The response to my first post was interesting.  From "Oh I've been dying to ask someone who's been where I am going" to "Why aren't your comments open are you scared someone's gonna disagree with you?" to some really detailed questions about specific areas of the becoming a prospect part of our game.  To the first two examples, I say "Good, I'll help you and you help the person behind you!" and "No."

As to the rest, I'll get to it all!

But first things first.  Best question ever, my favorite:  What would you say is the most important thing to do while raising an elite baseball player?

Something tells me this person might be referring to playing summer ball, or looking for me to endorse a tournament or showcase as the key to getting to the highest level their kid can get to. Nope!  Here's the twelve step plan to getting your kid to become as good as he is able to become...


Learn to work
Learn to motivate yourself
Learn to focus
Learn to work efficiently
Learn to work consistently
Learn to set goals
Learn to monitor your progress
Learn to adjust your goals
Learn to work until your goals are reached
Make new, higher goals
Fall in love with the process
Repeat, because you are never "done" unless you didn't follow these guidelines!

As parents we have to challenge ourselves to put on blinders and set our eye on the goal as well.  All the noise around us telling us what product, team, bat, uniform, school, exposure etc will help our children can be overwhelming.  We will discuss those things eventually.  For now remember this:

I don't care if you are able to get a private workout with all 30 MLB scouting directors or the head coach of every school you dream about attending;  If you aren't what they are looking for, if you haven't gotten yourself to where they need for you to be, all the politicing and money in the world will not get you a pro or college opportunity.  Always make becoming the best you can possibly be the first priority in your journey.
 
 
The first time we flat pissed someone off in youth ball (that I know of) was when we put our older son in little league.  Dante was happy to talk baseball and that was and has continued to be the death of us.  At the time I didn't see that simply by being a very available and willing resource to HELP, we were disrupting some pretty deeply rooted beliefs held by a community.  As years passed I  realized the chaos we caused by having perspectives that challenged or even defied the status quo.  Town "gurus" who had supplemented their incomes and strengthened their egos with years of being the "guy who knew baseball" were facing an unseeding by the big bad ex Major Leaguer who was willing to be involved in youth baseball for freeWe don't want to unseed anyone; everyone can serve a purpose.  We've never made a penny off anyone in baseball.  In any case, I've lost count of the pissed off people and so now I just want to get to get this right.

Florida is full of ex MLB Players.  But its more full of ex MiLB players and even more full of ex college players, and it seems like everyone who ever played the game is now coaching.  But most of these people have no idea how the youth baseball landscape has changed- you have to have a child go through it to see the change if you came through youth baseball more than a decade ago.  The weird thing is that most of the "gurus" aren't even the baseball people now.  They are business people who are fully taking advantage of parents with dreams for their kids.  They've become some sort of version of baseball people because they run businesses well enough to field and organize teams and to convince everyone that there is no chance to "be seen" without them.  But most are not making baseball better. Most are ruining it.  And while I have plenty of friends on plenty of those teams, and I suppose that's what we have to deal with at the moment,  I plan to at least shed light on the system so that parents can understand baseball a little more like someone who's lived it from so many different perspectives. 

If you give me half a chance to talk to you are at least not going to be intimidated by this system anymore. I'm gonna tell you what you need to know about giving your kid the best chance you can, and challenge you to challenge the people you are paying. I don't mind them making a living off you if you are aware of that fact and if they are truly helping you but you supporting them so you can find out after its too late that you wasted as much money as you still need to spend on a college education is ridiculous. 

So there you are.  Send a question via twitter or email and I will use the questions to jump start future blogs, and I will get to them as quickly as I can.