7-19-18          KEEPING YOUR COOL

In my 25 plus years as a recruiting consultant, it's safe to say I've heard it all. But that doesn't mean it's all old hat. For parents going through this process for the first time, the softball player's college search can wreak emotional as well as financial havoc. Families who might be better off putting money into a college savings account instead max out their credit cards paying for hotels and bats and pitching lessons. And adult parents who consider themselves to be realistic, level-headed, and hard-working can lose all touch with reality.  This occasionally results in behaviors that range from silly or mildly embarrassing to downright nuts.

I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the emotions of the moment, especially when you want so badly for your child to succeed. But let me give parents a word of advice.  TAKE A DEEP BREATH and TAKE A STEP BACK. If you can't stay grounded and maintain perspective, let someone else guide your daughter's college search.  Whatever you're feeling---fear that some other player is better than yours and will take away your daughter's spot on a team, or frustration and disappointment because college coaches don't see the same things in your player that you do, or intense anxiety because you can't pay for your child's education---it's fine to acknowledge those feelings.  Just  don't ACT on them!

Your player will almost certainly NOT make $100,000 a year or more as a professional softball player after she graduates college.  Your first wish for her should be that she get an education that prepares her for a rewarding career and (hopefully) enables her to earn a decent living.  Your second wish should be that if SHE wants to play softball, she finds a college and a team that provide her with a positive collegiate experience with the sport she loves. And relying on an athletic scholarship to pay for your daughter's education is somewhat equivalent to trading your cow for a handful of magic beans.

One final observation.  Try to stay in the real world.  As parents, you essentially have two choices.  Choice 1) You can be proactive, guide your player through her college search, realistically assess her life needs as well as her softball skills, and do everything in your power to help her find the college and a team that are right for her.  Or Choice 2) You can choose to believe other people should make this happen for her, that she shouldn't have to do any work, and that she should be recruited just because she's a good kid and a good player.  And if this doesn't happen, you have the absolute right to blame someone else! Like it or not...I can guarantee that the happiest parents and with the the happiest players will be those who make Choice 1.


If you're a player who hopes to play in college (or the parent of one), here are a few realities to keep in mind as you go through summer ball.

1) 75% (or 3/4 or .75 or 7 1/2 out of ten) of all colleges compete at the Div. II, Div. III or NAIA level. (This doesn't even include JCs.)  That means only 25% of all entering freshmen in the fall of 2018 will be going to Div. I schools. And a fair number of those Div. I teams won't be as competitive as a top Div. II or NAIA program in case you were wondering.  SO...if you're limiting yourself to Div. I colleges, right out of the gate, you eliminate 75% (or 3/4 or .75 or 7 1/2 out of ten) of your competitive opportunities.

2) Many---not all, but many---Div. I coaches are done recruiting for 2019 and a number of them may be done for 2020.  Is this fair? NO.  Is it a mistake? QUITE POSSIBLY. Should they have waited for you?  MAYBE. But you can't make a coach who believes he or she has all his/her 2019s locked down suddenly decide he/she has to have you...particularly if the team's scholarship money has been spent.  Yes, you may very well find someone to offer you a walk on spot, and if that works for you, fine.  But I've discovered that most of girls aren't happy being role players and sitting the bench...even at a big name program.

3) Most Div. I coaches won't recruit players they can't see perform in person. If your travel team won't be playing where the Div. I coaches you're writing will be scouting, you've got a problem. You might get lucky and be able to attend a camp run by a Div. I coach who is still looking for 2019s, but with the 2018-19 Div. I recruiting calendar going into effect in August, both camp and scouting opportunities for Div. I coaches will be limited in the fall.  On the plus side, Div. II and NAIA coaches can have prospects work out with their teams during a camp visit, so if they can't attend your tournaments, they may still be very willing to recruit you. And while Div. III coaches can't have prospects work out with their teams on campus visits, some Div. III coaches will be happy to recruit you based on your skills video if they absolutely cannot see you compete in person.

I'm not saying you have to look at one type of school or another.  But recruiting is still a game of musical chairs.  There are only so many spots available, and there are way too many players who want to fill those spots. So, if you generate interest from a program where you could contribute and where you can get a great education, please give this school a serious look.  And if you've only focused on Div. I colleges with your mailings, it might  be time to broaden your recruiting horizons a bit...if you really do want to play in college!

(And if you're a 2019 grad who is in rapidly reaching panic stages, why not set up a phone consultation? I can almost certainly help you get your college search back on track before it's too late! For information, link to my CSC page.)

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