Palm Springs Power Summer Baseball

I was pleasantly surprised with the good competition for a summer ball team on the west coast.

Right now I’m about a week and a half from being done with summer ball here in Palm Springs so I thought I’d write about my experience.

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Going into my third year of summer ball I was excited to finally get to play in California.  Being in Palm Springs I knew it was going to be intensely hot, but was just happy for there not to be any humidity.

My very first impression was that the team is well organized.  I showed up and there were interns there ready to give me my t-shirt and shorts at the door.  There is nothing to complain about when it comes to the facilities (the stadium was built for a minor league Angels team).

The team was started and is run by Andrew Starke who is also an associate scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.  He’s a great leader and it seems he’s done a fantastic job with the team and the league.

The SCCBL is a small league made up of 7 teams.  The Palm Springs Power tends to dominate the league with 8 league titles in the last 10 years.

The first couple weeks I was here, we played a slew of non-conference teams, none of which showed much talent.  Once regular season games started though, I was pleasantly surprised to see much more competitive pitching.  Still not at the same level as the Prospect League or the Cal Ripken League, but it was better than I expected for a young league on the west coast.

It was $400 per player to play for the Power which is reasonable considering busing and food expenses.

Starke also runs a separate “Collegiate Training League” for players who don’t have the skills to play in the SCCBL.  This league will run you $1800 which is because there aren’t enough host families to house the 150+ players so a most of the money goes to paying for hotels.  Also, these games don’t attract the fans that the Power does so there is virtually no revenue from their games.  That being said, it is also a great place to get your at bats/ innings in.  There are usually 6 teams in the Collegiate League and you play in the morning (when it’s a lot cooler) five days a week.

The Power treat their players very well which is why I’m currently playing with two guys spending their third summer here and one spending his second.  I’ve had a great time and if you’re looking for a good spot to land for the summer, Palm Springs is a great option.  If you can’t make it to Palm Springs, check out the SCCBL website to find another team to play for in the league.

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Related content:

Launch Angle, Changing Your Swing, and Taking Effective Batting Practice

What College Coaches Are Looking For

The Importance of Hitting Every Day

Staying Healthy in College

Staying healthy in college is hard. Here’s my take on it.

When you’re at home living with your parents, either they do all the cleaning or they tell you what to clean and when.  In college, there is nobody there to do that for you.

For that reason, staying healthy in college is a lot harder than you think.  You have to take it upon yourself to disinfect the counter tops and vacuum and clean the showers and toilets and everything else.

This is now my third year in college and every January I’ve gotten sick here.  Not only is it hard to stay healthy, but once you get sick, it’s harder to GET healthy.  Your parents aren’t there to do everything you need.  Even though you feel terrible, you need to get yourself up out of bed and to the drug store.

I’m not going to offer any tips or tricks to staying healthy because I can’t seem to do it myself, but what I will say is that it is something you should think about every day.

Are other people getting sick?  If so, it would be wise to take precautions.  You are not invincible and you need to go out of your way to stay healthy.

Identifying strong college culture

Team culture is incredibly important for all things.  Not just athletic teams, but in all team settings.  So when choosing a college, thinking about the culture is extremely important.

School culture might be strange to think about because the students come from different places with different goals.  But schools can and do set very good cultures that can turn out to be more important than the education itself.

Alumni network

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credit: http://www.simonalmstrom.com

Specifically, you’re looking for how strong the alumni network is.  Are students coming back to the college to find new employees?

A strong alumni network is a good indicator of a strong school culture AND quality education.  It shows that the graduates not only enjoyed their experience, but also trust the students coming out of the school.

A student could have the time of his life in college.  But let’s say he graduates and starts a company.  When thinking of people to hire, will he think about the fun he had or the quality of the education?  (probably both because if he had a terrible time he wouldn’t want to help the college, but he’d probably think more about the education)

Clubs

Another indicator of strong school culture is the amount and quality of clubs on campus.  If there are no clubs it shows that the students aren’t engaged in their career paths.  A college should nurture the curious mind and help students figure out what they want to do with their lives early in their time there.

Once students figures out what they want to do with their lives, it becomes FUN to get better at that skill.  As a result, clubs are created and grow.  No club = no interest.  I’ll go deeper into clubs later.

Teacher student relationships

Strong teacher student relationships are a good indicator for the culture among professors.  You have to think about the fact that professors can have their own agendas the same way anybody else can.  They might just be there to get to a bigger, better school.  Usually, if a college treats their professors well, the professors will care more about their students.

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credit: pintrest.com

For comparison, think of a good professor as one who’s willing to have lunch with a particular student to help figure out their life goals.  Or help with their resumes even if that isn’t in the job description.  Or even find them an internship or job!

Professors like this are more easily found at small schools for a couple reasons.  The first being they have fewer students to deal with.  And for two, at smaller schools individual student success is more important.  At big schools, as long as you produce a good crop, that CAN BE all that matters.  The bottom third of the class can be disregarded because if the top 50-80% do well enough they can make up for the stragglers.

Culture at St. Mary’s College of California

At St. Mary’s (where I go), the culture is good and improving.  The business program is great.  It’s full of professors who’ve worked in the field before teaching and are career driven.  They ALL offer office hours and all of them complain that they don’t get enough students.

I feel confident that if I went to any of these professors repeatedly and created a solid relationship almost each and every one of them would be willing to help me find a job or internship (now that I actually write that down I realize I should do that).

Clubs can be the lifeline for your future

When I first got to St Mary’s, the one place they could have improved on was the minimal presence of clubs.  I didn’t see this as a problem when I got there, and the emergence of clubs is what’s made me realize their importance.

This past semester a finance club was created and I joined it.  By having the club, it separated students who know what they want to do from those who don’t.  You’re able to make friends and connections with people with the same goals as you through these clubs instead of making random friends with random goals.

Everyone knows you make lifelong friends in college.  I believe it’s just as important to make lifelong connections for your career life.  People you know you can contact if you have a business idea or if, God forbid, you get laid off and need a job.

The people you go to school with are the ones who will be there to help you get back on your feet.  If you have those connections with people in your industry you’ll be able to contact the right people in a time of need and know they will do their best to help you back on your feet.

FREE Education?

College is an integral part of the American life.  According to USA Today, the pay gap between high school grads and college grads is around record highs at 56%.

A four year education can cost anywhere between $25,000 and $240,000 leaving students in debt at an average of around $29,000 (ticas.org).  That being said, college is a great place to go to get an education AND create the best connections for your working life.  college debt

That being said, for someone who is interested in education, and not interested in the connections (and the price tag) that come along with it, there are a few websites that offer education FOR FREE.

Coursera.com and lynda.com are two of the most popular of these websites.  There is only one string attached.  While you can take these courses for free, you need to pay if you want to receive credit for them.  founding timeline

While this might sound like a buzzkill, the price for this can be as low as $50 and as high as $3,000 (much cheaper then going to college).

These aren’t courses provided by ‘garage professors.’  Professors on the site come from schools like Yale, Penn, UC Davis, Stanford, etc… the list is endless.  From the top schools in America to Hong Kong.

I recently started a finance course on Coursera to see what it was about.  I didn’t read where the professor was from and only realized that I was sitting in on a Yale lecture once the video started.

I decided that I wanted to do this class because I wrote out my 5 year plan and realized that instead of being bored over the break I could be learning something about my craft.  I have written about the five year plan before, but I will reiterate once again that if you have a goal and a plan of how to get there, it becomes a lot easier for you to stay productive.

Coursera has over 2000 classes on a multitude of topics.  If you know what you want to do with your life but need more education to get there, this is the perfect place to start.coursera

Formatting a 5 Year Plan

When I started my plan I had a hard time imagining what I should even expect out of myself.  To help, before I started writing my goals I listed where I’d be no matter what.  So for me that meant writing down things like:

  • “I’ll be 25.”
  • “I should be 4 years out of college.”

I wrote these down to give myself a good perspective on where I’ll actually be in 5 years.

Next I wrote my five year goals.  These can be anything, make them as big or as small as you want.

  • A target salary
  • A specific job
  • A minimum GPA
  • A starting spot on the team
  • A minimum draft pick
  • A target body weight
  • A better relationship with your spouse
  • A certain amount of savings

A key for these is to keep them realistic.  Shoot high, but realize that if they’re achievable you’re going to realize that and give up on it early.

Next I created a 1 year plan.  I started the same way I started the five year plan – with the overview of where I’d be.  I figured that if I wanted to be on track to complete my five year goals, I should have goals every year.

One of my 5 year goals was to be at a job where I could grow and learn.  In order to be able to get the job that I want, I know I need to do something of value to put on my resume.  So this summer I have a sales job, so I set a 1 year goal of doing a great job at that job – make an impressive number of sales.  That way I can get a good recommendation from the owner of the company (who I know I can get in contact with) and I can put that on my resume. checking boxes

This method of creating a 5 year goal, and corresponding 1 year goals will make it easier to track your progress and stay on the right track.

More on Why to Create a 5 Year Plan

Finally, add a list of what you will do everyday to complete those goals.  If one of your goals is to get a high GPA, you should write that you’re going to do all of your homework and study every day.  If you have your own website and you want to reach a certain number of monthly visitors, you would write something like, post ‘x’ times a week or spend ‘x’ hours a weak backlinking to your website.

Print this list out, set it as your phone lock screen, post it up in your bedroom… This should be all you think about all day every day.  If it is all you think about, you will reach your goals as long as your methods to get there are good ones that will work.

Why Create a 5 Year Plan

Where do you want to be in 5 years?  A very ambiguous question that everyone kinda strategyknows, but not many people really know.  Most people respond with something like, “I don’t know, it would be nice if…”

Some people simply have no idea where they want to be while some ahead of the game might know exactly where they want to be.  Then when asked how they’re going to get there, their answer becomes fuzzy.  The question is probably answered with a surprised look and a confuzed, half planned response.

By creating your 5 year plan you’ll know exactly where you want to be and you’ll be able to figure out how to get there.

 

Creating a plan is the first step to being productive towards your goal.  Before, you might have been taking steps towards your goal but they were likely misguided.  For example, you want to make $130,000 in the finance sector out of college.  So you take a job your freshman year… it’s making you money and provides experience you can put on your resume so why not!?  With your plan in place you’ll be able to figure out if it’s a good step towards your goal or just a step.  So instead of taking the first job you get, you might look for a job in finance or at least business end of a company instead of being on the service end.have a plan

What College Coaches Want Pt. 2

I thought since getting recruited is such a hot topic among parents and players (beyond just baseball) these days, I’d write a little more on what coaches are looking for.  I say beyond baseball for one main reason: coaches are looking for personality traits just as much as they are looking for talent.

If you haven’t read my first article on this, click here to read.

This post will be about what kind of PERSON a coach is looking for.  So if you were looking for an easy way to nitpick a few ways to quickly get in favor of coaches/ scouts, this isn’t the way to do it.  You get recruited by working your ass off and showing that you are a good person and a leader.  Unfortunately for those who want to just get their scholarship, party, hit nukes, and say fuck everyone else, that isn’t going to work.  They correa batting cagewant to see guys who pick their teammates up (not necessarily when they strike out looking… but pretty much all the other times), that hustle everywhere, get involved in the game and don’t stand at the back of the dugout… The list goes on and on.

The point is that its all about the little things.  The little things won’t make an unrecruited senior going into graduation a full ride guy, but they will sure as hell turn a 50% scholarship guy into a 100% guy.  Or, a preferred walk on into a 25% guy.  If you get the CHANCE to talk to a college coach for whatever reason, everything you do with them is a test.  Shake their hand FIRM, look them in the eyes, TAKE YOUR OAKLEYS OFF, if you’re inside take your hat off (personal experience), show some enthusiasm somehow… anything you can do to make them want you on your team.

THIS IS HUGE, WRITE THIS DOWN – College coaches are NEVER just recruiting players to go out there and make plays and hit balls.  They’re recruiting a culture and any half decent coach knows that.  So when it comes down to crunch time, does a coach want to worry about culture when he should be worrying about play? No. So he will do his due diligence.  He will recruit guys that will set a GREAT culture so he never has to worry about it.

I’m going to keep this post short and end it with this.to do list win

Show each coach what kind of culture you will bring to the team.  Show him that when you’re a junior or a senior, his team, with you on it, is going to be a gritty, hard working, aggressive group of guys who want to win.  That will give any coach goosebumps and if they all think you’re that guy, they’ll be fighting over you.