Question: My daughter is a pitcher, but she is small. How hard will it be to get her a look and not be judged just on her stature, but on her performance?
Answer: This is an excellent question, but not an easy one to answer. The reason is that college coaches differ tremendously in what I call their recruiting "prejudices." For example, some coaches will only consider pitchers who are a certain size/weight or throw at a certain speed. And it may be next to impossible to get them to change their perceptions/recruiting patterns. On the other hand, some coaches look at what the pitcher does rather than her size.
There is no question that a 5' 10" pitcher who weighs 165 lbs probably has a longer reach and may have the potential to throw harder than a pitcher who is 5' 2" and weighs 110 lbs. Yet there are competitive pitchers throwing successfully---even at the Div. I level---who aren't tall or who are slight in stature. Put another way, there are 5' 11" pitchers who throw 60 mph and hold their own, but who aren't necessarily All Americans, just as there are 5' 4" Div. I pitchers who are quite successful and lead their teams to conference titles.
My best advice to your family is to be sure to reach out to a variety of colleges and teams. Don't just look at Top 25 Div. I colleges. Her size may be a factor in whether or not some college coaches consider her seriously, but ultimately her performance will be more of a deciding factor. So, follow the guidelines in my book, Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level, and contact Div. II, III and NAIA colleges as well as Div. I schools. The key to finding the college and team that are right for any player is not limiting your options and staying open to all possibilities!
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