Where We Go From Here

When we meet again!

Sunday, April 12th… Easter… The world still remains “closed for business.”  The bases are empty.  No one is in the batter’s box or on the mound.  No seeds, gum chewing, and definitely no spitting!  So where do we go from here in our baseball lives?  There are some answers to that question.  And the answers depend upon which segment of the baseball universe and population we talk about.  As a program, we are in a “New Busy.”  We prepare for the day we can resume.  Contingencies warrant consideration and imagination.  We will be ready when the time comes to take the field again.  For Ruffnecks in the classes of 2021 and 2022 it has never been busier off the field in March and April.  Why?  Because the baseball universe has changed and continues to change.  There are more questions than answers for players who aspire to play in college.  And everyone has lost the high school season to a “season-ending calamity” no one expected.  So what do we do about it?

The Wise Player: Academic Performance Rewarded

The “New Busy” for Ruffnecks players turns to the classroom.  Many Ruffnecks players in the classes of 2021 and 2022 have reached out to arrange individual conference calls to review their personal profiles along with the developments in NCAA recruiting.  These are the most proactive players.  They are the wise players who ask questions, review their academic performance, and develop self-awareness.  They reconsider and search for colleges and universities where they can be competitive candidates without baseball. Why is this important?  Because the baseball snapshot is frozen in a state of suspended animation, but the academic profile is not!  Those with strong performances in the classroom will likely have more doors open to them.  No player has an opportunity to present himself on the field.  It does not matter if he is from Massachusetts or Texas.  But all players can hunker down, become better students, better writers, better readers, better communicators.  All players can take practice SAT or ACT tests, whether they can afford a tutor or not.  All players can move the needle on their academic performance and what they present to colleges as students.  And frankly, those who have been good students all along are better positioned because when Vanderbilt does not recruit them, there are plenty of schools at various competitive levels that may be options for admission with or without baseball.

The Dedicated Athlete

There are things to do to advance athletic fortunes as well.  Athletes have control of core strength and conditioning.  Access to a gym is not necessary.  There are hills to climb and run up.  There a flat distances over which to sprint.  There are videos of core strengthening techniques to learn from.  And Amazon still delivers bands, barbells, and other accoutrements to set up your own “gym” work area.  The dedicated athlete can get faster, get stronger, become more flexible.  Hitters will find a way to hit and swing a bat.  Pitchers and position players have every opportunity to develop arm strength during this period of suspended time.  Make your arm a stand-out tool! Keen-eyed coaches and college recruiters will see those who did the work during this time.  Pitchers who are “ready to go” will outshine those who ask out of a game because their arm is sore or not ready.  Injured players have time to heal.  There is no reason NOT to be ready!

Beware of False Promises

Players and families ask about the emails, offers, and enticements from baseball outfits, recruiting services, etc.  There are many opportunists seeking to profit from this disaster.  We get the emails too.  Organizations offer “free” info sessions that lead to the sales pitch for something else.  Others rush people to register for July and August events that claim to make up for the exposure lost in April and May.  Some even offer free tokens for their batting cages that are closed!!!  Beware!  Stay the course.  No one can see anyone play right now… and unfortunately, no one knows when or where baseball will resume.  So stay the course on what you can control.

What Ruffnecks Coaches & Program Counselors Are Doing

Virtual 13U Practice

Ruffnecks coaches continue to engage our players on the 13U and 14U roster.  We conduct virtual practices… who would have imagined?!  But we have fun and we see each other.  We fill in gaps of baseball knowledge, history, and provide direction to work on skills.  Players have direction to work individually or with siblings, parents, or a trusted friend with proper social distancing.

On the college recruiting front, we are busy keeping abreast of the changes in rules, guidelines, and general landscape with college coaches and conferences.  We continue to present our players to colleges and respond to those players who initiate conversations and seek guidance (See “The Wise Player”).  We maintain communication among our core of Ruffnecks coaches, many of whom are high school or prep coaches (also in a suspended baseball universe).  We share ideas, commiserate, but largely plan for the resumption of action, discussing how to help our players.  We love what we do.