11-1-13 LET THE BUYER BEWARE As far as I’m concerned, playing on a travel team solely because the coach assures you you’ll get a scholarship is a potentially deadly mistake. Yes, you want to play for a knowledgeable, experience coach with good connections. But don't be swayed by promises that may not turn into something real, because by the time you realize that Coach Joe Blow was a Blow Hard, you could be way behind in your college search. What's worse is that the smarter players may have taken the available spots on teams you would have loved to play for.
If you play travel ball, make the most of it. Face as much good competition as possible, get information to as many college coaches as you can (in advance), and try to have fun while you’re improving your game. Spend extra time in the gym, get caught up on your conditioning, and don't forget to keep your brain (mind) sharp as well. Travel ball seasons should be full of good memories, and they’ll certainly be full of hard work. But they should never be time wasted!
11-12-13 THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING NCAA 2014 CONVENTION Proposals on NCAA recruiting rules will once again take center stage at the January 2014 convention. As has happened at the past several conventions, delegates will consider (nothing is set just yet) a number of recruiting guideline changes. Among these will be making the start date for recruiting in all sports July 1 following the sophomore year. Div. II delegates will continue to consider several changes to the official visits guidelines.
While creating a unified date for the start of recruiting would certainly simplify things, I am not thrilled at the idea of Div. I coaches asking young athletes who don't know which end is up to define their college experience that far in advance. And while I suspect no one will raise this argument, allowing such early recruiting could be seen as being discriminatory. Why? Because teenagers grow and mature at different rates. And the athlete who just happens to reach full growth physically three years ahead of his or her classmates may appear to be ready to be recruited when, in fact, he or she is still a teenager at heart. But coaches are people, and like all of us, they make mistakes sometimes! In any case, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Be sure to watch my web page in January and February for more information!
12-1-13 USE SOCIAL MEDIA WISELY I've written about this before, but I'm posting a link to this article because it really says it all. Kids will be kids, and that often includes doing silly, even dumb, things. It's part of growing up. However, if you're hoping to get admitted to a selective college, please be aware that their admission officers will have eyes everywhere.
12-12-13 MAKE SURE YOU SEE THE FOREST FOR THE (CHRISTMAS) TREES! It's not uncommon for softball parents to project their expectations and assumptions onto players that aren't their own daughters. It's quite understandable, but can also be very distressing for the recipient and her parents. While there are a few aspects of the recruiting process that tend to hold true for all players, the actual route your athlete will take will not be identical to all of those who went before her.
Yet, a lot of parents want so badly to believe that because Joe Smith's daughter (apparently) had it easy or because she was offered a Div. I scholarship, the same has to hold true for their player. Then they are frustrated, upset, or even angry when their athlete's college search doesn't meet those expectations.
It is critical for the sanity of all concerned, as well as for family harmony, that parents gain some perspective. If you're smart, you'll take what other parents tell you happened to their daughter with a grain of salt. You'll also understand right from the get-go that your player's recruiting process will be unique to her. You will remember that it's her life, and that her needs that should come first--e.g., her education, her desire to play (as opposed to sitting the bench), her ability to contribute to a team, whether or not the school is a good fit, and so on. There may be similarities to other players you know, but don't expect or insist that your daughter's recruiting process will end up being a clone of theirs!
PS. My book or any of my services make a phenomenal gift for an athlete you love (and her family!) Happy Holidays!