One thing that is often forgotten by many athletes looking to play at the collegiate level is the structure of a college athletic program. In comparison, playing a sport in college correlates more to a high school program then a summer travel team. At the collegiate level, the intensity (and frequency) of practices require far more focus and effort.
When searching for a potential collegiate program, athletes should look at the recruiting patterns of the coach. For example, if the coach recruits players with larger frames to play the corner infield positions, or makes use of the shorter, quicker wide receivers that are passed over by larger programs because of their size, understand that if you are a 5′ 10′ 170 lb third basemen, you may not receive as much immediate consideration from that particular coach. This can also work to your advantage, however. If a coach looks for at least one or two “crafty” relief pitchers on his roster every year, lower velocity numbers may not be a concern to him. Understand how a coach’s thought process works with regards to the development of players in his current program, and you can better tell if the program is a good fit for you. Many college bound at least forget that once you are on the roster, you still have to work. Obtaining playing time for a college team is nothing short of cutthroat-in many cases more effort is required of you once you make the roster. Show the coach unquenchable desire to work (both on and off the field) and an insatiable appetite to improve, and you will be given more opportunities due to your work ethic. Also be aware of other constraints that a coach may enforce-many high level baseball programs require that every team member play in a summer collegiate league.
An athlete that wants to play in college does not have to start forming this attitude on the first day of collegiate practice. Many successful college athletes were not the most talented players on their high school teams. The ones that work the hardest and the most consistently will be the ones to play at the highest levels of sports. To quote Cal Ripken Sr, a former MLB manager and coach, “Practice doesn’t make perfect-perfect practice makes perfect.” His 2 sons both went on to play in the Major Leagues, and one of them has a nice little plaque up on a wall in Cooperstown, so I’d say that worked out pretty well for him.