I posted a link to this article on my Facebook page awhile back, but it's so relevant and timely, that I decided to include it here as an opinion segment. I often talk about one of the key components of this article--THE RIDE HOME--in my workshops, so I hope the parents who read this get some good tips out of it! It's called, "What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent--and What Makes A Great One. Enjoy it!
So here's the deal... I'm a college coach, and I open my inbox every Monday to find somewhere between 25 and 200 (sometimes poorly written) emails from players who want me to recruit them. (After all, their travel coach said I would if they emailed me.) And these emails just keep on coming and coming and coming. Before most tournaments that I'm scheduled to attend, I could get 200-300 emails with schedules and fields and a list of the nearby fast food restaurants!
On the other hand, a few times a week I go into my office and there's a letter there...addressed to me personally...from a student-athlete who clearly understands how to make herself stand out. She took the time to compose, type and print a letter, put it in an envelope and stamped and mailed it...just so she could show me how much she wants to play in college.
Yes, as a teenager in 2018 (or the harried parents of one), you'll tell me this is old-fashioned, too much work, no fun, etc., etc., etc. And you're right! It is a bit old-fashioned, and it's definitely work. But just wait until you get to college. They don't play softball digitally there. And they'll work your butt off too! If you can't get on board with this, you may find college softball just isn't for you...and that's okay.
But if you want to grab a college coach's attention, dare to be different. Work with Mom and Dad to create a packet to mail coaches...and then...when they email you back, you can go digital. Just remember...when a coach shows up to see you in action, you won't be able to text it in!
3-15-18 BUSY TIMES...
I'm not always able to post regularly in the spring because so much is going on with softball. My clients---juniors and sophomores alike---are working to getting their packets together and out to college coaches. And I'm busy directing traffic and putting their profiles on coaches' desks. I also like to track college games on TV and see some local high school games.
From February to May, I'm working as hard as I can to make sure my players are prepared to make the most of their upcoming summer travel ball season. The point here is that recruiting---for 90% of players---is hard work. If you think it's not, you're probably not ready to take on the challenges of college and college softball.
And if the proposed Div. I recruiting guidelines do go into effect at the end of this year, recruiting is going to get tougher for both coaches and players. That's not a bad thing, but it will require families to have a thorough understanding of how recruiting actually works--and not how some corporate recruiting service or facile website tells you it works!
3-1-18 A MESSAGE TO HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS...
I'd like to remind you how proud you should be of what you've accomplished in your life so far. Some of you have had it easier than others, but you've all had obstacles to overcome and challenges to face. (And not just with softball!) If you've found a college to call home with a team where you can contribute, congratulations to you! But if you are considering not playing in college, there are a few things you might want to think about.
Take my word for it, college softball is rarely what athletes expect it to be. It requires tough choices and sacrifices, and it is definitely not worth doing if you're not passionate about it. Sitting the bench isn't fun either. While there are some girls who can do it happily, most girls who get to college and realize that they'll be sitting the bench whether it's on a D-I team or a D-III will tend to look for other activities to enrich their lives.
It's never a good idea to opt for a school you don't really like or that doesn't fit your needs or that your parents can't afford simply because the coach has offered you a spot on the softball team. And it's better that you figure this out now before you've gone off to a school on the other side of the country.
Whatever you do next as graduation approaches, look at your glass not as half empty, but as completely full. It's simply going to be full of something different than you expected. None of your current softball buddies will be making $100,000 a year playing professional softball five or ten years after they graduate. Everybody will be doing something else. And if you need to start doing that something else sooner rather than later, then so be it. Be happy, be proud, congratulate yourself on your achievements so far and look forward to the new challenges that college will bring. Cherish the memories you've created, but feel good about the new ones to come!