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16 Ways To Give Yourself An Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition

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I’m big into podcasts. My wife is too.

My favorite group right now is Gimlet Media. They have shows ranging from history, business, crime, and fictional stories.

One show I love is called Start-Up, it’s the story and documentation of how the CEO started and built Gimlet Media. He actually has audio recordings from his early days of pitching investors to family conversations around launching the idea.

The reason I love the show is that it’s very relatable. The pain, struggles, and small wins are something we all experience when we are pursuing a vision with conviction and purpose.

In one episode he was struggling with delivering his pitch. He was stumbling over his words trying to explain his concept. At one point the investor actually started coaching him on how to deliver his pitch…..rough, right?

The investor asked the CEO a question that he didn’t know how to answer until a later episode. The investor asked him, what is your unfair advantage over other podcast shows?

At this point it made me go from a passive listener to an active one. I stopped the episode, thought for a moment and asked myself the same question.

“What are the Tigers unfair advantage amongst all the baseball clubs?”

Here is where my mind raced too:

…and then hit me. How do you say all of this without saying any of it?

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The Tigers are different because we are more than just teams. We are a program with tools and resources that gives our players an unfair advantage over other teams which ultimately provides opportunities that they otherwise would not have been given if they were outside the program.

In short, we have a stable system which provides the opportunity to grow if the right choices are made by the player throughout the year.

The CEO of Gimlet had an interesting answer for this section of his pitch, he said, “The unfair advantage we have over other podcast shows is that we understand listeners from our experience at NPR and have made successful shows from “This American Life” to “Planet Money”. We know our listeners and we know their behavior.”

I feel like we take a similar approach. We know our players and we do our very best to give them the resources that will make them successful not just in their athletic careers, but when they decide to leave the uniform for good.

The last the thing I failed to mention…we are constantly learning, re-evaluating, and thinking about how we can make our program better.

So, I want to leave you with this…if you’re a parent or a player, what is your unfair advantage?

Spiker Helms |Rawlings Tigers


We had Tony Vitello at our college night in 2018. He had a monumental anwser on players who are under 6ft tall.

Can they play and start at the division 1 level?

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The Baseball Mindset

Baseball is a game of failure. Baseball takes great skill but it also takes a strong mentality to be great. The best baseball player in the world, Mike Trout, has a career batting average of .305. This means that he fails about 69% of the time at the plate. Mike Trout is a successful baseball player because he doesn’t dwell on the past. To be a great baseball player you have to be mentally tough and have a great mindset. This is going to be a blog to teach you to develop this mindset.

Develop Confidence:

Confidence is something you want to have in life no matter what you are doing, this is even true in baseball. If you want to accomplish something in life but you don’t believe that you can do then odds are you can’t. If your ho up the plate thinking “I won’t get a hit” then you might as well go back to the dugout. You need to have the mindset that says “I am going to get a hit.” There are several ways that you can go about developing confidence on the baseball field. One way to do this is to perform what you are trying to do. For example, going to the cages builds confidence because you are seeing yourself hit the baseball and this builds confidence. Another way is to visualize your success. This is important because you see yourself hitting the baseball and this gives you a boost of confidence before your at-bat.

Learn to Let Go:

In a game of failure, you can’t dwell on the past. You have to move forward and not let previous mistakes haunt your future play. You only get a few at-bats in a game don’t let one ruin the rest of them. This is a part of being mentally tough, it’s hard to forget about previous at-bats or errors but you have to be.

Confidence is key in everything you do. Like Yogi Berra said “Baseball is 99% mental” and this is true. In a game where the best of the best fails about 70% of the time, you need to be mentally tough and have a solid mindset. Every player needs to instill an “I will get a hit” mentality into their game. The key to success is to do what you want to achieve and to visualize yourself being successful. You must also not dwell in the past; you can’t let one mistake snowball into more mistakes that will hurt your team.

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How a Baseball Player Communicates at a Tryout

To defend and impose power the praying mantis gets on its hind legs, opens up its spiked forelegs and shows it’s colorful wings.
If you want to tryout for the Rawlings Tigers, we have tryout dates throughout the year. If we don’t have a specific date in your location, please fill out a general form.
Good uniform examples:

If you want to tryout for the Tigers please submit a form HERE. 


Click the link above to learn the secret.
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Six Ways To Get a Baseball Player Out of a Slump

Baseball is a game where even the best hitters fail about 70% of the time at the plate. Even your favorite MLB player has experienced a slump. There isn’t a specific remedy to get out of a slump, but I thought it would be good to try a little exercise.  We are going to tell you methods for players and coaches to try to end a hitting slump.

If you are a player (DIY):

Don’t Overthink It- The worst thing you can do if you are in a slump is to start pressing at the plate. In most cases, a slump is caused by a mental flaw not a mechanical flaw in your swing. A lot of the time when you step into the batter’s box you are your own worst enemy. The best hitters don’t dwell in the past, they take it one pitch at a time.

Visualize Success- It may sound simple and useless but visualizing success is very important in baseball. If you visualize success it gives you a boost in confidence and helps you mentally prepare for your at-bat. Every mental rep your muscles are firing just like they would in the game. 

Sweat It Out, Go to the Cages- Another seemingly simple solution. Going to the cages can do many things for you. It can help boost self-confidence seeing you succeed even if it’s in the cages. Also, you can work on any mechanical flaw that could be there. One of the hidden gems of getting out of a slump is bunting baseball repeatedly….Try it! 

If you’re a coach or parent helping a player:

Positive Reinforcement- A struggling player needs a strong support system. If a player knows he has the coaches’ support it could take a lot of stress off their shoulders. If the players are feeling stressed they are less likely to break out of it, you need to take as much off their plate as possible.

Sit the Player for a Game- This might not be the player’s favorite thing but it gives you the chance to let them take a mental break. In this method, the player must know that you’re not giving up on him. It can be good to have a player just sit back and analyze the game without the in-game stress. I would have a conversation before the game. 

Bunt for a hit: As recommended above for the player, try bunting for a hit. The goal is for the player to see the ball hit the bat. If he gets on base…GREAT! But, the expectations need to be low. We just want them to get the bunt down.

At the end of the day, you need to know that every player at one point in their baseball career goes through a slump. Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports, if it was easy everyone would play. Also, a key is to know that every time it’s not mechanical if you go into your at-bat thinking “Oh, I need to fix this, this, and this,” it will be much harder to find success. Instead, visualize success on the on-deck circle. Coaches remember that players need positive reinforcements throughout their careers. This goes for teammates as well, support your brothers on the field.

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How You Can Grab The Attention Of A Baseball Scout

 Getting recruited to play college baseball is a very difficult and impressive achievement. Like everything else in the world recruiting has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. It has made the recruiting process even more difficult for aspiring athletes. High School baseball seasons across the country were canceled and many places haven’t begun playing in the summer yet. How can a college recruit a player if they can’t see them? I’ll tell you how.

Recruiting Update for different college levels:
Division 1: In-person recruiting suspension has been extended to July 31st but athletes can participate in virtual visits.
Division 2: A quiet period (a period where institutions can have no contact with student-athlete OFF campus) will take place from June 1st through the 30th.
Division 3: Up to the schools to decide how to handle recruiting.
NAIA: Up to the schools to decide how to handle recruiting.
NJCAA: In-person recruiting ban was lifted as on May 15.

How this impacts you:
      This pandemic has had a major impact on the college recruiting scene. Most college programs are unable to come to watch student-athletes compete. This especially hurts rising seniors because their high school season was canceled and if you are playing Summer ball most programs are unable to attend. Another major impact is if you are being recruited and are uncommitted you may not be able to take a campus visit. Your college decision could be one of the toughest decisions of your life and it’s tough to make that decision without stepping foot on campus.

How you can get noticed during this weird time and what the future holds:
      Social Media as we all know has taken over the world. Coaches right now are using social media to find potential recruits. The Tigers have been preaching the best way to get noticed right now is Twitter. When a coach sees a tweet that draws their interest, they will most likely visit the Twitter page. We say that your page needs to contain these three things:


  1. Website URL with measurements, GPA, etc.
  2. Clean Bio that gets to the point.
  3. Pinned tweet of your best video with metrics.
    Twitter baseball bio example

Overall, college recruiting for 2020 will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Though it may seem like there are fewer opportunities to be seen by college coaches, there is still plenty of opportunities to be seen. You just have to use the resources that are available to you and take advantage of it.

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Organizations Are Changing How They Find Good Baseball Players


Movies portray scouting as scouts from various colleges and professional teams driving across vast distances to see this one player, but what if I told you times have changed. In my personal experiences, I have noticed some friends and former rivals showcasing their skills (pitching and hitting) on Twitter to attract scouts that can’t attend their games.

The account that showcases their videos is called FlatGround and they will retweet your video on their page. They mention you need to add variables such as: spin rate, velocity, grades, height/weight, any data saved by any company that tracks measurable for your video to gain traction.

Blast Motion technology allows you to track your swing by adding their device to the knob of your bat. It gives you real time data via an app that detects your bat path, power, and timing while providing drills that could help improve your swing. Not only does it track baseball, it also tracks softball, and golf (must purchase each sport individually).

Spiker deep dives into how technology has really changed the landscape of scouting. Here are two episode I highly recommend that center around organizations finding players.



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This Is How Many Times It Takes For A Coach To See You Before Offering An Athletic Scholarship

Spiker Helms got the chance to sit down with former University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s head baseball coach Darin Erstad. They discuss the recruiting process and what he looks for when recruiting for a player. Before his time with the Cornhuskers, Erstad spent 14 years playing professional baseball for the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros. This article by itself will not only help you in recruiting but help you have an edge on your competition.

Spiker Helms: Hi everybody, welcome back to another edition of Tiger TV. I’m your host, Spiker Helms. I’m here at the University of Nebraska with head coach Darin Erstad. Thank you, Daren, for coming on.

Darin Erstad: My pleasure

Spiker Helms: I appreciate it so much. Guys, if you look back at previous episodes, we have episodes with the University of Iowa, Missouri State. Go back check those out. Also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all the social media platforms. So, with that said, let’s head right into it.

Question 1: So, coach, at what point do you start recruiting a player?

Darin Erstad: Well it depends. You know, unfortunately, it’s getting earlier and earlier. I’m not watching sixth and seventh-grade games yet, but you know it’s getting into that. When they’re freshmen you start building your database, start building relationships, and getting guys on your radar. Very very special cases maybe you all will offer some at that age, but as you get into your summer before your sophomore year and start to get evaluated a little bit harder, start making unofficial visits, and then it can ramp up as a 10th grader. We know some are a little bit later, and they’ll come in as juniors in the late bloomers. We always save room for a little bit of that and you know it’s just a matter of building your database and finding out who’s interested in your university and then getting to know the people. I think that’s the biggest thing right now is getting to know the kid, getting to know the family, what they’re all about, but we do start that at a very young process.

Spiker Helms: Developing that relationship.

Darin Erstad: No doubt about it. That’s what it’s all about.

Question 2: So, how many times does it take you to see a player on the field before you say “Hey, we want you to come on campus. Take a look around.” How many times will it take?

Darin Erstad: It could be one, could be ten. You know there are guys you see right away. You’re like that skill set plays the motor plays, you see that. Then there are other guys you watch you’re like, we have to see you then you watch them again. Then they grow, and well I better see that one more time. And then it grows on you again. So really every case is a little bit different, there’s not exactly one template you follow with every single kid, but the more you can see them, the better.

Question 3: And then, so kind of take you back to your high school days and say, if you are a high school guy right now. How would you approach a career?

Darin Erstad: Let me dust off the yearbook, that was a long time ago. You know, the one thing that I see that I think is very valuable is kids doing their homework. When you get the general email, let me tell you the truth, I get rid of those things. When I get 5080 of those a day, I mean it’s just it honestly it’s when those that catch your attention, that kid actually looked us up. That kid actually had made some connection and really did his homework on the school. Now I’m not just talking baseball I’m talking something within you know the academic part of it more or just Husker nation in general or, you know, just looks like it kind of catches your attention. So, I would have made a personal, I would have really done my homework and found what schools were really on my list, what do they have that I want, what do they have that is something I could see myself spending three, four or five years, whatever it is. And that’s what I would have done, and maybe those schools don’t like you. But you gotta start at the top just like when you set goals and you chase your dreams, go for the highest one man. And then if it doesn’t work out, you can always find different things to go to, but just for me, it’s all about a personal level, just like we want to get to know them personally. Well, the best way to do it is to reach out.

Question 4: So, it’s just it’s developing that one to one relationship just trying to get in the door and I mean camps you think camps are helpful?

Darin Erstad: It can, you don’t have to necessarily do and be nice to do, but it’s not a priority for us, but if somebody does it, it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure. But what I always want to do is I want to find out about those kids, two, three years before they even come to campus and find out who they’re all about. Get to know them so when they get here, two weeks, two months into it, they’re like, that’s pretty much we signed up for we both know each other. And when you do that, that’s when you can have really meaningful relationships because you start building that trust earlier.

Question 5: That’s a perfect segue. So, when you are saying that talent is completely
equal across the board. When you’re looking at a player like what character traits, do you look for, and then how do you find those?

Darin Erstad: Well, you get to know you talk to their parents. You know, you get to know mom and dad, but there’s not a mom and daddy get to know whoever’s taking care of you find out from their coach and you talk to area scouts, you get as much information as you can. But for me, I want to find that person gonna do the right thing all the time. Are the kids gonna make mistakes? Of course, they’re gonna screw up their kids as part of the deal. But when you can see that they have the teammate’s best interests at heart, and they’re trying to get better every single day that comes up. I can look in their eyes, and you can see that fire you can see that desire, but when there’s a lot of “I’s”, being talked about why did this I did that, I look for the guys that say “we”, “we did this we did this”, “our team”, little words like that make a big difference in your talks.

Spiker Helms: That’s crazy sort of just like conversation like everyone looks good, but then those little details that you’re looking for.

Darin Erstad: Absolutely that changes and you can see what their priorities are in a heartbeat.

Question 6: What is the best advice you’ve ever received as a player?

Darin Erstad: Be yourself. It’s so simple, but it’s the truth. We try to please so many people who try to please college coaches, we try to please scouts, we try to please everybody. Now, please yourself, be yourself. This whole journey of life from high school to college, you’re trying to find out who you are. And if you don’t, if you’re always trying to please other people, you’re going to never find out who you really are. And for me, that’s the best thing I ever did. And when you do that, you know that you’re just gonna go out and give it everything you have. And the only thing you have to do at the end of the day is look in the mirror and know you gave it everything you have every single day. It’s not what somebody says to you, a good job or bad job, you just have to be able to put your head on your pillow overnight knowing that you emptied the tank. When you do that, that’s the best thing you can do, and it frees up so much stuff in your life because you just know you’re gonna get the most out of your abilities. If it is Juco, NAIA, Division One, two or three, or all you just play high school baseball that is fine, but one thing you don’t want to have at the end of all this is regret. Most kids will have regret because while I wish I wouldn’t have done that, or I wish I would have done this. No just empty the tank. Just be yourself and have fun.

Spiker Helms: Coach it was a pleasure.

Darin Erstad: My pleasure Spiker.

Spiker Helms: Awesome interview. Guys, check out Nebraska, their schedule, I will link it all down in the show notes as well thanks again coach, and we’ll catch you later. See ya.

If you would like to watch this interview in its entirety you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and watch it here:

In an article written in June 2019 by Baseball America, Darin Estrad had stepped down as head coach after seven years. The article also discusses how he helped turned the program into a success for years to follow. 

If you want a further in-depth look into college recruiting with strategies on getting noticed. Please listen to the below episode of our podcast. 

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How to Get a Baseball Scholarship In 2020 And Beyond

I get this question a handful of times throughout the year by players who are wanting the eye of a college scout. This question is interesting because it not only applies to reach a higher level of baseball but also in real life.

So, how do you get recognized?

The easy answer is “be good, and they will find you.” This is partially true, but it leaves the question teller thirsting for more and asking, “What’s considered good, and how are you found?”

The skill sets you need are defined by the abilities of the current roster the coach has developed. They are looking for pitchers who throw extremely hard and have a great location. They’re looking for athletic players who are fast, play good defense, and hit the ball extremely hard.

You might have an unbelievable talent to throw the ball hard, but what if all skill sets are equal?

We recently recorded a podcast where we speak on how to get noticed. The name of the episode is called the Tactical Guide To Getting an Athletic Scholarship. I believe this specific episode is about more than just obtaining a roster position on a college team. I view it as a guide to separate yourself from your competition. It’s to help you show your unfair advantage.

The advice given in this episode can easily apply to other areas in life with a little bit of creativity and ingenuity.

Please share this with someone who has a desire to win and grab the attention of a decision-maker.

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How To Dominate a Baseball Tryout

The year is 2006 and I am at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Ft. Myers, Florida. This was one of the events that could propel you to the Aflac Games. The Aflac Games are equivalent to the McDonalds All-America in basketball and the National All-Star High School Football game in Dallas.

At this National Showcase, there were over 200 participants, many of which were 16-year-olds. To prepare for these type of events was extremely difficult for me because I didn’t know where to start. My family didn’t have a baseball background, I didn’t have a mentor, and the internet was just starting to get interesting. Quality information was not at my disposal. So, I did what everyone did. I lifted, I threw, and I hit.

There was something extremely wrong with this plan…

I was preparing like I was getting ready for a season, rather than preparing for a showcase. There is a huge difference.

Usually, when I talk to a player after a tryout or showcase I get one of two responses. “I did great, I had a lot of fun.” “It was okay, I am not a good tryout guy, I wish we played more games. If we played more games I could really show them what I can do!”

I get more of, “I am not a tryout guy,” response than any other. And I get it… But how do you crush it in our skill evaluation?

Before we start, I need to explain the reasoning behind why you should be more excited about your skills evaluation than your game evaluation.

With a lot of players at these events, it is better to over excel at the skill testing. These are the most important for two reasons. One, you get the undivided attention of the evaluators at the camp and two its’s done at the beginning of the day, so they don’t have event fatigue.

What is event fatigue?

It’s where an evaluator has seen a lot of players and the participants start looking the same.

It’s hard for an evaluator to distinguish between players unless something extraordinary happens. It’s similar to when you listen to the radio. When you listen to the radio on long road trips, every song starts sounding the same.

To crush during these skill tests here is how I would train. To get optimal results I would start training 2–3 weeks before tryouts and do this three days a week. In no way will this make you magically throw 90mph or have an exit velocity of 95mph, but it will make your talent shine. Think about this email as a polishing rag to your Bentley Continental GT-V8.

60yd Dash:

This is the standard distance for a professional tryout. I explained the reasoning in a previous email, but to prepare for this sprint I would do the following:

Quick bursts: 5 x 20yd sprints

Long sprints: 5 X 80yd sprints

Exact sprints: 2 X 60yd sprints

*Find local football field to do workout


SS/2B/3B: you will take ground balls at shortstop. This is where the evaluation is typically performed for SS, 2B, 3B. The fungo hitter will give you 4 baseballs. He will hit them in this order:

1. At you

2. Backhand

3. Forehand

4. Slow roller

With this in mind, I would train in 5-minute intervals with 20 minutes of total time spent fielding ground balls. This does not account for pick-up time.

1. At you = 5 minutes

2. Backhand = 5 minutes

3. Forehand = 5 minutes

4. Slow rollers = 5 minutes

1st Base: you will do the same, but take your ground balls at first and throw to third

Outfielders: the same concept but you will take your fly balls in right field and throw to third base and home. In the tryout, you will take 2 fly balls and 2 ground balls.

Catchers: you get 4 throws to second base. Spend 5–10 minutes working on your transfers. 5–10 minutes on your throws.

Hitting: You will get 5–7 swings in a tryout. You need to prepare yourself mentally to only get one round. Do this by taking small rounds of 5–7 pitches. Do not continuously hit, rather hit 5 pitches- take a break, then hit 5 more.

If you would like to tryout for the Tigers, please go to Also, watch this video. It’s how one of our players who went from a 15U Tryout to an MLB Draft Pick.

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How to Get an Athletic Scholarship Using The Internet

In last 8 weeks I’ve been hearing:

“How do you get noticed in this climate?”

“This is the worst time…I feel bad for the seniors?”

“There’s no way for me to get recruited.”

STOP. I’ll tell you right now; you need to pivot. There’s been a tool a group of players have been using, and it’s been slowly gaining attention from baseball influencers. Before I tell you what it is, we need to address the underlying issue.

You need to take control of your recruiting.

How I see high school baseball is this….

1. Club baseball teams primary job is to develop your skill sets, put you in the right events, and consult you. They’re your expert guide and should be your most trusted resource. 

2. Showcases are for creating an internet foot print and be seen by scouts. You’re not guaranteed the scout in attendance will be a decision maker (aka head coach or recruiting coordinator). Also, every showcase is not the same and they offer different types of services. Do your homework! 

3. Tournaments are for competition and for scouts to see game play. Tournament directors are driven by team sign-ups and creating a competitive schedule. Good tournament providers aim for the bracket to have close scoring games.

4. College camps are an educational tool and a chance to see the school up close. You can get recruited from these events, but understand it will take more than one look to get an offer. The rule of the thumb in marketing is that you need to see something 7 times to make a decision. I could make the same case for recruiting a player. 

There are 455,000 high school players in the country. And there are only 25,000 college players. Playing on a local team is not enough unless you have a remarkable skill. Even with a unbelievable skill, you need to market yourself to some degree.

Most player’s think the only way to market yourself is playing in tournaments, showcases, or college camps…this is true, BUT, what is marketing? It’s grabbing needed attention on a product or service. In this case, it’s your ability to hit, field, or throw a baseball.

Now, who are you trying to market too?


Where is there attention?


You need to use Twitter video. The majority of the baseball influencers use this tool to communicate thoughts and ideas. They typically follow people inside their networks like Driveline or the ABCA, but they also follow baseball clubs.

Tweet a video and get your club to retweet you. Continually do this when you have the right skill sets and you’re going to get the attention of a school.

To learn more about our thoughts on the future of recruiting and how you can use tech in your twitter videos, listen to this episode of the Closing Pitch.