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Monday, January 4, 2010

NAIA Baseball - Is it Right For You?

By Anthony Duane Smith

Last week we had a Division I coach give us his perspective and insight on the recruiting conversations that go on between college and high school coaches. Today we're going to take a look at the NAIA division. Many prospective college players don't have a good understanding of the NAIA and what it has to offer. Since information that is directly from a college coach in the division is always some of the best, I got in touch with Jeremy Jorgenson of Doane College in Crete, Nebraska (about 30 miles SW of Lincoln).

The Doane Tigers compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC)of the NAIA. Coach Jorgensen is in his 2nd year with Doane, he was hired in the fall of 2007 to lead the program for the 2008 season and he had an immediate impact. Prior to Jorgenson's arrival, the program had records of 6-29 in 2006 and 9-24 in 2007. The Tigers made a 13 game improvement in the win column in his first year, finishing at 22-28. He also used his first full year to bring in a new recruiting class for 2009 and he told me that he expects more improvement this season. (click here for more on Coach Jorgenson's bio)

I asked Coach Jorgenson to tell me about the questions he poses to high school and JUCO coaches. He told me which traits are important to him:

Athleticism - "many, many guys make position changes in college & to me, better athletes can do this & not lose too much...if they already have athleticism, their performance is more consistent & they are able to repeat their swing & defensive mechanics more often.

Coachability-"can & are they able to learn/change?"

Character-"how do they treat someone on the street as well as how will they interact with people on campus"

Grades-"pretty big to me because it shows an indication of their priorities, drive, work ethic, etc."
Work Ethic-"in the classroom & on the field to get better as a player."

The qualities of coachability and a strong work ethic that Coach Jorgenson mentioned are very similar to what Coach Kovash expressed to us last week. It is more remarkable that two coaches a thousand miles apart, one an NAIA coach in Nebraska and the other a Division I coach in Alabama, brought up a player's character and specifically how he interacts with and treats everyday people.
Knowing now that at least in these two cases coaches are looking for the same things in players, consider these other factors in determining whether or not an NAIA schools might be right for you:

- Many NAIA schools have gained a reputation for being a good fit for students that prefer small college settings and higher academic standards.

- To try and give one blanket description of the level of play in the NAIA would not be very accurate. As opposed to football and basketball where one can expect the quality of competition to decline in sort of a linear fashion from DI ,DII, DIII to NAIA to JUCO, the quality of play in baseball in all divisions varies greatly. It depends on the program, and some in the NAIA are playing at a very high level.

I'd like to give a big thank you to Coach Jorgenson for all the valuable information and taking the time to help all of you prospective college players.

by Anthony Smith
for College Baseball Newsletter

This article is just a small example of all the information, techniques, and lessons that members of My College Baseball plan get on how to get into college baseball. Members also receive a detailed first lesson on how to make real progress in 48 hours or less.
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Author Anthony Smith's experience in college baseball placement includes;
Personally coaching over 25 players that have gone on to play college baseball, including one team with 6 future Division I players.

Working with players that have moved on from high school to make their way onto college rosters at levels from Junior College all the way to NCAA Division I.

Being hired as a personal consultant to work with both the high school player and his family to get him placed and playing at the college level.

Hired as an instructor and personal trainer in baseball specific personal training - Power, Speed, and Agility training for the prospective college player.

Two of his own sons have gone on to play college baseball, meaning he know this process from the parent perspective too.

Members of My College Baseball Plan receive Anthony's weekly lessons, bonus reports, and step-by-step assignments that put you on track for a college baseball playing opportunity.
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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick