Talent and experience count when it comes to recruiting, but so do your “smarts.”  Now, I’ll be honest.  It is unlikely you will convince the coach at Tennessee or Alabama or UCLA or Washington to recruit you just by being determined. At that level, you really do have to possess a certain skill set, a certain mindset, a certain type of competitive experience. Those coaches generally get to select the very best athletes in the country, and despite what moms and dads would like to believe, those coaches don’t need to take kids who are “raw, but could be as good as the current team members with a year or two of coaching.”

I put this in quotes because I hear similar sentiments too often.  “My daughter could be as good as the #5 hitter on ASU’s team if she had a chance to work with the coaching staff.”  Maybe she could; maybe she couldn’t.  It doesn’t matter because the ASU coach has earned the right (and gets paid) to look for players who are already there!

However, your “smarts” (savvy, wisdom, comprehension, etc.) can work for you or your athlete when it comes to knowing what schools would go “Wow!” when they see you or your player in action. These are the coaches who will recruit you or your player-and these are the coaches who will offer scholarship money if they have it.  It’s pretty basic advice, but it’s the key to beating out the competition at all levels of college ball!  Be smart enough to pursue the teams where you can actually contribute, and you’ll find those are the schools that will want to pursue you!

Here's what I hear all too often from/about parents, and each statement is followed by my response.

Parent's Belief:  “Your daughter may need help, but mine is a lock for a scholarship.  She's already had letters.”  (OR)  “Her coach says people have asked about her.”

Debunking this:  No player is a lock for a scholarship until an offer is on the table. Letters--unless they come with a Letter of Intent or a specific aid offer--are rarely worth more than 45 cents and the price of the envelope/paper.  As for her coach saying people have already asked about her...WHICH PEOPLE?  Have they asked her to phone them to discuss a visit, an offer, etc.?  Have they written her asking her to phone them to discuss a visit, an offer, etc.???  (Remember the basic recruiting facts of life. Only 55% of kids are getting any athletic scholarship money. Most kids who get athletic money get partial amounts--often small partial amounts.  75% of all kids will play at a D-II, D-III or NAIA college!)

Parent's Belief:   “We don't have the money to get professional guidance through this process.”  

Debunking this:  If you bought a $350 bat; if you're buying hot dogs and tee-shirts at the ball park; if you're NOT putting money away for college, in actuality, you need help more than ever because you're being penny-wise, and pound foolish.

Parent's Belief:  “Her coach says all of his kids get recruited because they go to the right tournaments.”

Debunking this-my favorite:  Going to the so called "right" tournaments means nothing if you have games at dawn or dusk or you get stuck out at a satellite field...or it rains.  And worst of all, it means nothing if your daughter isn't a big-time clutch performer.  Say WHAT?  No matter how well she does at the "right" tournaments, if your player only does it when no one is watching, you might as well stay home.  And I have yet to meet the parent who can guarantee me HIS or HER daughter will always perform when it counts.  I'm not saying she won't eventually be recruited, but you may want to have a back up plan in case the coaches who do come to see her walk away.  (Remember, recruiting isn't fair and it's never going to be.  I can't help that.)

Parent's Belief:  “I don't want to listen to sound recruiting advice because deep down inside, I'm not really sure my daughter is good enough for UCLA (and I can't accept anything else).” OR “I'm not really sure she wants to play.  It might be that I want it more than she does.”

My response:  Save your money. Buy my book, but certainly don't spend $350 on a bat.  If your gut is telling you she doesn't really want it or that what you want is unrealistic (and you're not prepared to adjust your expectations), you are better off putting that $$ into the piggy bank...or your next child.

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