BY STEVE KRAH
Players from inner-city Indianapolis took part in a National Scouting Report Metrics Combine Series event Saturday, March 18 at Roundtripper Sports Academy in Westfield, Ind.
Led by NSR Area Director Mark Galyean, the combine gave participating high schoolers the opportunity to have their performance numbers like throwing and exit velocity recorded and skills captured by camera.
The measurements tell how hard a player can hit and throw and how fast they can run — all things college coaches want to know when recruiting players.
As an NSR-produced video shown to close to 60 players in attendance expressed it: “It’s about being seen.”
Galyean asked the players if they wanted to play college baseball.
Many hands shot up.
He also dispelled what he considers a myth.
“They say if you’re good enough they’re going to find you,” said Galyean. “There are almost 500,000 high school baseball players every single year. Approximately 35,000 go on to play in college. That’s less than 7 percent. That’s not very many.
“You need to work hard. Coaches need to know who you are. They need to know what you can do. They need to evaluate.”
Roundtripper founder and University High School (Carmel) head coach Chris Estep and former big league pitcher Cory Wade also spoke to the players. Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, Indianapolis Metropolitan, Irvington Prep and Purdue Polytechnic (Englewood and North) were among schools represented by players who pre-registered.
Estep emphasized the importance of getting good grades so athletes can be eligible to play at the college level and enhance their education.
Wade, whose only college offer coming out of Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis came from NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan College, says the level is not important.
“You want to go somewhere where you’re going to get to play,” said Wade, who is also part of a group that has developed the ScoutUsPro app to help players share their data. “The way things are on the recruiting landscape right now with the Transfer Portal, it’s fully effected high school recruiting. The junior college route has become very popular as a springboard to get into a four-year school.”
After listening to a few speakers, players were put through a dynamic warm-up by Roundtripper Sports Performance Director Vernon Smith then went about throwing, swinging and running.
While that was happening, coaches attended a seminar.
Estep talked to them about the value of playing Wiffle®Ball to learn baseball situations on the fly.
Gathering and watching an MLB game is another way to build Baseball I.Q.
“Here’s what’s going to happen in the first three inning and this is what’s going to happen in the last three,” said Estep. “It’s amazing. In my career I was a much better in the seventh, eighth or ninth than I was in the first, second or third.
“You need to talk to your kids about who they’re going to defend a hit-and-run and who’s going to cover, how the shortstop and second baseman are going to interact and once you have those things to start to win ball games.
“This type of I.D. camp is exactly what they need to help push those kids to the next level.”
A coach’s packet with important dates, preseason, in-season and postseason practice philosophies, important pitching routines (which were detailed by current pro Garrett Christman), a sample practice plan, college recruiting resources and an Indiana collegiate coaching directory were distributed.
“I’m really interested and invested in these types of program working for Marion County and Indianapolis kids who don’t have these opportunities to train that other kids have,” said IHSAA Assistant Commissioner Robert Faulkens, who has been conducting similar programs with Estep for a few years. “(Director of Athletics for Roundtripper and University High assistant coach) Reid (Andrews) and Chris (Estep) have really put some work into this and they’ve thought about how to help you coach your kids during the course of the year.
“We will be always available to you.”
Faulkens asked coaches to take advantage of the resources and encouraged feedback.
“We want to get kids ready for the next level,” said Faulkens. “When the opportunity presents itself they’ll be ready.”
Faulkens said the plan is to continue have more events like the NSR Metrics Combine Series in central Indiana and — if possible — around Indiana and to get more individuals and groups involved.