It takes planning as your player approaches high school. With players already committing in their freshman and sophomore seasons to top D1 programs, the clock is already ticking for those already in high school. How do you know if your player is on track? Do you know if your player is above average or below average in terms of his tools? Where should he be in terms of his development at certain ages? Which tournaments should he be playing in? Which showcases? When should he attend those events? Which showcase teams should he consider? And the list goes on and on. What I needed to help my son was a blueprint. I thought about some of the more successful players in our state. One player came to mind who had verbally committed to FSU and was later drafted in the first round. He played the same position as my son. I asked a simple question:
What was his blueprint?
Now this player may not have had it all mapped out in advance, but I could easily get a feel for his blueprint by looking at his history. How? I looked up his player profile on Perfect Game. This is not a plug for PG, but it’s a pretty impressive resource if you know what you’re looking for. A player’s profile will map all his PG events from the very start! It will show his height and weight along the way. More importantly, it will also show his results at showcases. How fast was he running the 60-yard dash? How fast could he throw it across the infield? You can even watch videos of the player hitting, fielding, running. This will allow you to map his progression through the years. You can also go to other sites like Prospect Wire and Prospect Select to get the players history from their events to make a more complete picture. Then you put it all on a spreadsheet that is separated in 12 seasons.
Why 12 seasons?
The three main baseball seasons for a player in high school are fall, summer, spring. A player is usually in high school for four years. So, my elementary math tells me there are 12 seasons that you need to plan for. At least four of those seasons (each spring) are committed to playing for the high school team. Now you’re down to just eight seasons to plan for. Being able to see what other players have done in those eight seasons is extremely valuable. You can find players that are position specific to your son and map out their progression. We picked a SS that went pro. Not because I had visions of my son being drafted out of high school. My thinking was that if the blueprint had led that player to a college commitment and draft pick, then maybe, just maybe, if my son could track somewhere close to that blueprint then at least college baseball might be in his future.
But please understand that this player’s blueprint was dependent on how he played. He played for one of the best showcase teams in the country and became their starting shortstop. That same team won their way into some major events which led to even more recognition and blueprint opportunities. His own play led him to be invited to National Showcases and Professional Showcases. His blueprint was built on progressive success. Any prolonged blip or plateau in his abilities would have altered the blueprint. So, in other words, if your player doesn’t have the same ability or isn’t tracking to those same abilities, it will be impossible for him to follow this kid’s blueprint. But you can try. It is something to shoot for.
Find a prototype player.
Find a successful player that played the same position as your son in showcase ball. When that player first started out, did he have similar height, weight, speed, and arm velocity as your son? If so, map out that player’s progression and use it to start building your own son’s blueprint. You will quickly discover that your player’s own progression (unless he is part of the freak show) will be heavily dependent on strength and conditioning, as well as individual skill development, otherwise he will run the risk of falling too far off track. More on this in another post. You can also mix in some college camps as well. Click here to read my take on college camps.
Here’s what the blueprint looked like for the player we tracked. See how and when he progressed from 7.2 to 6.77 in the 60-yard dash and went from throwing 81 to 93 mph across the diamond?