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Benefits of Middle School Emersion Into the College Process

Since 1998, I’ve worked full time in the college showcase player development business and have contributed to over 7,000 players playing in both the college and professional levels. With over 20 years of experience, I'm writing this article as an expert in the field. The information in this article comes from real stories of player development. The points made in this article are simple yet powerful examples of how young aspiring athletes can achieve great things through the Trosky Player Development System.


This article is for both “Player and Parent” teaching them how to avoid the many myths and pitfalls within the baseball experience of pursuing a college scholarship. I will also point out the many benefits for both the “Player and Parent” for attending Trosky Camps and learning the college recruiting process in a player’s pre-high school years.


Set some quality time aside to read this article. Absorb the examples and teachings that’ll guide you and your son on a successful journey together.


Better Everyday!


Thank you,

Nate Trosky

CEO: 6TH Tool Nation






Track Record of Success (6/6)

Over the past 8 years, I selected 6 players to personally mentor in their pre-high school years. These players I spent an extra amount of time with, training, teaching and inviting to elite showcase/prospect events. The goal was to build their confidence, maturity, and experiences. The idea was to advance their learning curve so that when they played high school baseball they’d act and play above their years. All 6 players started and were impact players their freshman year on their high school varsity team.


Players 1 and 2 are sons of close family friends and are currently playing high-level DI college baseball while receiving a quality college education. Players 3 and 4 are currently in high school (my 2 nephews). The younger nephew committed to the OSU (at the time the #1 team in the country) and my older nephew committed to an elite DI Academic powerhouse. Players 5 and 6 committed to Stanford University. One is currently still in high school and will attend Stanford next year while the other one signed a professional contract in the 3rd Round of the MLB Draft and is currently spending time on the big-league spring training roster.


These 6 players began attending my showcase/prospect events the summer following their 6th-grade year. All 6 players committed on a substantial baseball scholarship (the majority being full-ride offers) following their freshman and sophomore high school seasons and the majority of them also were selected to play with Area Codes and team USA. Below I have listed some of the reasons why these 6 players were so successful and how we can benefit and learn from their experiences.





  • Early Recruiting: Over the past few years, the recruiting process has significantly changed. DI colleges are recruiting players as early as 7th grade and the colleges are running out of scholarship money for high school juniors and seniors. Even the lower-level colleges are filling up their rosters significantly faster than before, making it more challenging to be recruited during a player's junior and senior year. This trend of early recruiting makes it important for pre-high school players to begin to understand the recruiting process and to start to develop their physical strength, mental maturity, and 5 tools now.


Note: Committing to the process in middle school, the 6 players were all recruited, had numerous offers and were verbally committed as an underclassman, not just to colleges but to each of their dream schools.


  • Early Development: Physical strength, the 5 physical tools, and advanced baseball skills take years to develop. Starting player development (mentally and physically) at a young age is a big advantage. Players that attend Trosky Showcase Camps receive a “Personal Player Evaluation” from coach Trosky, evaluating and assessing each player’s strengths and weaknesses. Players leave camp with a clear understanding of “5 Tool Development” along with what it will take for them to succeed at the next level. Complete Player Development takes time and players with a head start have a huge advantage over those that wait.


Note: The 6 players began to take, mental development, physical development, and 5-Tool Player Development serious. As they entered high school their mental maturity and 5 physical tools were advanced for their age creating serious college, USA Baseball, Area Code and MLB interest.


  • Experience / Confidence: Entering into their freshman year of high school, these young players had already attended several Trosky high school showcase camps and had begun learning and understanding the college recruiting process. Their early experiences helped them acquired and build Confidence. Both experience and confidence take years to develop and gaining these qualities was a big contributor to their success.  


A problem with most ballplayers is they lack confidence, and this is typically due to a lack of experience. When higher-level knowledge and experience are gained at an early age, athletes elevate their confidence level of play to another level.


Note: You can't teach experience, the experience is only gained through experience, and confidence is a by-product of the experience. The 6 players began learning and gaining high-level experiences in middle school, which gave them a level of maturity and confidence the other players the same age didn’t have and weren’t capable of having.  


  • Vision / Motivation: For these 6 pre-high school players, their early experiences created a clear vision of what was possible and attainable in their lives both athletically and academically. As they began to understand what they wanted and that what they wanted was within their grasp, their thinking and behavior changed. When they began to think differently, they began to live differently; their motivation, dedication, and focus was above their years. Another Level.


Note: The 6 players began to carry themselves with “Navigation.” Navigation is when a player knows who they want to become, where they want to go and how they plan to get there.


  • Academics: The 6 player’s verbally committed either their freshman or sophomore years and their high school GPA served as the gateway to the college coaches being interested in them. A player’s GPA is the first component a college coach looks at to decide if a ballplayer is worthy to be recruited. To be academically eligible in high school and to go on and be an NCAA Academic Qualifier, young players must develop solid study habits before entering high school. Achieving in the classroom is a priority taught by our staff and by the college coaches at all Trosky events. When players leave camp they’re motivated to make their study habits and academic achievements a priority.


Note: The 6 players developed quality study habits during their pre-high years and were in-line academically for college coaches to recruit them during their first 2 years of high school.



  • Winning Attitudes and Routines: Winning attitudes and routines are essential to establish both in life and on the baseball field. They create a strong foundation for future development, growth, and success. The pre-high school years are the most important time to develop these habits and when developed, these essential qualities carry over into the type of people and players they will become in high school, college and in life.


Note: In Middle School, the 6 players began to learn and understand the 6th Tool and the important role it plays in their life. The 6th Tool is the character and mental make-up of a player (Self Discipline / Self Motivation / Self Control / Self Confidence / Self Awareness / Self Sacrifice.





  • Educating Parents - Young players need guidance and navigation through this difficult and oftentimes overwhelming experience of high school, travel-ball, and the college recruiting process. There’s nobody better to guide and assist your son than you, the parent. This means it’s your job to get informed and educated within the process. There will be other significant contributors to your son’s success but the most important contributor will be you.


Solution: Trosky Showcase Camps, Boot Camps, and Team Events provides hours of lectures and engaging talks that provide clear guidance and direction on how to be successful throughout your journey.

  • 5-Tool Assessment & Player Evaluations - The process of becoming a skilled high school player and future college prospect begins with a self-assessment and a self-evaluation of a player’s athleticism, skills, projection, 5-Tools, and 6th Tool. After being 5-Tool tested and evaluated by coach Trosky, our staff and the college coaches, players gain new insight into where they currently are and what they need to specifically work on before attending high school. Once assessed and evaluated, players begin to practice and train with purpose, focusing their attention on camp teachings and personal areas of improvement pointed out to them from their 5-Tool assessment, coach Trosky, our coaching staff and from the personal player evaluations completed by the college coaches.

Solution: Trosky camps provide 5-Tool player assessments to all attending players. Players are Tested & Graded (60yd dash, 5-10-5 Shuttle, MPH Throw, Exit Speed, Grip Test, Vertical & Q-AB’s %). Camp participants receive the Trosky 5-Tool Rating Evaluation Card, giving each player an overall grade of their 5-Tools, telling them areas to improve in and where they stand as a future prospect. Handwritten College Coach evaluations are also available to all players by request (a valuable piece of the process) and coach Trosky assesses and projects every player at camp.

  • Player Development - When a young athlete learns the process of player development, along with their strengths and weaknesses, they’re able to drastically improve their skills, tools, and game, and become a sought after prospect. 


Solution: At camp, player development is a top priority (teaching and testing the 5-Tools for both position players and pitchers). The pitchers and position players participate in advanced position-specific skills training with the college coaches and pro scouts.


  • Time and Money - The travel-ball, showcase, and college camp industry has become a multimillion-dollar business. There are 1000's of teams, recruiting services, camps and events that distract and lure aspiring young players into numerous detours and side-roads of wasted time and money. Hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars are wasted each year due to uncertainty and lack of mentoring and direction. Parents and players need guidance through this challenging and overwhelming journey that takes years to learn to navigate through. The longer you wait to enter and learn the college recruiting process, the farther behind you fall and lessen your odds of receiving a desirable college baseball opportunity.


Solution: At Trosky Showcases and Boot-Camps, from the Trosky 6th Tool Nation Weekly Newsletter and the Trosky Right Fit Recruiting System, both parents, and players are given the tools and information to not only save time and money through this difficult process but also to ultimately be successful committing to the college that is the right fit.


  • Projection Performance - I’ve heard it said too many times in people’s response to me after I invite a middle school player or an underclassman to attend a Trosky Showcase Camp. Parent’s typically responding in these 2 ways,


  • “Coach Trosky, thank you for the invite but my son is a little young and I don’t’ see value in attending a showcase camp at his age,”


  • “Coach Trosky, my son isn’t quite ready physically or skilled enough to attend your camp and gain college exposure.”


My response:


  • “it’s important to understand that the baseball journey your son is on is a process. This process takes time and one of the best ways to develop as a player and to gain player maturity is by attending Trosky Showcase Camps. The most important takeaway from attending or camps is not the college exposure but rather the complete experience: training with the college coaches, the player evaluations by coach Trosky and the college coaches, the 5 tool grade and assessment, the mental game training, the recruiting and academic insight, and the numerous player development takeaways.”


  • “Very few players feel ready to attend Showcases because every player has things to work on, everyone! The player development and recruiting process are not about perfection but rather about direction and projection. College coaches and scouts aren’t just looking for ballplayers that have all the skills and tools or that have a great performance on a given day. They’re more concerned with creating a history of individual players, a follow list of players that they feel in the future could potentially be a fit in their program. Rarely is a player offered a scholarship after being seen once. College coaches are looking for players they can build a relationship with, players they can track over time. Baseball is a difficult game and a very difficult game to recruit because of the high failure rate and a low number of game reps. College coaches and scouts understand this and understand that the value of a player is revealed over time.”


  • “College coaches and scouts are looking more to the projection of a player (Projection Performance), rather than to (Result Performance). Result Performance is based on the results in a short window of time, like in a specific game where a player goes 3-3 or where a pitcher throws a no-hitter. The Projection Performance, on the other hand, evaluates not the current results of a player but rather their projection meaning how good will they eventually become after they graduate from high school and enter college. Successful recruiters and scouts look to projection over results.



  • Navigation - Through various camp talks and camp lectures, parents and players learn how to navigate through the next 5 to 6 years ahead of them with efficiency and effectiveness, saving precious time and money.


Topics Covered at Camp: (Note: different topics are covered at the different Trosky camp)


  1. The 5 recruiting pitfalls to avoid
  2. The myths and facts of the recruiting process
  3. How to keep the main thing the main thing
  4. How to connect with the college that is the right fit
  5. How to identify colleges that are the right fit
  6. How to spend your time training and developing
  7. How to have a successful sports experience while receiving a quality college degree
  8. How to navigate through the recruiting process
  9. How to develop the 5 Physical Tools and the 6th Tool
  10. What is the proper follow up after camp


        Solution: Players and parents engage in multiple informative

        talks regarding the 5 Physical Tools, the 6th Tool, the Mental Game and the    

       Recruiting Process. Each talk concludes with a Q and A session. Parents leave

camp informed and ready to navigate.




Thank you,

Nate Trosky Baseball  

CEO 6th Tool Nation