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What is the Off-season like for D1 (or other collegiate) Baseball players?

MonagHusker

Recruit
5 Year Member
I had a recent conversation with a parent of one of my daughter's teammates whose oldest son is playing baseball at a JUCO this upcoming fall. At one point they talked about some fall baseball that they do, which I had no clue even took place.

1) Is this something that is unique to JUCOs or do other NCAA/NAIA schools do something similar?

2) Otherwise, what is the off-season like? I guess all I sort of know is the football side of things, but now I have kids in other sports at the HS level and I have a chance to see the other things they take part in when not "in season."
 

Deer&Ducks

Recruit
5 Year Member
For the players and teams that take things seriously, baseball is year-round. There is a specific number of fall ball practices allowed, but many players work out beyond that on their own, often with teammates. There's lifting and conditioning through the winter months. Basically, the type of schedule the football team at UNL keeps (in-season, winter conditioning, off-season) isn't all that dissimilar from what we did playing baseball. Not too many days off from August to June.
 

BW22SM

Recruit
What happened to this reply? I thought I read it late last night and was planning to reply. I don't recall there being anything controversial.
Crap. I went back & edited to add a few things. Thought I pasted the reply but evidently I screwed up. Feel free to respond from memory or ask questions...
 

MonagHusker

Recruit
5 Year Member
Crap. I went back & edited to add a few things. Thought I pasted the reply but evidently I screwed up. Feel free to respond from memory or ask questions...
I think the gist of what you had was that JUCO has different and varied rules, including fall baseball. IIRC you referred to it as a "grind."

Prior to the last few years, and likely because much of what formed my knowledge was football related, I always thought JUCO was the stop of kids that needed to get their grades (or act) together. I also always had it in my mind that four-year universities were the only route for people. I'm starting to realize more and more that JUCOs offer something else. In terms of the smaller sports, it is my understanding that since JUCO is less expensive and they can offer more in terms of scholarships, a lot of players will do that the first two seasons for what I believe they hope may turn out to be future D1 offers or draft eligibility?

If any of the above is inaccurate please let me know.

1) Are there any advantages to the "grind" from a player development standpoint?

2) Could the NCAA borrow anything from that? I see that the volleyball team, basketball team, and soccer (I know Creighton's did) at minimum take international trips. I take it baseball doesn't have this, or are those trips something that those teams take knowing that it might impact other allotted practice times?
 

BuffaloRed

Recruit
I coached JUCO baseball in the Jayhawk Conference in the early 90's. Practices were unlimited. Games in the fall counted toward the total number of games you could play for the year. You could assume you would lose a few games in the spring to weather so we would schedule 8 or 10 game dates in the fall then play 20+ innings until the pitching ran out on those dates.

Now for the original question about the summer...coaches place kids in leagues from Alaska to Kansas to the Cape for summer league play. I spent a summer in Alaska and Arizona coaching kids and it is all about working on weaknesses and playing great competition. Pitchers would work on curve balls or change ups to improve for the college team. A hitter may work on a drag bunt, or second position for the same reason.
 

BW22SM

Recruit
I think the gist of what you had was that JUCO has different and varied rules, including fall baseball. IIRC you referred to it as a "grind."

Prior to the last few years, and likely because much of what formed my knowledge was football related, I always thought JUCO was the stop of kids that needed to get their grades (or act) together. I also always had it in my mind that four-year universities were the only route for people. I'm starting to realize more and more that JUCOs offer something else. In terms of the smaller sports, it is my understanding that since JUCO is less expensive and they can offer more in terms of scholarships, a lot of players will do that the first two seasons for what I believe they hope may turn out to be future D1 offers or draft eligibility?

If any of the above is inaccurate please let me know.

1) Are there any advantages to the "grind" from a player development standpoint?

2) Could the NCAA borrow anything from that? I see that the volleyball team, basketball team, and soccer (I know Creighton's did) at minimum take international trips. I take it baseball doesn't have this, or are those trips something that those teams take knowing that it might impact other allotted practice times?
Pretty spot on response. The purpose of JUCO baseball compared to football & basketball are 9 out of 10 times complete opposite. Football & hoops are for academic purposes majority of the times while baseball is for (a) keep draft status, (b) limited scholarship amount for 4 year schools, (c) continued development. Academic casualties is another reason although that's far down the list plus there are a few other reasons.

I'm not aware that baseball has that luxury like basketball, volleyball and soccer.

As far as "the grind" - unlimited hours of practices, workouts, same day bus trips, pb&j's for breakfast/lunch/dinner, low level hotels with 4 or 5 dudes per room (sharing 2 double or queen beds), and a whole lot more that's not available at a JUCO compared to 4-year schools. JUCO ball isn't made for everyone and if you continue playing after JUCO ball, in my opinion, it shows you have a true love, passion and desire to play the game. It can and will eat you up quickly.
 
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Deer&Ducks

Recruit
5 Year Member
All that about JUCO ball is also true; I was referring to 4-year schools. We had very few academic issues at Hutch in baseball, and the women's sports - not the case with football and basketball, though there were plenty of guys on those teams who were there for the development to get a shot at a D1 scholarship.
 

MonagHusker

Recruit
5 Year Member
Thanks for all the replies. A few more things to see if I got it and maybe a question or two.

1) For NCAA (presumably NAIA and JUCO as well), players have the means of getting work in on the off-season, but it's done at their own time, expense, and outside of their team.

2) JUCO offers less limits to the amount of practice time available and possibly games (though there is a cap).

Some of my questions --

1) For those that survive the JUCO "grind" and go to the minors, do they find themselves to be better prepared for that grind?

2) Are there JUCO schools that tend to be more draft feeders and other that are more D1 feeders, or is it really more of a player-by-player thing?

3) What are the advantages of going to say the University of Nebraska out of HS, if your end goal is professional baseball? (I was thinking more in terms of non-academic.)

Thanks as always, and I might have more questions down the road.
 
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