Going off to college is exciting, know there is a whole new baseball world that's waiting for you is even more exciting. I just finished my freshman year of college and I wanted to share some of the things I wish I had known/ I learned.
Disclaimer: This is written from a players perspective of college baseball, so there will some things that parents probably won't want to know about.
- Understand that you are a freshman: It doesn't matter if you're the number 1 recruit in your class or a walk-on, you're the lowest man on the totem pole and will have to do all the work upperclassmen don't want to.
- Leave HS in the past: Don't be the guy that shows up to the first day of workouts in his HS gear. Frankly, everything you did in HS, doesn't matter anymore; awards, stats, recognitions, wins, losses, etc. Try not to bring it up as much as possible. Also just leave all your HS shirts and stuff at home.
- Learn some feel: If you don't know what this means, having feel is basically a summation of character traits that make you likable and not a jerk. Things like knowing your audience, understanding your tone, knowing when to speak and when not to speak, common sense, being a good teammate, etc. For example Veteran pitcher hangs a curveball and gives up a mammo nuke then gets pulled. He goes over to the bench and is sitting by himself. Going over to him and telling him if he just got that pitch down he would've been good. That's having no feel and will probably get you beat up.
- The Fall: The fall is your time to earn respect from the returners. Your performance in the fall will not earn you a spot in the lineup but will earn you a roster spot. Compete every day, on the field, in the weight room, during conditioning. Your best bet during fall practices is to keep your ears and eyes open and your mouth shut. Observe how the veterans starters approach practice.
- Parties: Go to them, if drinking isn't your thing then don't. But still, go to have a good time. The best memories you're going to make in college are going to be off the field. And the whole "college baseball is a full-time job" thing is a myth. You're going to have more downtime than you think, it's just a matter of using your time during the day for classwork so you can have fun at night and on weekends.
- Social Status: You are a baseball player, that means you'll be treated differently by the administration, professors, and your peers. The administration won't like you because they hate athletes for whatever reason, professors will either love or hate you, no in-between. As for students, the girls will love you. Yes, cleat chasers are a thing and will make themselves known very quickly. You'll get along with the other athletes except for probably soccer because they're soft. The regular male students probably won't like you because you're better than them. All in all, be friends with athletes, hang out with athlete/sorority girls and you'll be fine. That being said, no means no and the absence of no doesn't mean yes, you idiot.
- Hazing: You'll probably be hazed, it won't be anything too bad. That's all I'm going to say
- New Gear: One of the best days in college baseball is when all the new gear arrives, it's sick. Don't be the guy that wears it around campus all the time. Everyone will know you are a baseball player by the way you carry yourself and the company you keep, so there's no reason to wear baseball branded shirts, shorts, hats all the time.
- Game Hats: Game hats are for the baseball field only. Not class, not parties, not the cafeteria.......the baseball field only.
- Returners: If there is a baseball party or a returner invites you to something, go. The best way to get in good graces so to speak with the returners is just to be normal person. Don't try to inflate yourself or anything like that, just be you.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions: If you aren't sure about something or how something is going to work just ask an upperclassmen. Because at the end of the day, we all have the same goal: to win a national championship. But this is where having feel comes in, you have to pick your time to ask right or you run the risk of getting roasted.
College baseball is fun. It will be the best 4 years of your life bar none. However, freshman year will suck because quite frankly you are a bitch. There will be good days and there will be bad days, you just have to keep your head down and keep going.
God's Speed, Frosh