This is the second installment about my former athlete, Drew Dosch. Drew currently is playing with the Baltimore Orioles and I wanted to have him discuss his route to the professional ranks with you.
The first post with Drew talked about his high school career and the decision to focus exclusively on baseball. Today will be about his college career and all that it entails.
AK: What was the process for you to get looked at by college coaches? Did your high school coach help? Was it primarily things you did on your own (contacting colleges)? Or were you just that good that they were contacting you and knew how to find you?
DD: Early in the recruiting process I went to some of the showcases in the area and then I would attend a few of the division I schools I was interested in prospect camps. This gave me a chance to perform in front of the college coaches and gave me some exposure. Also, I was lucky enough to be a part of a very good high school team that made playoff runs and had players that also brought colleges to see them. In addition, I found a summer baseball team that played in the bigger tournaments in the area where the college coaches were likely to be at.
AK: Knowing what you know now, how would you go about the college recruiting process differently (if anything)? There are all sorts of tryouts and showcases for athletes these days, do you think they help, would you do more, less, none? Or would you have prepared yourself to do better athletically to showcase your talent during games?
DD: I do not think that I would have gone about the recruiting process much differently than I did. As far as the tryouts and showcases go, I think they can be very important, but also needed to be looked at closely. For athletes like myself that were not high priority recruits coming out of high school it is important to put in some effort in getting yourself out there and seen by coaches. However, there are some of these tryouts and showcases that are put together for the person to make a profit without many college coaches even being there. With that being said, there are some really good showcases as well. The first time that Youngstown State’s coach ever saw me was at a showcase, and that is the school I eventually went to. My personal choice would be to go to the well-known and good showcases but more importantly, I would advise going to college camps. Many schools will host their own camp where all their coaches will be their instructing. This not only gives you a chance to show what you can do but also interact with the coaching staff and establish a relationship.
AK: As you transitioned from high school to college sports what did you do to prepare yourself for the next level? Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently?
DD: The biggest thing was the time commitment to your all around game that is necessary to compete at the next level. Obviously, as you move on to the next level every player around you gets better. It becomes a matter of what you can do to stand out amongst the crowd of good players. This means taking extra practice reps and mental reps to perfect your craft. Also, I spent more time in the weight room and conditioning than I had in my whole life combined. This was very beneficial as I became much bigger, stronger, and faster which helped me compete at the college level.
AK: What were some of the differences between high school and college athletics that you noticed? Some that were tough to adapt to? Etc.
DD: The biggest difference is that the game speeds up a drastic amount. I thought I was prepared and ready to compete at the next level but I was a little surprised at how much faster the game got for me. You go from playing against 14 to 18 year old kids to playing against sometimes 22 year old men. Everyone is bigger and stronger and better at their sport. At the college level, sports become like jobs. Athletes spend so much time on their skills and training that they are a lot more consistent than the athletes in high school.
AK: What were some of the highs and lows of your athletic career in college? Favorite moment?
DD: My freshman year of college seems like it was one big low moment. I really struggled adjusting to the college game and never really had much success catching up to the speed of the college game my first year. The turn-around came my freshman year in summer ball when I got back to relaxing and just playing the game like I had for so many years. Once I learned how to do this my success started to come back to me. My favorite personal moment of college was being names to the Capital One Academic All-American team twice in my three years. This award takes into account on both field performance as well as the students accomplishments in the classroom. Getting acknowledgement for being not only a good baseball player, but also a good student was a great feeling.
AK: At what point, did you start to get significant playing time? How good did you become?
DD: I got significant playing time right away in college. My freshman year I missed 13 games due to a strained right bicep tendon but started every other game the whole year. My first year was a struggle though. My freshman summer leading into my sophomore year is when I really got better as a baseball player. It was not until I understood how to slow the game down and relax that I could internalize all the coaching I was receiving and ultimately improve as a baseball player.
AK: At a college, I’m assuming you did a lot of strength training and conditioning with coaches. How often was that? Off-season, pre-season, in-season. Was it basically year-round and they just changed the intensity depending on where you were during the season? Any breaks.
DD: College strength and conditions programs are very extensive. In the off-season, we would lift four days a week at 6 am. This would include a conditioning program consisting of sprints, agilities, etc. as well as an early morning lift. Lifting and conditioning programs were built based on our position and strengths and weaknesses. Our in season workouts were less frequent and also less aggressive. We dropped most of the conditioning since we were playing at least four days of week. Also, the lifting phase became less intense and was more about maintenance and preventing injury rather than building a lot of new muscle. Any time we were going to leave campus, such as winter break or summer break, we were given a strength and conditioning program that would outline what we were supposed to do every day we were gone from campus.
AK: How prepared were you for the lifting that they had you do going into your freshman year?
DD: Honestly I was not prepared at all for the lifting program they gave us our freshman year. The strength coaches at Youngstown did a good job of taking it slow and teaching us the lifts and getting us into them. However, my high school workouts never truly prepared me for a full college strength and conditioning program. I never really had a person to outline a good strength program in high school that took care of all parts of my body. Looking back I pretty much just wandered around the weight room until I found something that I wanted to do. In college there is much more structure and it paid off in a big way for me. I saw almost immediate improvements in my strength and speed.
AK: High school athletics is a different kind of fun and if you are good enough the game seems rather easy to you. How was college different if anything? Same type of camaraderie? Tougher to shine? All business?
DD: When I first started college athletics it was a lot different for me. The game seemed like it did not come as easy to me and I had to work a lot harder for everything I got. This is partly because everyone around you is better at the college level. Then, once I got into the flow of things the game slowed down and became just as fun as it always had been for me. As far as team camaraderie, I would say college athletics is head and shoulders above high school. The reason I say this is because you do everything with your college teammates. You live with them, eat with them, travel on long bus rides with them, etc. It has a lot more of a family feeling than high school athletics did for me at least. I would not say that college is all business either. I think it is a lot more important to get your work in during practice, but that does not mean there are not plenty of times for laughs.
Great information in this post by Drew. The final segment we will have about Drew is his professional career thus far. It is short, but some good information in it as well.