Our son's high school baseball coach encouraged him to participate in a "try out - baseball - evaluation" combine at The University of Memphis over a two day weekend. This combine was for high school pitchers and catchers who their high school coach felt had potential to play at the college level. Our son is a catcher.The combine had college coaches from 50 different colleges in attendance as well as professional scouts from every major league baseball team.
Our son participated in the two day combine with about 100 high school catchers. He graded in the top 5 percent for defensive skills, ball blocking skills, bunt defense, footwork, and "pop time" ("pop time" is how catchers are graded on throwing base runners out trying to steal second base). At the conclusion of the combine, our high school coach came over and showed us the "grade" that our son received.
He was placed in the Top 5 out of the 100 catchers that participated.....however......on each evaluation form was writted........."only 162 lbs"....with the conclusion comment stating "162 lbs cannot block home plate at any level of college baseball"
There were several catchers participating at the combine that were less than 175 lbs that also had this "not big enough to block home plate at the college level" as the "final comment" on their evaluation.
Our son wanted to play college baseball-so-our high school coach moved him to corner outfield for his Senior year. Our high school team went to the "Final Four" in the High School State Tournament and our son had a great year in the outfield and with the bat. He received two Jr College offers and he signed with our local Jr College as an outfielder.
During the summer between high school and the beginning of his Freshman year of Jr College - he got serious in the weight room. By the time Jr College fall practice started he was up to 175 lbs (and he also grew an inch taller).
There were three catchers on the Jr College team and just before Spring practice one of the catchers moved back home to Florida, one was injured, and the other catcher decided to quit the team. The JUCO coach was scratching his head as "what to do". As it so happened, he was talking on the phone with our old high school coach about another prospect and he mentioned the dilemma he had losing three catchers.
Our old high school coach told him that our son was a catcher all the way up until his Senior year.]
So....that afternoon at baseball practice the head coach told our son to go see the pitching coach in the bullpen. They told our son to put on the catching equipment and they brought our two ace pitchers to do a couple of bull pen sessions. Our son did not know what was going on because all of the coaching staff was in the bull pen watching the sessions with the two starting pitchers. Then - the pitching coach started throwing to our son - every ball was wild, in the dirt - and - it was then that the "light went off" in our son's head as to what was really going on.
Long store short - our son became the starting catcher as a true freshman and he ended up catching every game in the Jr College World Series Regional Tournament.
Today - he is 190 lbs, another inch taller - and he is the starting catcher for Victory University in Memphis, TN.
What if he had "listened" to the "expert advice" at the baseball combine and given up his dream of being a catcher in college ???
That's our family's "42 Story".........the "baseball experts" said our son did not have a future at the college level as a catcher......and.....he started in JUCO and is now catching for a four year school.
Sometimes "experts" have good intentions........but.......listen to your heart and go after your dreams.