 2018. In his first two years as the Head Coach at Cal, Neu has coached the Golden Spikes winner in Andrew Vaughn and lead the Golden Bears to an NCAA Regional Appearance. He has a reputation as an outstanding recruiter and if his career to this point is any indication, Neu and the Bears will have continued success as they look to return to Omaha. We talk Big League lessons, recruiting, the Pac-12, development and much more in this can't miss episode.
D1, Pac-12, Recruiting, Development, Culture, Academics, Life Skills, Multi-Sport Athletes, Daily life
Daily KPB| The Importance of Attention to Detail in the Recruiting Process
This podcast mirrors the content found in our popular article by the same title, which you can read HERE. We were asked to write that article by a college coach who was frustrated by the constant barrage of poorly written emails from recruits. Using a poorly written email as an example of players failing to understand the importance of being detail oriented and thorough in the recruiting process, we discuss 4 major reasons why college coaches are paying attention to players who attend to the details and are willing to go the extra mile to do things right. Listen to find out why in a recruiting world where there are countless players with similar on-field skills and ability, a recruit who shows attention to detail will quickly separate himself from the rest.
Daily KPB| 5 Do's and Don'ts For Parents at the Ballpark
This episode provides insight on mistakes that parents are making at the ballpark and mirrors the content in the written article found HERE.
College coaches may be recruiting high school players, but they are paying very close attention to what the parents of recruits are doing at the field as well. Parents make many unintended mistakes that can hurt their son's chances of getting recruited. We don't want that to happen to you, so we discuss 5 common mistakes that are made at the baseball field by parents and provide suggestions for more constructive alternative behavior. Listen in so you don't hurt your son's chances of getting recruited and playing at the next level.
Daily KPB| What Does Your College Baseball Fit Look Like?
What does your college baseball fit look like?
It's a straightforward questions that can make or break your recruiting process before it even begins. If you want to improve your chances of finding a college baseball fit, you first need to know what that fit looks like. In this episode, we give you resources and suggestions to to help you answer that question, starting with this worksheet to help you sort out your college preferences. For more information and insight, listen to the episode or read the written version here.
Daily KPB| Make the Most of Summer Ball
This episode is the podcast version of our written of the same title which can be found here : https://keepplayingbaseball.org/make-the-most-of-summer-ball-2019/
It’s about that time of the summer when your final tournaments are coming up. Guys are in a lot of different situations – some may have spent the summer showcasing for college coaches, while others are hoping to make their varsity team this coming year.
No matter what level you’ve been playing at, there are some things you can look back on now to get the most out of your summer baseball experience. A huge part of progressing in the game is learning and making adjustments. Summer ball is a great time to learn your game, try new things, and figure out what you need to work on.
On this episode, we ask you to consider 7 important questions about your summer and use them as a tool to reflect on what you’ve learned and what you need to improve on as you move forward. Development is the key to playing at the next level, and this list will help you stay focused on continually improving. Listen in to find out what they are!
43| Clay Cox: Head Coach, Paris Junior College (Texas)
On This Episode:
We’re excited to welcome Paris Junior College Head Coach Clay Cox to the podcast. Cox has been at the helm of the Dragon Baseball Program since 2016 and with the program since 2015. Over this time, he has developed a reputation for dominating in the classroom and on the field. His team is constantly among the nation’s leaders in team GPA and his squad has consistently moved more than a dozen players on to 4-year programs or professional baseball. Prior to his time at Paris JC, Cox spent time coaching at University of West Alabama and in the high school ranks at Rockdale High School, in addition to summers coaching in the Texas Collegiate League where he had a lot of success. Along with his role as head coach, Cox is Founder of Infield U and is active in sharing his coaching practices with the baseball community. Cox brings a wealth of knowledge to the KPB podcast, and in this episode we pick his brain about recruiting, program building, academics, infield play, and much more. So grab a notepad and turn up the volume as we connect with a high energy leader and great baseball mind.
Contact Coach Cox:
JUCO, Recruiting, Infield, Development, Infield U, Academics, Hitting, Pitch Recognition, Texas, Transferring
Daily KPB| 9 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer Prior to Committing
In the recruiting process, the adage “knowledge is power” takes on an especially important meaning. An uninformed or hasty recruiting process greatly increases the risk of ending up with a poor college fit. Think about it this way. Would you make a $100K investment without knowing every little detail? Probably not. So why would you do the same with your future? Four years of college at many schools costs well over $100K. One of the biggest and most common mistakes made in the recruiting process is taking information for granted or not finding out everything you should before picking a school. To prevent you from making this mistake, we’ve come up with 9 questions you should be able to answer about a program before deciding to commit. In this episode we break down those 9 questions and explain why they are important. You'll notice some overlap with previous podcasts and articles. That's a good thing! We've talked about questions you should ask college coaches and now were talking about questions you need to be able to answer for yourself, so there is lots of overlap.
Below we've included links to some of the articles and resources we discuss in this episode. Be sure to check them out so you can make educated and informed decisions!
Daily KPB| Get Yourself Noticed For the Right Reasons
This podcast is the audio version of our written article by the same title. You can read that article here.
Every college-bound high school player dreams of getting noticed by a college coach. If you weren’t interested in that, you wouldn’t be on this podcast right now! Well, we want you to get noticed, too, but we want it to be for the right reasons. A lot of people don’t realize that intangibles, like attitude, knowledge of the game, and appearance, can play a big role in making or breaking your chances of playing for a team.
You may wonder what we mean by “intangibles.” We are talking about things that can’t be physically touched. They have nothing to do with your athletic skill set, but you can be sure that coaches are looking for them. Intangibles include not only your attitude, your knowledge of the game, and your outward appearance (height, weight, fitness level) but also things like your ability to be in the right position, your understanding of the unwritten rules of the game, your ability to focus, and whether or not you can think on your feet.
For example, let’s say that there is a player who is interested in playing at a D1 school on the West Coast. We will call him Carl. If it were up to Carl’s talent and athleticism alone, there is little chance that he would be considered for a spot on the team. Sure, Carl is a good player, but to play at the school he is interested in, he would have to be one of the top prospects of the region. Carl attended the showcase for his dream school and the coaches immediately noticed his attitude and his hustle, and that he looked like and carried himself like a ballplayer.
Now Carl may not end up getting a roster spot on the team, but that is not the point. The point is that even though he may not be expected by many recruiters to be a great player, he may get a shot to play at one of the top schools in the country because of his intangibles. Carl is buying himself additional opportunities: he is getting noticed for the right reasons. Intangibles are things that every player can control through hard work and effort.
On the flip side, many players of all different talent levels get crossed off of coaches’ lists before they even step between the foul lines. You don’t want to get noticed because you look lazy, distracted, slow, or careless. That would be getting noticed for the wrong reasons.
In this podcast, we list 10 things (you are in complete control over!) that you can do to get noticed for the right reasons. Listen in!
Daily KPB| College Coaches Want Players Who Respect Others
College coaches want players who respect others. Seems simple, right? You'd be surprised how man players get crossed off of recruiting lists not for the way they play the game, but because coaches see them having negative interactions with coaches, teammates, umpires, opponents, and parents. If you have any doubt about what people would say about you following an interactions with them, it's time to get to work mending those relationships. Respect is a cornerstone of successful college baseball programs and coaches will be spending a lot of time finding out if you respect others and will be a respectful member of their baseball community. For more, check out the written article here.
Daily KPB| Recruiters Want Players Who Can Stay Focused
This article shadows the lessons from our written article of by the same title, which you can read HERE.
We strongly suggest reading the written article as well and reading the entire article series about a fictional recruit named Alex, who experiences many of the same recruiting situations that you will. The series uses real life stories and feedback from college coaches to teach valuable recruiting lessons. Learn it from Alex so you don't have to learn it the hard way yourself!
Among the lessons discussed are:
1. Every time you are at the field, you may be being evaluated (before the game, in the dugout, during pre-game, during the game, in between games, etc.)
2. You won't have your best day every single time you are at the field, but find a way to be mentally and physically present each time, even if that means having a good "bad day".
3. You passion and involvement (intangibles that have nothing to do with your on-field skills) speak very loudly to college coaches. Disinterested players get little interest from college coaches.
4. Show how involved you are with actions and attitude that help your team win
5. We recap some don'ts around the field!
Listen in for more!
42| Joe Moroney (Founder, Always Grind)
In this episode...
We sit down with former Kansas Jayhawk outfielder and Always Grind Founder, Joe Moroney. Moroney describes his journey from walk-on with a no guarantee of a roster spot as a freshman to team captain as a senior. In the episode, we discuss Moroney's transformation from an undersized role player into one of the Big 12's best outfielders and a professional baseball career. Among the topics discussed are the role or patience, persistence, and process in the college search, building good habits as a high school player to ease the difficult transition to college, and how to use notebooks to improve your development plan and help yourself get recruited.
Whether you are just starting the recruiting process or entering your senior year with nowhere to play at the next level, you'll draw inspiration and insight from Moroney's story or persistence and success. Listen in for more!
D1, Recruiting, Contact List, Walk-On, Power 5, Patience, Persistence, Planning, Habit Building, Day in the Life, Journaling, Baseball Journal, Always Grind, Notebooks
Daily KPB| You Need a Strength and Conditioning Program
This is the audio version for the blog article, You need A Strength and Conditioning Plan
Every year, we ask college baseball players what advice they would give high school guys trying to make a successful transition to college baseball. Every year, we get some variation of the response above: “Get in the weight room!”
Take the advice of the guys who have lived the experience and survived the difficult transition to college baseball. If you want to play college baseball, you need a strength program in high school. Building a baseline level of functional strength is incredibly important for recruiting and to be prepared for the rigorous college season. Functional strength means strength that is useful to performing baseball specific movements more efficiently. A strength and conditioning program that improves functional strength is the answer to many baseball deficiencies and allows a player to throw and hit harder, run faster, bend and move more efficiently, stay healthy and much more.
So what does this mean for recruits wanting to play baseball in college? Plain and simple, make building functional strength a big part of your development plan. As we discuss in our article, Why Size and Physicality Matter in Recruitment, college coaches are looking to recruit physical players. While not everyone develops physically at the same time and not everyone can be 6’3”/205, everyone can add strength and mobility that will help them perform better, stay healthy, and get recruited. Getting in the weight room consistently is one of the single most important things you can do for your development. A quality strength and conditioning program in high school provides the base and preparation necessary to make significant gains in college when your body matures and allows you to improve as a player by leaps and bounds.
So how do you go about creating a quality strength and conditioning program? We share some basic exercises you can do in this guest blog by former college baseball standout and PT Alex Wirta, but there are many people who offer great strength and conditioning advice specific to baseball for free. Here are five of our favorite free resources that are well known in the baseball community:
- Eric Cressey, Cressey Performance
- Driveline Baseball, Baseball Development Powerhouse and Industry Leader
- Ryan Faer , Cleveland Indians
- Zach Dechant, TCU Baseball S&C
- Coastal Carolina Baseball’s S&C Team
All 5 of these resources share a wealth of strength and conditioning information and are a must follows on social media. Their blogs are linked above and they are also easy to find on Twitter. These resources are a great place to start doing your research and summer is a great time to learn about and implement a strength and conditioning plan that is right for you. Don’t wait, it’s time to get to work!
Disclaimer: As always get approval from your parents, doctor, and school strength coach before you start any conditioning program.
Daily KPB| Standing Out to Recruiters is Easier Than You Think!
Standing out to college coaches recruiting at your games doesn’t have to be rocket science. In fact, it’s a lot easier than you might think.
This time of year, college recruiters are crisscrossing the country to see hundreds, if not thousands of high school or travel ball games. Recruiters are working night and day to find and sift through hundreds of players to come up with one, two, or just a few of the “right guys” to fill out a roster for 2020 and beyond.
It might seem impossible to stand out in the crowd of prospective players. How can you get noticed among hundreds of players at a tournament? How do you rise above the other 100 names on a recruiter’s lists? How do you avoid getting crossed off the lists? We asked a recruiter and he told us that it’s simpler than you think:
“In the dog days of summer, everyone gets a little worn down and tired. I would be lying if I told you there weren’t days when I didn’t feel like scouting and recruiting. Days when I don’t feel like driving several hours, sitting in the heat to watch games, and driving back. Days when I am sick of living out of cheap motels and eating late-night fast food. But, every time I step out of my car to watch a game, I find a way to be present. I find a way to put my emotions and feelings aside, lock in, and have a productive day. I have complete control over my ability to be in the present moment and the kids who are playing in front of me deserve my complete attention. As a result, most of the time when I leave the ballpark, I leave thankful for getting to do a job I love and happy I showed up that day.
Players need to be able to do the same. Baseball is not a chore, it’s a game. And it’s a game you are playing by choice. It is supposed to be fun. The number one way to get crossed off a recruiter’s list is by acting uninterested or like you don’t want to be there. The players that make it to the next level, play the game present in the moment. They are engaged in the game, and as a result, they play one step ahead, they play the game hard, with effort, the way it was meant to be played.”
In other words, hundreds of guys are out there not running hard when they ground out or hit a fly ball. Hundreds of guys are not hustling on and off the field. Hundreds of guys are making mental errors and forgetting the game situation or they are looking tired and disinterested on the field. Hundreds of guys are not moving with the pitch, not anticipating the back-up position, and not making the effort to congratulate a teammate on a good inning, at bat or defensive play.
These are the guys that get crossed off the lists. College coaches don’t want to watch this.
So, if you want to stand out when the recruiter comes to your school or sees you at a big tournament, you need to play like you want to be there. You need to play hard so that it leaves as lasting impression and makes you stand out from the crowd. Do you remember the first day you started with a team (high school or travel ball) that you thought was going to be really, really good? Do remember the first time you did something during an important game that led to a win? You need to bring back the energy, fun, and confidence that you had on those days and keep it on the field with you during every game that a recruiter sees you play.
You’ll stand out if you run hard, play hard, stay focused, are aware of the game situation, and play to win. It’s that simple. You might even end up on that list of guys that recruiters are spending all that time looking for.