Tag Archives: college

5 Baseball Reasons You’re Causing Your Child To Be Over Stressed

In my decade and a half being committed to amateur baseball as a varsity head coach, collegiate pitching coach, professional baseball scout, unofficial draft advisor, elite level amateur coach and organizational head, I have seen, heard and been asked about almost everything. In this post I want to discuss a topic that often comes up – the cost of becoming a good enough baseball player to secure an athletic collegiate scholarship.

The cost I am referring to here includes both monetary and time – by that I mean the commitment of a significant amount of time, both by the parent and the child, to the pursuit of baseball excellence and an athletic scholarship. These two related costs often lead to the child and parent team focusing exclusively on, justifying the expense of, and ultimately expecting a specific result (an athletic scholarship). As a result, far too often the enjoyment of the game gets lost for both parties. There are five main concepts that can ruin the experience for both the child and the parent – while by no means are these the only five, they are the ones that in my experience happen with the most frequency.

First, the player will feel pressure to excel because of the time both they and their parent have invested. This is normal and part of playing baseball, but if you apply too much pressure on yourself, your performance suffers. While this may be something most people know already, a parent openly communicating with their child about not feeling over pressured or overly stressed because of the amount of time invested by either (or both) the child and the parent is the best way to alleviate pressure.

Second, the unrealistic expectation. This may be the most well-known and most-discussed topic within amateur baseball. Far too often, a parent is convinced their child is absolutely, unequivocally, the best player out there. When the child does not perform to the unrealistic expectation, the parent looks for any and all possible excuses. The parent blames the coach, or believes that the child is simply on the wrong team, or that the child isn’t practicing correctly, or practicing often enough. In two parent families, I’ve even seen one parent blame the other parent for the child’s inability to meet an expectation that cannot possibly be reached by the child. The primary result is that the child feels more pressure to perform each time the “excuse” is “remedied” (for example, each time the parent puts the child on a new team as the previous team was part of the problem in the parent’s mind). Also, many parents with unrealistic expectations end up embarrassing the child – every coach in amateur baseball can recall countless times that a parent has confronted the coach regarding their son, only for the son to later apologize to the coach for whatever it is that the parent said.

Third, generally directly related to the second – parents, looking for any reason why their son isn’t the star, will hire specialists. While there are many outstanding specialists out there and in the right circumstances, a specialist working with a child can be quite beneficial, there are also many unqualified ones who prey on well-intended parents in order to line their pockets, with no tangible benefit to the child. It seems that anyone who has played the game of baseball at any level feels they’re qualified to instruct or train players – but only if they are well-compensated for such instruction. Before seeking out a specialist, the best advice I can give is to “do your homework”– both in terms of the specialist in question (compare different specialists, ask coaches or instructors you trust for recommendations, etc.), but also in terms of whether it is right for the child (for example, asking the question what can realistically be gained by working specifically with a specialist). Most importantly, if the player isn’t having fun in the first place, or just doesn’t have the athletic skill, then even the best private instructors won’t make any difference.

Fourth, even a parent who has realistic expectations and does not throw money at a trainer to get the player better can still ruin the experience simply by reinforcing that “winning is the only thing that matters.” In this case, “winning” does not mean winning a game or a tournament, but rather, obtaining an athletic scholarship, or often times, an athletic scholarship to a specific university. Baseball is already an incredibly hard game to play and excel at – putting additional pressure on the child to perform (even with realistic expectations for the child) can often times detract from their enjoyment of the game and their passion to play. Not surprisingly, this can and will hinder their performance. It’s perfectly okay to push, but there is definitely a line, and a parent must be aware and conscious when you are pushing a little (for the child’s best interest), and pushing too hard (often for the parent’s own interests).

Lastly there is the relationship cost between the athlete and their parent. The same way the parent often blames others, the athlete sometimes blames the parent when the desired result isn’t achieved. They blame their parent for their loss of passion for the game, their inability to live up to and achieve the expectations placed upon them and for all of the time they wasted trying to achieve this result. In my opinion, this is the greatest cost, takes the longest time to repair (if at all) and correcting the strained relationship and resentment can take years and years. The best advice to prevent this possibility is open communication between child and parent at all times as to expectation and also as to what the child wants.

The bottom line is that baseball should be played for fun by people who love to play. Genetics and natural development play a huge role in how good a player can ultimately be. Parents have to have realistic expectations as to their child’s chances for an athletic scholarship (or in some cases, a professional contract). There is no reason to alienate yourself from your child because your version of reality is different than what is happening right in front of you. Unrealistic expectations and significant time and monetary investments can also often build a major sense of false hope for the player. Some players are never able to recover when they don’t get that scholarship to their dream University because of the false information they have been fed by their personal coaches, trainers, anybody else who has fiscally benefited from their development, and also because of the amount of time and money both they and their parents spent in order to become good enough to receive such an offer.

There is nothing wrong with paying people to provide the right guidance, instruction and information to your child. But there must be an honest dialogue between all parties (the parent, the child, and any and all coaches) about that player’s ability and whether there is a possible future at the collegiate or professional level. If there is such a dialogue, then the money will be well spent because the child will build character and a strong work ethic, even if there may not be a future for the child at the collegiate or professional level. However, without such a dialogue, then the parent risks firing hard-earned money into a furnace and destroying his or her relationship with the child.

Class of 2017 Commitments

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The New York Nine is honored to announce the collegiate commitments of some members of our class of 2017. We congratulate these student-athletes and their families and know they will represent the organization professionally at the next level.

Daniel Alfonzo INF – Adelphi University

After carrying Bayside High School offensively to the 2017 PSAL “B” Division Championship in New York City, the offensively explosive Alfonzo opted to remain closer to home, spurning larger out of state offers, and will bring his talents to Garden City. Alfonzo possesses tremendous raw power, as he was selected to represent New York City in the prestigious Power Showcase at Marlins Park in Miami in late December. With playable middle infielders hands, he has the potential to become an above average corner defender, while his ability to turn around any fastball will make him a draft selection at some point during his amateur career, possibly as early as June.

Brendan Brooks INF – UC Irvine

With elite middle infield tools, Brooks drew more “did he really just do that?” than anybody. Brendan has exceptional barrel to ball skills and is a good base runner due to his plus instincts and better than average speed. He is also capable of helping on the mound with a high 80s fastball and a knuckleball that will give him a chance to play the game long term should he ever want to focus on its development. Brendan was committed to UC Irvine prior to his arrival for the summer 2016 season.

Austin Cole RHP – Adelphi University

The 6’7″ Cole possesses a loose, clean arm and the type of lanky frame that collegiate coaches and pro scouts search for. Still in his pitching infancy, Austin will continue to get better as he begins to hone his mechanics and gets stronger. Even though there is more work to do, Austin is already up to 91 mph and possesses the type of upside the collegiate and pro communities look for. He is an easy going kid and is as coachable as they come with the translatable athleticism to play the game at the professional level.

Michael Garcia INF/P – University of Rio Grande (OH)

Four year George Washington High School varsity starter Mike Garcia will bring his passionate play and on field leadership to the University of Rio Grande in Ohio in the fall of 2017. Garcia plays the game hard every time out and inspires his teammates through his individual efforts and his vocal encouragement. Whether a key bunt, hit or high pressure defensive play, Garcia doesn’t shy away from the key moment in the game where many would feel “pressure”. To top it off, the Trojan closer competes with an aggressive mid 80’s fastball and solid slider combination which gives the Red Storm an incoming dual threat.

Shandon Herrera RHP/OF – Lubbock Christian (TX)

“Chango” is one of the more interesting roster members of our Scout team. Extremely humble and a fantastic teammate, Herrera offers one of the most athletic sets seen by the Nine in recent years. After passing on offers from major D1 programs, he decided help alleviate the financial burden of college on his parents as well as compete as a two-way player. A super competitive RHP who has been up to 93 with a loose, quick arm and a plus slider, Herrera projects as a player who should one day see 96 plus. Couple that with all around plus offensive tools and desire to be the best player on the field, Shandon may not be much longer for amateur athletics.

Preston Milano INF – Queens (NY) College

St. Francis Preparatory’s defensive leader Milano will transition from a Terrier to a Knight in the fall of 2017 as he looks to solidify Chris Reardon’s infield at Queens College. Milano is a “set it and forget it” middle infielder who is as reliable as they come. Milano is able to anchor both middle infield spots as well as offer an athletic option with plus hands at the hot corner. Preston is the type of selfless player who will do whatever is needed with a team first mentality. A tough out, Milano’s strength is a gap to gap approach that will wear out the right center field gap when he going well.

Mark Novello LHP – Adelphi University

Novello, from Archbishop Molloy HS in Queens, New York won’t be venturing to far to continue his education and athletic development. The southpaw will be heading to Garden City’s Adelphi University and playing under head coach Dom Scala. Novello features a deceptive three pitch arsenal in which he is able to repeat his mechanics and deliver any offering at any time. Slight in stature, Mark is a highly focused and driven competitor who has repeatedly proven the ability to get the other team’s best hitters out.

Dimitri Papazoglou LHP – Queens (NY) College

The LHP Papazoglou pitched Bayside HS to the PSAL “B” division crown in 2016, not allowing an earned run throughout the entire playoff stretch. At 6’2″ 155 lbs there is plenty of projection as the low 3/4 slot, low 80s fastball will improve drastically once he gets bigger and stronger. Dimitri also offers an 11 to 5 curveball and tighter slider that projects to improve as he gains strength to go with a solid average changeup. A fierce competitor who has the desire to constantly improve, Papazoglou will make his mark this year as one of the city’s premier port side arms as well as his next four years for the Knights.

Rory Smith C – Cal Baptist University

The Riverside, California backstop provides a very advanced maturity and in game feel behind the dish. Smith will bring his on field leadership and plus defensive skills to the Lancers in the fall of 2017. Offensively, Smith stays in the power alleys with solid barrel feel and occasional long ball power. Rory was committed prior to his summer 2016 arrival.

Nate Webb C/UTIL – UC Riverside

Webb is a strong and stockily built athletic high energy athlete with present plus power, who is a textbook “gamer” by definition. Self confident and aware, but far from arrogant, Webb possesses a loose, quick arm on the bump which has allowed him to see 92mph with more in the tank as well as a low 1.8s POP time from behind the dish. A middle of the order staple, Webb is capable of delivering a tape measure blast at any time. Nate was committed to UC Riverside prior to his summer 2016 arrival.

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Current Scout Team College Commitments (More To Come)

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July 9, 2016 – Although their current record doesn’t (yet) indicate the wealth of talent and athleticism on the Scout Team roster, players are continuing to receive and accept very strong opportunities and offers from collegiate athletic programs.

“Now that everyone is in town, done with school, personal and family commitments and recovered from high school based wear injuries, I expect a very strong couple of weeks and a successful close to the 2016 summer season”, stated Scout team manager Ian Millman. “I also would like to note that our boys from the Bay Area came to us pre-committed, and we are thrilled they entrusted
us with the continuation of their athletic development and exposure to the scouting community.”

Players listed alphabetically (Only those roster players committed):

Players Name Grad Year Commitment Affiliation
Baez, Vladimir 2016 Seminole (FL) State Division 1 JUCO (Region 2)
Belen, Wellington 2016 Odessa (TX) College Division 1 JUCO (WJCAC)
Brooks, Brendan 2017 UC- Irvine Division 1 4-YR (BIG WEST)
Brierley, Chandler 2016 Stevens (NJ) Tech Division 3 4-YR (EMPIRE 8)
Johnson, Trevor 2016 Dartmouth Division 1 4-YR (IVY)
Milano, Preston 2017 Queens (NY) College Division 2 4-YR (ECC)
Pena, Andrew 2016 Cochise (AZ) College Division 1 JUCO (ACCAC)
Perez, Danny 2016 Western Oklahoma Division 2 JUCO (Region 2)
Pichardo, Chris 2016 Sullivan County College Division 2 JUCO (Region 15)
Ramos, JC 2016 Western Oklahoma Division 2 JUCO (Region 2)
Smith, Rory 2017 UC – Riverside Division 1 4-YR (BIG WEST)
Taveras, Justin 2016 Mansfield (PA) Univ. Division 2 4-YR (ECAC)
Vella, Nick 2016 Erskine (SC) College Division 2 4-YR (CC)
Webb, Nate 2017 UC – Riverside Division 1 4-YR (BIG WEST)
Zapata, Yohn 2016 Odessa (TX) College Division 1 JUCO (WJCAC)
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First Of The New York Nine Class of 2016 College Commitments

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The New York Nine is proud to announce the first four official college commitments from the upcoming 2016 graduating class. In alphabetical order, OF Trevor Johnson has committed to Dartmouth University, 1B/P Ryan Popp has committed to Villanova, INF Connor Redahan has committed to Southern Connecticut State and P/OF Ted Sabato, Jr online singulair. has committed to the University of North Carolina. We look forward to these high character, hard working young men achieving success in the classroom and on the diamond.

2015 College Commitments Recap

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Recapping the New York Nine class of 2015 College Commitments:

Josh Azon – Queensborough CC
Leandy Castro – Connors State
Jose De La Cruz – Northern Iowa Area CC
Joe DeGuardia – St. Lawrence University
Andy Karlan – LIU – Brooklyn
Marcus Mari – Northwest Oklahoma State
Will O’Brien – Williams College
Wayne Roberts, Jr. – San Jacinto College
Moises Robles – Western Oklahoma
Anthony Toribio – Cochise College
Juan Miguel Torres – Faulkner State CC
Quincy Tunstall – Northwest Oklahoma State

We know that you will find success and represent the New York Nine well in a professional manner, both on and off the field.

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