Trip Couch, Assistant Baseball Coach for the University of South Carolina joins us in Up Close in Personnel's first crossover episode to talk shop on both the recruiting and evaluation process!
Side Note from the Editor:
To give some background before going into the show notes, Trip and I crossed paths while working at the University of Houston (which I mention during the show).
I try to always make a point to develop relationships with coaches on the other athletics teams at the school I am working at, because you never know when you'll run across a true dual sport athlete that you want to join your program.
Still, what I learned at UH and carried with me over to Rice is that these relationships are more than just that.
Having relationships with coaches on other sports teams at your respective school is so rewarding from a personal and professional development standpoint. Seeing Trip or Ryan Shotzberger or Head Coach Todd Whitting in the hallway isn't a nod of the head, but it's an opportunity to connect and be human.
It's so easy to get caught up in our own little worlds, especially in collegiate athletics. What I learned from Trip and the baseball staff at UH, is that knowing the people in the building outside of football makes your entire work experience more enjoyable AND you have an opportunity to learn what works for them.
Hosting the regionals multiple times and winning way more championship trophies than we did in football, it was great to watch and see how they operated at such a high level.
Show Notes & Takeaways
Pro Tip for Live Evaluations
Early on in the episode, Trip talks through a piece of advice he received from a veteran MLB scout. That advice was to "let the players come to you" -in other words, don't allow your preconceived notions or expectations manipulate your live evaluation experience.
It becomes very easy to take information you are gathering and fit that into your narrative of the player. Allow the players to show who they are to you. Avoid the urge to be right and instead focus on being present. It's not our job to be perfect, but it is our job to make the best decisions possible with the most accurate and relevant information. Information changes. Scouting will never be static and we have to all remember that this is a dynamic field of study.
Evaluating the Character & "Makeup" of a Player
Trust, discipline and maturity are three traits you have to check the box off on when it comes to character.
Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be great? Are you doing the little things every single day? Do you have a growth mindset and a desire to truly be the best?
That's what Trip hones in on and the big question evaluators can use in their process is: "You play your sport for 3 hours in a given day. What are you doing with the other 21 hours?" How a recruit spends his time away from the field will directly translate to his success or failure on the field. Failure to prepare is how you prepare to fail.
Final Pieces of Advice for Identifying Talent
Focus on what the player CAN do!
Surround yourself with great evaluators and learn from them
Take the time to evaluate your hits AND your misses
Constantly build your "rolodex" of player evaluations
Recruit kids that aren't on lists -I.E. trust your eyes, not your ears as an evaluator
Value players that "get it done", even if it doesn't "look pretty"
And finally, always lean on the side of athleticism and traits with underclassmen
At the end of the day, I'm glad to be back and recording the show again for you all!
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