High School Prep Academy
Hi, my name is Evan Pratt, I started coaching after professional baseball around 1996. I started out at Southwest Missouri State as a Volunteer Coach. I then went to the University of Missouri in the spring of 1998, where I was an assistant coach for 18 years. Then became the Head of Baseball Operations until 2018. Then I went to St. Louis University as the Recruiting Coordinator for three years and then, I have been here with the Rawlings Training Center and Rawlings Tigers for about a year and a half.
You're probably wondering, "What is High School Prep Academy?"
Go into greater detail below in a question-to-answer format.
What Is It?
The High School Prep Academy is basically designed to help kids increase their baseball IQ. We wanted to come up with something that was different from a lesson and is built for a specific ball player. We want to give the tools to the player who is looking to prepare for high school baseball. I wanted to implement some of the things that I've learned over my 20 years of, being around one of the highest forms of college baseball where I recruited the best talent across the United States.
Who is it for? Who is it not for?
This is for middle-school-age players. We also have freshmen in this class too. So basically seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, and it's geared towards, the public and tigers.
We're certainly, open arms to whoever wants to join and learn. This class is built for players who want to build their baseball IQ. Who wants to work on the nuts and bolts of their game. I'm going to put a spin on it. I'm going to look to provide suggestions, ideas, and strategies that I want them to implement.
There's a lot of information that I give out as well too, as far as how to use your glove, how to use your bat, how to use your equipment, and how to be a good teammate. What are they looking for? How do they help you get one step ahead? Not just literally learn how to pick up a ground ball and throw it or hit a baseball. These are important, but if you're wanting more, this is the class for you.
What are the specifics of the class?
This is a great question, we will have 10 to 15 players in each session. It's a four-week session over at Balwin, on Tuesday nights; And it's me that's coaching.
So I'll run everybody through the drills, through all the infield stuff, outfield stuff.... the biggest thing is that I want them to think. I want them to learn. I want them to get their minds rolling. Example: how to be a better defensive player, put yourself in a better situation, and play the odds of what's happening in the game.
I want them to be able to realize, to know, that being in the right spots at the opportune time can change how a coach views you as a player. The coach is going to look up and think to himself, "man, that kid knows what he's doing." If you're able to get a coach to say that, you've got him. He's on your side. And we're not even talking about skill! Take skill and throw it out. I could care less about skill. If you're a good baseball player and you're in the right places to make plays, to do things correctly, you're gonna be on the field. You're using your head. You're a smart ballplayer.
If this class is preparing for high school, what does it take to make a high school team?
A lot of smarts. High school coaches are learning you for the very first time in that two or three, four day window at tryouts. They may not have done their homework on you. You may be the best player since sliced bread and played select baseball here, there, wherever. But if you get in that four or five day window with that high school coach and he doesn't know you, it's hard for him to pick. Anyone can have a great week, and anyone can have a bad one too? How do you control that?
You want be able find ways to stand out in front of that high school coach. And ways to do that is doing the little things like being in the right position on defense, knowing situations, and how to hustle. You don't want to have the coach tell you to move two steps to your left. You should already know these things. You already know that because this player's gonna do that, and that player's gonna do this. And you're gonna play the odds of this game. The only way you get to knowing this is by learning it before the situations presents itself.
A good majority of players are not prepared for this to happen to them. It's all about the little nuances that make a bigger separation factor during tryout week.
How do I sign-up?
To register for the class, please call our front office at 636-394-2255. They will be able to help you with session dates and times. In 2023, we have two more sessions. The January and February classes. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!