Everyone has their own regrets when it comes to different aspects of their life. We would all like the chance to go back and redo something for which we now have superior knowledge. Baseball is no different. When you look back on your career, you realize there are so many things you didn't understand that you could have benefited from knowing. Hopefully, reading this note will help prevent you from making some of the same mistakes that myself and other players made in their careers.
Understand the Game
A major regret I had as a baseball player was not understanding why problems were occurring and what adjustments were required to fix those problems. It's amazing how little you actually know about the sport until you take the time to really understand it. You can get so caught up in all the different things going on that you don't reflect on what's really happening with yourself. My suggestion to everyone that's about to enter college baseball is to learn as much as you can about the game. If you really want to understand it, find someone to whom you can teach it. You can learn so much about the game by teaching it because it forces you to think about different aspects of the game that you normally take for granted. Analyzing other peoples’ swings for example can ultimately help you understand your own swing.
One thing I wish I knew as a player was what I needed to do to get the most out of myself. If you actually sit back and try to honestly assess yourself, you have a chance to understand what type of player you are. For example, it’s important to determine what type of hitter you’re going to be. You may have an idea without really thinking about it but take time to figure out what you are. Too many people think they’re homerun hitters and during batting practice they want to see how far they can hit a baseball instead of using those reps to help them become type of hitter they should be. I've seen too many batting practices turn into homerun derbies by guys that will never hit a homerun in a game. They just turn out to be wasted swings that do not help your progress as a hitter. Go into college with a plan of what type of player you are and take as many positive reps as possible that will enhance your skills in that direction.
Don't Expect Anything
Another thing I would have done differently is I would have not let anything catch me off-guard. I learned to never expect your coach to think like you because no coach will agree with everything you think. You never know what your coach's plan is, so don't expect anything; the season will never turn out how you thought it would. There's a good chance your best hitter will not be your best hitter, your best pitcher won't be your best pitcher and a player you think will never play, will end up having a major role on the team. What this taught me was that you never know what will be expected from you so keep all your options open. Prepare for everything you can and have a positive attitude with everything you're doing. It seemed that the players with best attitudes exceeded expectations more often than not.
The truth is, no one is fully prepared to play college baseball. Some are more prepared than others but no one can understand what is required until they've completed the process. If you're entering college, find someone that has already experienced college baseball and ask questions and listen to what they have to say about the experience. Everyone is going to have their own take on how things work and what you should do to put yourself in the best position possible to succeed. Be prepared so you can do whatever you can not to be the person who should have done things differently.