Cole Taylor played at IE for 4 years, and after graduating from Lee’s Summit West in 2017, he now plays baseball at the University of Central Missouri. He took a few minutes to share his experiences playing at the collegiate level and how it differs from playing high school baseball.
First, congratulations! It’s a huge achievement to make the team at UCM. How did it feel walking onto the field at Crane Stadium for the first time?
It was an indescribable feeling. I spent my entire baseball career dreaming about playing baseball at college, and to be here now, I guess you could say it is a dream come true. Having the opportunity to play at Crane has been my best baseball experience…so far.
What’s a typical day like for a college baseball player?
Busy! I wake up and have breakfast by 8 AM and then I’m off to class until Noon. I grab a quick lunch, and then I’m dressed out and ready for practice. We practice until around 6 PM each day. I take an hour to eat dinner, and then I head to the weight room or study hall. I try to be in bed by 10 or 11 PM so I can get up the next day and do it all again.
While I’m busy with baseball, I also have to stay focused on my grades. I have to maintain grades in order to play baseball, and that takes as much focus in the classroom as it does on the field. College sports teams are made up of the hardest workers, the best talents, and the biggest dreamers. To succeed against that level of competition, you have to be committed to grades as much as athletics. Otherwise, the next athlete will step up and take your place.
Success as a student-athlete takes a lot of dedication, planning, and goal setting. I’m still learning how to tie it all together, but I have a lot of resources available to me, and I’m taking advantage of them all.
Wow! That’s a lot. It’s also really good information to learn. Are you realizing results from all the hard work on the field?
I am…absolutely! Being on the field for 4 and 5 hours a day gives me time to focus on individual skills. That amount of attention elevates the game to a whole new level. But, the extra work is essential to compete at this level. College players are really good. They are the best of the best, which means the game is not only played better, but the speed of the game is also much faster. It takes crazy focus to play at this pace, so the extra work is mandatory.
And your grades?
So far, so good. Ask me again while we’re in the middle of the season.
Looking back at playing baseball in high school, what advice holds true today?
Without a doubt, it’s advice that Dave Silvestri constantly gave to us: Respect all and fear no one. In high school, that was a mindset to win the next play. Now, it takes on a whole new meaning for me. I play against guys who can be five and six years older than me. I can’t worry about their experience advantage. I have to step in the box and compete. So, I fully respect them but I certainly don’t fear them.
Respect all and fear no one carries over to everyday life. I say that to myself anytime I face a challenging situation. I can’t thank Dave enough for everything he taught us…on and off the field.
Dave is a wealth of baseball knowledge! We are very fortunate to have him available at Inside Edge. To pay it forward, what words of advice would you give to IE players?
Don’t give up on your dream of playing at the next level. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. You have to be willing to put in the hard work required to get there. That means working on skills every day. Inside Edge provides all the needed tools–great coaches, an indoor facility, and a bunch of great guys who love playing baseball. Take advantage of those things. I did and it shaped me into the player that I am today.