Question: In general, can a softball player set up an unofficial visit with a college if the college coaching staff has never seen her play? My daughter is under the impression that a college coach would not entertain an unofficial visit unless they have already seen a girl play. Would you provide some clarification on this subject? Thank you.
Answer: Unofficial Visits Yes, she absolutely can set up an unofficial visit even if the coaching staff hasn't seen her play. These kinds of visits may vary from school to school depending on the college coach's availability, but almost all coaches are happy to at least chat with an athlete who's visiting the college at her own expense.
It's a good idea to write, email, and phone the softball office to let them know when you will be visiting, and you may find that some coaches don't respond with a full agenda, but simply encourage the player to stop by their offices to say hello. It's also smart to be aware that players who have been specifically invited on unofficial visits (usually because they're too young to take official visits) may get a different type of welcome in terms of the time the coach spends with the player and so on.
Nonetheless, I think it's a great idea to visit as many different types of colleges (and teams) as possible, and for most players, the majority of these visits will be unofficial. And most coaches will be glad to see the player!
NOTE: While you may meet with a coach during an unofficial visit to a Div. II, III or NAIA college at any time, you may not meet with a coach at a Div. I college during an official visit until after Sept. 1 of your junior year.