Throughout my day, I receive tons of great emails from parents, leagues, players, former players, schools, and organizations on a wide range of baseball subjects. I love reading about what’s happening in the baseball industry top to bottom, in the professional leagues, amateur leagues, local Rhode Island and New England based organizations, and college recruiting. This morning, I received an email from former Sacred Heart University Baseball Coach Wayne Mazzoni (random, I’m not affiliated with him, probably on his newsletter email list) with the attention grabbing title, “Why Parents Are The Worst Judges Of Athletic Talent.” Pretty good hook, if I many so say myself. So I read on and definitely agree with a lot of what Coach Mazzoni had to write. And now (with Coach Mazz’s permission) I would also like to share his email with you:
Why Parents Are The Worst Judges Of Athletic Talent
Let me start off this email with the fact that I am 53, graduated high school in 1987, and my dad STILL thinks I got screwed when it came to recruiting!
I should have, he thinks, been a full-scholarship two sports star at Notre Dame.
The fact that I went to Gettysburg College (D3) and lasted one year on the football team and had three marginal years on the baseball team didn’t diminish the facts in my old man’s eyes.
Parents you (and me too as a Dad) are the worst judges of athletic talent.
One reason may be very obvious. The others not as much.
The first is WE LOVE OUR KIDS.
We know how hard they work, how much they care, and that yes they are talented when they are playing on both their high school and travel teams.
We see them work and succeed and we love them so we assume they must be college level. D3 for sure, but more likely D1. The problem is everyone thinks that but only 7% of high school kids play in college.
But there is a bigger reason parents misjudge their child’s talent.
They don’t have the bigger picture perspective.
Parents watch their kids play in their local high school league, and then in their travel league, and while there might be some talent in the teams they play with and against, frankly it may not match up with the talent across the country, and in some sports across the world.
However, more than likely there are a bunch of shortstops in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, etc. that do what he does, but with three more inches, fifteen more pounds, stronger arm, runs faster, and been playing 60 plus games a year since age 8, now against kids that will play at major colleges, many who will get drafted.
So often it’s not apples to apples.
To go further, very few parents understand how talented college athletes really are. Most think D3 is the easy fall back plan. Ask anyone you know who has played D3 college sports and ask him or her about the experience. I can guarantee they will tell you how intense the program was and how talented the team was.
With the recent transfer portal rules, this is being proved out more than ever before. Many D3 kids with eligibility after graduation due to COVID are going to D1 schools and crushing it. By most accounts a third of kids at D3 programs could/should be at D1 and a third of D1 kids should be at D3 since they can’t get any playing time in D1.
The reason is that recruiting is very inexact and getting more so. In the olden days with less travel teams and less kids playing, recruiting was much more manageable and a coach could see a player many times before making an offer. Now there is just too much confusion and coaches sometimes just take a risk. Then it’s up to the player to keep busting their butt to develop before they arrive at the college and while there.
That is the beauty of college sports. A lightly recruited roster spot kid can play over a full-tuition scholarship kid if he/she gives the team the best chance to win.
More often than not kids and parents just shoot too high in the recruiting process and thus waste time, money, and add stress unnecessarily.
The more feedback you can get from the more sources about what level is right for you, the better off you will be in the long run.
Former NCAA Coach/Current Recruiting Advisor
Interesting topic, right? Coach Mazz is right about a lot of parents and their favorite players, the ones that live in their own households. He is also 100% accurate about college sports and the athletes who are talented enough to play for a college team. Division 3 baseball has produced a ton of draft picks not only in 2022, but historically speaking. Having attended RIC, Salve, Roger Williams, and Wheaton College baseball games over the years, I can honestly tell you that the talent on the field is for REAL!!! D3 is not a fall back plan, you are signing up to play some big time, legitimate baseball this Spring! Rhode Island baseball players are gaining ground nationally in terms of exposure and MLB potentials and even MLB draftees. However, Coach Mazz is again 100% accurate on the rest of the country’s elite players who play competitive baseball 9 to 10 months out of the year as opposed to maybe 6 to 8 here in the Northeast.
What are you thoughts on the subject? Let me know what you think and if you agree/disagree with Coach Wayne Mazzoni’s views on “Why Parents Are The Worst Judges Of Athletic Talent.” You can also get in contact with Wayne Mazzoni via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.