Lightning Baseball

Next Level Program
Posted Jun 5, 2017

Next Level Program

Looking for that “next level” baseball program now that you’re reaching the more competitive levels of youth ball, or maybe heading into high school? Some things to consider and questions to ask…


  • How long as the organization you’re considering been around? Granted, a new organization might be the perfect fit for you, but there is something to be said about programs that stand the test of time.
  • Read testimonials – are they relevant to you? Are they current? Sit down with the people that are going to make the decisions impacting you…and don’t sign up until you can get ALL the answers you need.


  • Investigate the coaching staff…find out the depth of the staff - how many coaches they have, and review the resumes of every one of them. It’s one thing to have a couple high profile coaches at the top of the organization, but as a player, you deserve to be coached by the best, regardless of which team you are on, don’t you?
  • Find out what kind of style the coaches coach with…do they fit your needs? There are coaches that are drill sergeants, there are “bucket” coaches, coaches that teach, coaches that want to be your friend, coaches that are honest, and others that are not. You need to find out what best fits your needs.


  • How committed to development is the organization? Is it more about finding the best players and putting them on a couple top teams or is the organization focused on developing every single player in the program? Do the research. It’s easy to promote a schedule of games and/or practices, but something entirely different to execute on that plan. Some programs have a tremendous reputation of developing players and others tell people they have a great reputation of developing players. Do the homework. The players that are generally the most “developed” are generally the players that have the greatest successes, regardless of what level of baseball they are playing.


  • Is the organization you are investigating committed to the overall character of each and every player on, and off, the field? If so, how do the prove that to you? Ask the questions.
  • What happens when specific rules are broken?
  • Does academic achievement matter? Do DECA, student body activities, and more come into play?
  • Do they coach players on social media usage? There are so many things out there that shape that character – do the homework to find out if these things matter.


  • Can you simply register and pay a fee and be guaranteed playing time? How does that impact you, if at all? Does it matter to you?
  • Everyone pays “x” amount of money, and the old adage, “you get what you pay for” isn’t always true. So do the homework to find out specifically what you are getting for that fee.
  • What level of competition will you play (and can they prove you will get that level of competition)?
  • How many games will you get?
  • What kind of league will you play in?
  • How many workouts? How long are the workouts? Are they worthwhile or worthless? How many coaches? Do the coaches actually coach or do they just hang out? What type of equipment will you use and/or receive? Are there hidden costs? How easy is it to trace your money you’ve spent?


  • Does the organization have the reach to help you accomplish your highest goals? With what level of success can they prove to you?
  • Do they help with recruiting (for those in HS)? In what way? Can they prove it to you? Can they show you how they do what they say they are going to do?

There is so much to consider and it is incredibly impactful on your future as a ballplayer, and more. Be diligent. Ask questions and keep asking until you get the answers you seek.

Next month, we will talk about things to consider when investigating colleges.