Provey's Pen: Build the Wagon


Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

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We’re back at Provey’s Pen with our second edition covering a phrase that I’ve used discussing recruitment and player development with high school athletes: Build the Wagon. The term “wagon” these days can be used in a multitude of ways, but for this we’re throwing it back to the pioneer days. In the early stages of America, families would load up in a wagon and venture out to seek new life (or in many cases gold or riches). Pioneers would load up the wagon with their belongings, pets, and essentials to take long treacherous journeys to push the edge of the frontier. The trips were incredibly lengthy (imagine covering 15 miles/day) with a never ending list of challenges and adversity that would come to fruition. These wagons would need to be strong, durable, and dependable as the pioneers would risk everything to reach their dream destination. 

Fast forward to 2022, there are not many trail wagons rolling around the streets of our nation as we’ve become much more efficient in travel. The same could be said for baseball recruitment, efficiency. Recruiting has evolved tremendously, as there is now more information available on prospects from all over the country (or world), and it is always just a click away. College coaches are more plugged in on prospects, especially given the 15 month period of strictly finding players through contacts, social media, and the internet. A recruiter can find one good clip of a player, and further research through a player profile, advanced metrics, or simply a DM to a player/coach. People often ask “How can I differentiate myself?” or “How can I get more exposure in recruitment?” It can seem to be a very complex (confusing, stressful, exciting, or you pick an adjective) situation for many players and families, but sometimes you have to go back to the essentials, which is the wagon. 

Wagons are designed to travel from one location to another, usually pulled by mules. If high school baseball is your current location, then your future destination is college baseball. Yes, some go straight to the MLB draft foregoing the college experience, but in Tennessee, that’s usually a handful of high schoolers per year. Everyone’s destination may be different for some it may be: to play in a Power 5 conference, D1 baseball, high academic D2/D3, the Juco route, or simply some just want a chance. To get to the college level, you’ll have to load up the wagon with your belongings and essentials (clothes, tv, xbox/ps4, ramen noodles, protein powder, toothbrush, etc.). The journey will be challenging, but the journey itself is the recruiting process. The path will be easier for some and more difficult for others, and quite frankly some will not make it. However, those that build strong, durable, and dependable wagons can reach their destinations.

 

Build The Wagon

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