By Justin Graves

justin@athensnews-courier.com

So exactly how do players know if they have what it really takes to play at the collegiate level?

There have been many outstanding high school athletes in all sports go on to the next level, only to find out they didn’t have “what it really takes.”

All college coaches basically have five categories that use to evaluate players. The first few categories are related to athletic abilities, but mental and personal traits are also important in a college coaches decision in choosing players.

UNA softball coach Jeremy Reece said that athletic ability is very important, but personality and character are just as equally important.

“You not only have to be able to compete at the next level, but you also have to be the type of person who is willing to work to get better,” Reece said. “The first things an athlete must realize to be successful at the collegiate level is that they are more than likely no longer the best player on the team.

“When you get to that level, everyone is good player and athlete, so usually the ones who are willing to put the work in are the ones who will get to play.”

Former Athens State softball coach Larry Keenum also ranks character high on his list when it comes to looking at players. Keenum said that the first trait a player must have to even be considered is that they are willing to give 100 percent everyday.

“After effort, the player must be coachable, intelligent, have class and be an athlete,” Keenum said. “The most important thing is that they are able to make the grades. If they can’t, then they are useless to us.”

Shelton State baseball coach Bobby Sprowl lists all of the same traits in his list, but takes it one step further. He said that players who don’t play the game all year round are not as attractive as the ones who do.

“If the player enjoys the game enough to play all year round, then you know that player is willing to put the necessary work in that is required,” Sprowl said.

“Coaches want to know what leagues you play in just like employers want to know your work history. Work ethic is very important in choosing junior college athletes.”

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