Time, Money, and Your Player’s Development: Part 2

Written By: Chas Pippitt

IMG_0874As Justin and I illustrated in Part 1 of this article, Travel Baseball and the misinformation associated with it can cost parents and players tons of time.  Justin and I are going to talk about how Travel and Showcase Baseball is BIG BUSINESS.  Showcase Baseball and Travel Baseball are literally multi-million dollar industries.  We are constantly advising and clarifying what they are, mean, and can-and-cannot do for our clients both inside I.T.S. Baseball and online through Baseball Rebellion.  They all say the same thing:  We MUST PLAY Showcase Baseball because that’s ‘the only way for college coaches to see you’.  And while Justin and I do admit that, for the right player at the right time,  a showcase baseball team/tournament/camp can be extremely beneficial for a high level polished player, most players do not fit that mold.

Let me ask you these questions:

  • What are you REALLY showcasing?  
  • Is your player ready for showcase ball?  
  • Think about the players on his high school team…is he the best player?  
  • How big and fast is he compared to the others on his team?  
  • Does he start on the varsity team as a freshman or sophomore?  
  • What level of college ball is realistic for your son to play at?   

Around here, everyone wants to go to UNC but there are other great baseball and academic schools such as NC State, ECU, Coastal Carolina, Clemson, UVA, or South Carolina.  That’s 6 top 20 teams in about a 200 mile radius!  There’s just so much competition to get one of those roster slots and these schools can recruit heavily from the Southeast, California, Arizona and Texas making your chances even more slim if you’re not a top level player.

In your job, would you bring a proposal to your boss that isn’t finished yet?  Maybe it’s almost done, but has a few typos or a picture missing…perhaps a graph out of place.  What would the response from your boss be?  She’d probably say that your presentation wasn’t ready to be pitched and to either go back to the drawing board, or tell you to do better in the future and we’re going to go with another proposal.  In my career, I have directly advised 1 player to play showcase baseball as a freshman in high school…1 player…EVER.  And it was greatly beneficial for him.  He was ready to hit in the top 3 of a top 10 team nationally and he dominated the competition.

IMG_0873Here’s my point:  Many people are showcasing talent that is just not ready for prime time.  If you run a 7.9 60 yard dash as a 15 year old freshman infielder…do you need to play for a 2500 dollar showcase baseball team?  There are showcase teams around my area that have 3 and 4 ‘$howca$e teams at EACH AGE LEVEL and yes, I wrote “Showcase Teams” that way on purpose!  How is that anything but a money grab?  More importantly, is that even the best way that 2500 dollars can be spent on your player’s development?

This is what a $2500 13 week SUMMER DEVELOPMENTAL TRAINING regimen for a hitter could look like:

  • 13 weekly hitting lessons (650 dollars, 50 dollars a week)
  • 26 hour long group speed and agility classes (350 dollars, one time up front fee)
  • 26 45 minute Sport Specific Personal Training Sessions (750 dollars, one time up front fee)
  • 6 Muscle Activation Sessions (500 dollars, one time up front cost)
  • 3 month Gym Membership (120 dollars, 3 month trial no contract)
  • 3 tubs of GNC Whey Protein or Weight Gainer 2500 (130 dollars, with shipping, one time cost)

So, that’s 2500 dollars…and a LOT more physical and skill development than 2 at bats a game at small colleges and high school fields with no coaches in the stands…You must remember, these coaches cannot even SPEAK to your son until they’re juniors in high school.  No phone calls, no emails.  You can call them, but they cannot even call you back if they miss your call or the call cuts off!  So if you are 14 or 15 years old, and thinking about playing Showcase Baseball, is that really a smart decision?

Is this car ready to be sold looked at and sold?

Is this car ready to be sold looked at and sold?

Showcase ball 10 years ago was really elite baseball.  For instance, Justin’s Showcase Baseball team featured NY Mets 3rd Baseman David Wright, Cleveland Indians 3rd Baseman Mark Reynolds, Atlanta Braves OF BJ Upton, and Washington Nationals 3rd Baseman Ryan Zimmerman.  Not to mention 2 other future first round draft picks…NOW THAT IS SHOWCASE BASEBALL TALENT!!!  Then, business people figured out how to scale it and bring it to the masses for profit.  Great business, but ethically, I’m not sure all these teams have the right motives in mind.  Legion baseball is plenty of games and plenty of experience for many players.  There’s no need to travel to the World Wood Bat Tournament if you’re not down there with real chances to get a scholarship to at least a mid level division 1 school.

That's more like it!  Same car,  evaluated at different times...

That’s more like it! Same car, evaluated at different times…

Now let me be clear, you dont have to be a Porshe level player to go to a showcase or play on a showcase team.  If you’ve got a pretty good handle on what level player you are, check out that level of school, figure out what you want to study and attend that school’s camps.  Many players at Division 2 and 3 schools are signed right out of camps on those campuses.  Remember this:  It only takes one school to like you for you to go play.  You don’t need to go to EVERY camp and play in EVERY tournament.  Make smart choices about when and where you attempt to play and ask for guidance if needed.

There are many showcase camps up north where southern players have a real chance to excel at and stand out in due to the weather down south lending itself to extra practice time.  Division 2 and 3 schools as well as junior colleges are always looking for walk on players or low scholarship guys with good grades that can help the program.  So whether you’re a Ferarri First Rounder or a Division 3 used Datsun Truck, there’s a time and place for you to showcase your skills that fits your ability level the best.

Practice, prepare, and then unveil a polished product to be evaluated by scouts and recruiting coordinators alike.  If you’re unsure of how to do that, ask a question in the comments section or Hire Justin or Hire Chas for some online training.  Let us help you increase your chances of success by putting your best foot forward the first time you’re out there.  Just as easily as you can get a scholarship, you can be written off with bad 60 yard dash times and a bad few at bats.  I’m not writing this article to scare people or to condemn Showcase Baseball, I’m simply pointing out the different ways to get what you probably want:  A better chance for your son to play in college.  Money is money.  Time is time.  And the one thing they have in common is that once their spent, they’re gone.  Here’s to hoping you spend your money and time in the wisest and best ways possible at the best times for your player.

Chas Pippitt and Justin Orenduff, Leaders of the Baseball Rebellion



5 thoughts on "Time, Money, and Your Player’s Development: Part 2"

  1. Cannon says:

    So what would be the best showcase? And when to know when you are ready?

  2. Blane says:

    How to know when you are showcase ready? What are some measurements to know?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Blane and Cannon,

      Showcases (camps) are really only good for the super athletic. Meaning, if you throw over 90 (86 for lefties) can hit multiple home runs in BP with wood (10 pitches) or run a great 60 time (6.7 or better for middle infield/cf, 6.9 or better 3b or corner outfield). Catchers need a sub 2.0 pop time.

      If those numbers don’t match up for you…I’d suggest investing in instruction or personal training…not showcases.


  3. Chris DeFlitch says:

    Thank you for these two articles. I’m working to develop a player development program for our youth sports program in Hershey, PA. Would you permit me to use parts and components of these articles in the work?

  4. Jim says:

    Good article. Here in MN, travel ball, legion ball, club team, and elite teams are important as compared to school ball. Our schools seasons are 6 week with tough weather. This Spring has been mild so games are getting played per the schedule. In the past several years, it has been really tough to get games in with all the cold crappy weather.

    So with that in mind, our summer season is really important.

    I see showcase ball as an opportunity for special ballplayers who need elite competition. Those are rare. Hs athletes develop at different times. For those who develop early and are great players, showcase teams make perfect sense. For most, if not nearly all, regular travel and legion ball are perfect.

    The instances of players finding themselves late in high school or college ball is endless. Work on your game, develop strength, and love game. If you do this patiently, the game will love you back.

    Finally, don’t let others define you or your future in baseball or any other sport. Define yourself.

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