USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
He has one of the most-decorated baseball resumes in recent history. As a sophomore at Albuquerque Academy, he became the first high school player ever to win the USA Baseball Player of the Year Award. He followed that up his junior year by hitting a modest .678, while slugging a New Mexico state-record 19 home runs. After his high school career, he went on to play shortstop for Louisiana State University, winning more awards then I have space to list. Just put it this way; Alex Bregman was drafted with the second pick in the first round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros. Enough said. And with his July 2016 call-up to the big leagues, he is one of the fastest-rising stars in baseball.
Alex recently sat down with us to talk about his college experience and the advice he has for high school athletes all over the country.
Q: What was the most difficult part of being a student-athlete in college?
A: Being an athlete at the collegiate level is a major commitment on so many different levels and it can be extremely difficult to manage the expectations that come along with that commitment. You are talking about splitting your time between class, practice, games, the weight room and having a social life. That can be a lot to digest when you are transitioning from high school into college. I think what it really boils down to is time-management. The quicker a student-athlete can learn how to effectively manage their daily life, the better off they will be. For me personally, it took me that fall semester of freshman year to get in my groove and feel comfortable with life as a college athlete. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for my college experience. Learning how to balance everything during my time at LSU really made me grow up.
Q: What was the coolest part of being a student-athlete in college?
A: The best part of the college experience for me was being on the field with my guys. The three hours of playing the game and competing with the guys that want the exact same thing you do is something you can’t replicate. The relationships that I was able to build at LSU were amazing. Those guys are my brothers and we loved playing the game of baseball together. When you get to pro ball, it’s a little bit different than that. It’s a job and the relationships are more business-like, now. The college experience is really such a special opportunity.
Q: How important is it to take care of your grades in high school?
A: Honestly, it’s huge. Figuring out how to be successful in the classroom, while you are in high school, ultimately prepares you for college. I go back to that idea of time-management. If you learn how adjust to the balance and demands of being a student-athlete when you are 15 or 16, it makes the transition into college much less stressful. You have got to take care of your grades and be a good student now because it will make college a heck of a lot easier!
Q: For the high school athlete doubting their abilities, what would your advice be?
A: First off, doubting and questioning have to do with confidence and confidence is all about preparation. You are going to be a confident player if you are a prepared player. It is extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to play at the highest level without confidence. I don’t care what it is you are doing, if you aren’t prepared, you are going to question and doubt yourself. I would tell that athlete to stop doubting yourself and start preparing. There is no such thing as being too prepared and you can’t put a price tag on confidence.
Q: What does it take to achieve the kind of success you have had?
A: My personal belief is that everyone is created equally. In my opinion, talent doesn’t exist. I think it comes down to being obsessed with what you want to be. If you are obsessed with what you want to be, you will find a way to make it happen. You just have to decide. Personally, I haven’t ever been willing to accept that anyone is going to be doing more than I am to get better at this game. It’s not just about what you want, it’s about how hard you are willing to work to get what you want. If you want to be a Division I baseball player, work for it. If you want to be the valedictorian, work for it. Regardless of what it is, wanting something is a lot different than working for something.