July can be a very trying month for softball families...and for reasons that are both positive and negative. If your team went to Colorado, for example, and did well, most everyone will be a good humor. If your team has qualified for a major National event such as ASA or PGF Nationals, you might be looking forward to a new and exciting softball experience and the promise of seeing lots of college coaches.
Unfortunately, for every single happy family out there (those families who feel they are actually moving forward with their player's college search and those families who are having fun), there are probably 20 or 50 or even 100 families that are experiencing less uplifting emotions.
These feelings range from anxiety to frustration, from despair to anger. It may be because their team always gets stuck at satellite fields or has poor game times or isn't doing well. It may be that their daughter is struggling at the plate and has gone 2 for her last 15 at bats. It may be that college coaches simply weren't paying attention to their team (or their daughter).
And sometimes, this misery is due to the simple fact that a light-bulb finally went on over Mom and Dad's heads. They're realizing that their player is not going to be magically discovered by ten Div. I college coaches all of whom want to offer full-ride scholarships. Maybe she's not really a solid Div. I prospect or maybe all she did was send out emails that coaches didn't read or that only elicited camp invitations or maybe she never took her SAT or her grades aren't good or maybe the family simply doesn't understand how recruiting actually works.
These issues can be dealt with if you know what to do. If you just sit back and moan and groan, however, the odds on your player finding a college and a team that she loves become about as good as the odds that you're going to win next week's $32,000,000 Super Lotto!
7-15-17 HONESTY REALLY IS THE BEST POLICY!
During the recruiting process, things happen. You might get injured or have a bad semester in the classroom or not do as well on your SAT or ACT as you hoped/expected. Your family's financial needs might change or you might discover you really can (or cannot) go far away from home to attend college.
When these "things" happen, it is absolutely critical that you be up front and honest with college coaches who are recruiting--or even simply talking--to you. I'm not saying you have to tell a coach that you sprained your thumb or rolled your ankle during high school ball or if you got a D or C on a midterm report card (and you know you will bring that grade back up by the end of the semester.)
But if you hurt your knee and have to miss several months (or longer) or you discover that the 3.5 GPA you told coaches you were carrying is actually a 2.9, then YES, you do have to come clean. You can address the issue with both a sense of humor and with a clear game plan for resolving the problem. If you need to have surgery or do rehab, get a detailed explanation from your doctor along with a prognosis and timeline for recovery.
I deal with players who get hurt every year, and almost all of them--baring a career ending injury--not only recover, but go on to find a college team to play for. While it's true that some coaches will move on once they hear you've been injured, most coaches are quite used to dealing with this. Like it or not, injuries are part of the game. But if you lie to (or even just mislead) a college coach (as one player told me her travel ball coach told her to do), you could jeopardize your recruitment...not because of the injury, but because of the lie.
Injuries and bad grades simply cannot be hidden. They will come out...they always do. So be up front and find out what you need to do to get over and/or around this obstacle rather than pretending it doesn't exist in the first place.
8-1-17 IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR SENIORS...IF YOU'RE WILLING TO GO FOR IT!
In my experience, this is the time of year when rising seniors and their parents start to panic. It was easy to push reality aside over the summer when you were traveling every weekend and---in theory, at least---it seemed that there were lots of coaches looking at your player. OKAY...there were lots of coaches at the tournaments you attended. But surely they were there to scout your player...weren't they???
However, summer ball is over, school will be starting soon, and it's time not to fish or cut bait, but to fish or get off the darn boat!!!! From here on out, whether you're looking at Div. II, Div. III, NAIA or even Div. I colleges (though many are done recruiting for the coming year), recruiting has to move forward or it dies. It might seem to go 2 steps forward, then 1 back, or it might seem to go in circles for a bit, but if it's not going somewhere specific, then you need to move on.
Consequently, if you're a senior, and you don't have any active recruiting on the horizon, you need to come to terms with reality and possibly go back to the drawing board. If you initially only wrote Div. I programs, you now need to look at Div. II, III and NAIA teams. If you are on the West Coast, you may need to look east. If you didn't write anyone---assuming incorrectly as it turned out that you would be magically discovered and recruited---then you'd better get to work creating a resume and letter of introduction and get those in the mail---along with a fall schedule, a transcript and a video link---and get 50 or more packets out in the mail ASAP.
Follow those up with an email and then a phone call. Work your way through your list until you start hitting those schools where the coaches are going "wow!" because you've contacted them before they finalized their recruiting decisions. You can make it happen. It's not too late. But if you persist in sitting there doing nothing, then nothing is what will most likely happen to you.
PS. If you want more directed guidance, please email me or give me a call. Let's see if I can help!