9-1-14 SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAZE... This is a tough time of year for senior softball players...unless, of course, you're right on track with your college search. But too many players discover they've been targeting the wrong schools or they haven't been proactive enough, and now they're not sure which end is up. On top of that, most seniors are juggling high school classes, SAT or ACT tests, senior activities and, in many cases, fall ball. How do you handle it all? Should you be reaching out to coaches? Should you be waiting to see what happens? Should you be going to camps? Should you be applying to colleges? OMG? What should you be doing????
If you want these questions answered definitively, shoot me an email and set up a phone consultation. Believe it or not, it is possible to get through this without blowing a gasket. You just need to know what to do next and then go out and do it!
9-13-14 ONCE AGAIN...IF I HAD TEN BUCKS... ...for every time a college coach tells me "...confidentially..." that he or she a) ignores all emails that aren't from someone she knows; b) forwards most emails to an assistant who generally ignores all emails that aren't from someone she knows; c) gets a hundred or two hundred emails a day and can't possibly read, let alone answer all of them; or d) has practically given up on email completely, I would have enough money to buy a really nice new laptop to handle all of my emails. Consequently, I get very frustrated when players tell me, "I emailed my top ten or twenty colleges, and sent a resume." (I get even more frustrated when the player tells me that's what her travel coach told her to do. Please...travel coaches! Take out a loan and buy a clue!)
Why do I get frustrated? Because being recruited successfully is a combination of hard work, knowledge of the process, luck and timing. And when players send out emails that are never read or answered, it often puts them behind in the process. Start with a hard copy letter and video link. Follow up with a phone call. And then, once a coach has proven he or she will reliably use email to communicate with you, you can take it for granted that your emails will be important enough to be read and responded to! But until or unless a college coach has demonstrated that email is his or her primary method of communication, you run a serious risk of taking yourself right out of the game by relying upon those emails to grab a coach's attention.
10-1-14 HAVING A PLAN B It's terrific if your dream school recruits you or if you're fortunate enough to find a good fit early in your senior year. However, it's important to have a Plan B in case that doesn't happen. This may include trying out as a walk on somewhere or even not playing softball. Consequently, you need to be sure you don't overlook the college application process that starts--for some schools--as early as October.
You should have three to eight schools you like well enough to apply to as backup schools. These might include schools where you wouldn't play softball or schools where you'd hope to make the team as a walk on. In a dream world, all players would be recruited by their number one college and all would receive good financial aid. However, recruiting isn't fair, and sometimes things don't work out as we may have hoped they would. Sometimes too, players decide as they go through their senior year that softball--while something they love--isn't destined to be part of their college experience.
That's why you want to spend a little time identifying alternate colleges and getting your applications in on time...just in case!
10-15-14 KEEPING THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN Parents, please try to stay in touch with your high school player during her college search. If you don’t have regular family meetings to see how she’s feeling about everything, you may discover-after you’ve sent her off to college-that she was just going through the motions or doing this because it mattered so much to you. She may have wonderful softball memories, and she may still treasure many aspects of the game. But she may have realized that it’s time for her to focus on other things.
Hopefully, your young lady is truly committed to playing college softball. But you may have noticed that teenagers tend to change as they grow, and it's not unusual for players to decide it's time to hang up their cleats while they are in the midst of the college search process. Some find that playing softball has become less important than a certain type of collegiate experience. So, be sure to check in with her as you go through this, and if she's showing signs of losing interest, try to be understanding. This can be heartbreaking for mom and dad to hear, but it’s definitely better to find this out sooner…rather than later.