Your son will spend hours upon hours, years upon years, perfecting his game in order to make it to the next level. But in a single moment, that dream can vanish right before his eyes. I’ve seen it first-hand with other players and you bet that I’ve leveraged those teaching moments with my son. Here’s what we’ve seen, unfortunately. Feel free to comment and add to the list.
The quickest way for a player to “fail” off a college coach’s list is to show disrespect or even the slightest perception of disrespect to authority. Argue with the coach. Yell at the umpire. Talk back to your family members. Mouth-off to the other team in a string of profanity. Don’t look your coach in the eye when he is talking with you. POST something disrespectful (or even “like” something disrespectful) in Social Media. He’s off the list. Those things aren’t a problem for your son? Great. College coaches want respectful young men. Period. And fellas, mix in a “yes sir” every now and then.
The second quickest way for a player to “fail” off a coach’s list is outright laziness. For example, hit a pop fly and trot to first. Hit a routine grounder to second and jog halfway down the basepath without ever reaching first before heading back to the dugout. Pop fly that is “probably” out of play in foul territory but the fielder doesn’t even move. An outfielder lets a ball drop as he jogs into the general area. You don’t hustle in and out of the dugout. In between innings, the infielder takes ground balls from the edge of the infield grass and lollipops throws over to first. Good luck with that. I’m sure you can comment dozens more.
Throw a bat. Toss a glove. Slam the helmet. Knock over the water cooler. Punch a wall. Kick the dirt. And the angry list goes on. Zero negative emotion is the expectation. Of course, sometimes a player will yell into his glove or punches it to get himself going. And this may be okay. But it really comes down to the perception of the coach recruiting you. If it comes across as negative or if it has the effect of bringing down the team or impacting your next play in the field or at-bat, you’re toast. Why risk it? Zero negative emotion. Besides, don’t let your opponent have the satisfaction/fuel of knowing you’re upset.
Can’t handle high school classes during the fall and spring seasons? Better turn it around because it ain’t getting any easier in college. Coaches need reliable players that will be in the lineup when needed. If the coach has to worry whether you’re going to be academically eligible, they can easily find somebody else who they can depend on, even if their skill set is slightly less than yours.
The player has very little control over this situation and it is very unfair should it hurt the player’s chances of being recruited. But the reality of the situation is that coaches look at this stuff. It shows what the coach might be getting into over the next three to four years. It also shows how much of a distraction the parent might be to the player while in college. A hyperfocus on coaching from the stands will certainly creep over into a very hands-on approach in college which turns off many coaches. Plus if a parent berates a showcase coach, many college coaches may feel the parent won’t support them either which will somehow bleed over into the player’s attitude. Parents, IMHO, need to crack the whip when necessary, show the love when hard times hit, and help keep their player focused amid all the distractions.