...For every time some parent or family hears the following sentence:  "play for me, and you'll be [magically] recruited. We go to all the right tournaments, get all the great fields, have all the great game times, and attract all the good coaches."  Yes, if someone would only give me a buck every time some travel coach says this (or a version thereof), every time a travel coach implies this, and/or every time a parent hears this (even if the coach didn't actually say it), then I would be lounging on a deck chair on a Mediterranean cruise ship or sipping pineapple juice on the balcony of my condo overlooking a beach in Hawaii. 

Yes, I would have that much money!!!  I know many hard-working, well-intentioned travel coaches who would never even imply the above sentence.  They might try to go to the best tournaments, and they might try to educate their families about recruiting, and they might do their best to get the word out to college coaches, but they would be able to corral their egos enough to make sure parents understood there are no guarantees, and that if you sit back and expect to rest on your laurels, you'd better have some pretty darn impressive laurels! 

I know there are parents who will choose to hear the above sentence even though their player's coach would simply never say it.  And yes, there are plenty of coaches who do either say or imply it.  How do I know this?  Because I get the panicked phone calls from the small percentage of parents who are humble, smart, or dedicated enough to admit maybe they shouldn't have listened or assumed this was a believable sentence.  It's okay to hope that the above sentence is true.  But if you're really on your game, you won't let this sentence define your player's college search!

It is NOT, I repeat NOT, the travel coach's job to get you recruited.  As I state often and loudly, it is his or her job to educate your player about recruiting--and how it really works--to teach you the game of softball, to motivate and encourage you, to provide you with exposure opportunities, and to be honest with you. (And these are not always easy things to do.) However, it is your job to get yourself recruited and if you believe otherwise, you may be in for a very long and discouraging college search.

I know I say this a lot, but since 75% of all college softball players will be competing for Div. II, Div. III, or NAIA teams, it's important to recognize the value of playing at all types of schools. Too many families think that if their player isn't at a D-I program, there's no point in playing at all.  This is often an ego-driven attitude that shows a complete lack of awareness about how much good competition is available at all levels of college ball. It's also an unfortunate attitude because a lot of players end up giving up softball when they're not recruited by a D-I college, and others sit the bench for 3 or 4 years at a D-I school, wondering for much of that time, if their experience could have been different.  That's why I'm sharing an article I stumbled upon that makes a fantastic argument for looking at schools that aren't D-I!   I hope you enjoy it.

High School Softball... It can be challenging because not all team members will have the same agenda. Some are playing just for fun or social reasons (which is fine), while others are focused on making a college team someday. Coaching knowledge and experience often varies tremendously from school to school as does everything else from the intensity of your practices to the caliber of your competition. But don't despair. Make the most of your spring workouts by viewing them as a chance to sharpen your skills and prepare for travel ball. For the college bound athlete travel ball is far more significant. Support and encourage your teammates and work hard for your school. And if everyone isn't on the same page, that's okay. Have fun, and remember to keep your eye on the summer months just ahead!

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