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 was a four-year letter-winner at LSU. During his junior and senior seasons, as the starting shortstop for the Tigers, he was tabbed a Collegiate Baseball All-American, and an All-SEC performer. Known for his unbelievable catches, his ability to wreak havoc at the plate and on the base paths, he’s easily been one of the most exciting collegiate players in recent memory.
Fittingly, he was drafted and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, in the 4th round of the MLB Draft, this past spring. Who is he, you ask? He’s Kramer Robertson. And if history is the best predictor for the future, Cardinal fans better get ready for some fun times ahead. Because this kid loves to play the game, and it shows!
This week, I sat down with Kramer to talk recruiting advice, confidence, and how being a three-sport athlete made him the player he is today. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: What advice do you have for high school athletes going through the recruiting process?
A: You can’t get caught up in the ego stuff. It’s not about going to the biggest name school that’s recruiting you. You need to focus your energy on the schools that best fit with who you are, on all levels. What school will set you up best for life after college? What degree will you walk away with? Figure out which coaching staff you have the best connection with. Understand who’s in front of you and what their success has looked like. Do the best you can to know exactly what the road ahead might be.
Don’t make this about what everyone else wants for you. You want to make sure you made this decision for all the right reasons. The ideal scenario for you, might not be the same for the next guy. So, make sure you’re looking inwardly, not out. Because, you’re going to be the one that has to live for it and work for it, day-in-and-day-out. And, once you get on campus, the things that really matter will be exposed.
Q: Talk to me about the importance of being a good student.
A: Listen, if you don’t make the grades, you’re going to limit your opportunities at the next level. I think it’s important to understand, early on in high school, what it will take to get into the schools that you want to play for. Because if you can’t get into the school, it doesn’t matter how much you can play.
I know everybody just wants to play baseball, I get that. Nobody loves studying or putting long hours in at the library. I’d be lying to you if I said I did! But, it comes with the territory. You’ve got to handle your business and get it done in the classroom.
Q: You were a three-sport athlete in high school. How has that shaped your career?
A: One year, I was going to be a professional basketball player. The next, I wanted to be a professional football player and the next, a professional baseball player. Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be a professional athlete. I didn’t care what sport. Obviously, the older I got, the more I realized that baseball was probably going to be my best bet.
But even as I got older, I continued to play basketball and football throughout high school. I think by doing so, I was able to become the baseball player that I am today. It not only made me a better athlete, but it also taught me how to communicate in so many different situations. The football locker room is so much different than the basketball locker room. And, the basketball locker room is completely different than the baseball clubhouse. By playing three sports from such an early age, I’m convinced that’s why I’m living my dream as a baseball player. I would strongly encourage kids to play as many sports as they can, for as long as they can. Don’t worry about all the specialization, because you’ll end up where your athleticism takes you.
Q: What advice do you have for the high school athlete doubting his or her abilities?
A: Look at me; I’m not 6-foot and I’m not the big 200-pound guy. I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near where I am today. I’m the small guy that was always told I wasn’t going to be big enough, I wasn’t going to be good enough. But, I have a belief in myself and I refuse to listen to the outside voices. If I can be blessed enough to get to this point, so can anyone else!
Listen, everybody goes through low moments in life. We’ve all had times where we’ve doubted ourselves and really questioned what we were meant to do. I’ve certainly been in that spot. But, you never know when your breakthrough is coming. It took me two and a half years before I had mine at LSU. Keep grinding and keep believing in yourself. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. So, keep fighting for what you want, because I’m proof that the breakthrough is coming.
Q: Where does confidence come from?
A: I think preparation is where an athlete gains ultimate confidence. When you put in the work, you take thousands and thousands of swings, you stay up until midnight taking groundballs, you’re preparing yourself for the biggest moments. When you know in your mind that you’ve put in the work and the time, you know you deserve success. I think when you get to that point, that’s when you’re the most confident and that’s when you’ll be your best.