Coach has been very gracious in forwarding these great tips. I felt obligated to forward them on to you.
Take few minutes and read through this post. I think you will find some tips that you may not have known about the college athletic recruiting process.
(By: Nic Nelson, Head Softball Coach, Lake Land College and Founder of Elite Softball)
If you we’re to ask most college coaches what player is the most important to their team the majority would answer the recruit. Put yourself in a college coach’s shoes, knowing that every recruit has the ability to affect their program either positively or negatively. In other words a recruit could help a college coach win a championship or get them fired. Along with softball athletic talent, coaches are looking for team players who are self-motivated, possess personal pride, personal responsibility and a true passion to play the game. Coaches are not just looking at a player’s softball athletic talent but their attitude and character as well. As a college head coach, I study recruiting and constantly ask coaches about their recruiting technique to help improve mine. Knowing some of these techniques can help you as well. The following are comments that came from respected and successful NCAA DI coaches I have visited with about what they look for when recruiting.
“I look at the little things that indicate self-motivation, personal pride and passion for the game”
After all, when they come to school, they have to be able to take care of themselves. They must get to class on time and pay attention to studies, work out on their own, and represent our school with pride. To help try to find these characteristics in a recruit these are little things I look at:
· Is she the first to practice or games and the last to leave?
· Does she carry her equipment or does your mom and dad?
· Does she dress and look like an athlete. Wearing their uniform with neat pants pulled up, jersey tucked in, hat or visor on right and no jewelry?
· Does she sprint on and off the field?
· Does she run everything out?
· Does she leave her feet (dive) when necessary?
· Does she look and act confident?
· Does she warm up and practice as hard as she plays?
· Does she keep moving around and talking through out the game between pitches?
These little things help me determine if a player might be self motivated and possesses personal pride and responsibility.
“A player that can play more than one position is big to us”
If you can play more than one position, you become more valuable to college coaches and have a greater chance of getting in the game. Most players don’t play the position in college that they played in high school. Also, in college the softball season is longer and more intense. So injuries come into play more than in high school, being able to play another position comes in big to a college team. Besides, the more positions you play the more options the coach has and the more valuable you are to them. If a coach asked you what position you play the answer is what ever put me on the field.
“If I don’t see it at the plate I don’t even look at the field.”
You must be able to hit. Softball is no longer a short game – it is a combination of the short game and the power game. If you are watching the NCAA World Series, how much bunting do you see compared to your high school and summer teams? At the higher collegiate programs, the slap and bunt are emphasized less because of the athleticism of the infielders, so you must be able to hit the gaps to keep them honest.
“I like to watch recruits from the other side of the field to check their attitude.”
I want to see how a player I’m recruiting reacts to adversity. What is she like when she strikes out or giving up a home run. That is just as important as their good play. Is she focusing on the game or practice or is she talking to people about other things or to people off the field?
· Does the player throw the bat or helmet when she gets mad when she strikes out?
· Does she hang her head down in disappointment?
· Does she yell and disrespect teammates?
· Does she show disrespect to coaches, umpires and parents?
· When a player is having a bad day, does she stay in the game and support the other players or go off and sulk?
· I start watching the player I’m interested in the moment she gets out of the car.
Always act as if someone is watching, and play like everybody there came to watch you play. It takes three things to win: quality talent, good coaching and team chemistry. And the last is the most important. When you are in college you spend more time in a day with your teammates and coaches than you currently spend with your family. So we look for people we want to hang with. Simply put, if I think you will be disruptive to the team chemistry I’m not going to recruit you. Note: Perception is reality. The attitude you project is the attitude people perceive.
“Our first look at a recruit’s character is to go to their Facebook page.”
Once I find a recruit I’m interested in, we’ll take the time to check out her character. We call coaches, teachers, counselors, and principals. But my first character check will be to get online and check out their Facebook page. Remember, perception is reality. If you don’t think this is important, I can give you the names of some past coaches and players who are no longer coaching or playing because of Facebook. Most coaches have someone on their staff that checks their players’ Facebook page once or twice a day. Once you comment to a college to play, you now represent that school and everybody involved with that school. If a member of the board of trustees or administer see or hears something they don’t like I can promise you the coach will hear about. And these are the people paying the coaches salary and your scholarship. Welcome to college athletics it isn’t high school or travel ball.
“I start the recruiting process with a player’s email address.”
I get around 40 emails on average a week. If I see an email with a questionable name like Sexypitcher1, partygirl 2, or anything that might indicate a character flaw, I just delete her and that’s as far as it goes.
“We’re not going to waste a scholarship on kids who can’t keep up with grades.”
You’re going to school to be a Student Athlete, not an Athlete Student. Eligibility rules to be able to play are not like high school where as soon as you get your grades up you can play. If at the end of the fall semester in college you are academically ineligible, you are ineligible for the entire spring semester. Something a college coach does not want to have to explain to the Athletic Director is why a scholarship (the school’s money) was wasted. To put it in another way could you keep your job if you lost 10 to 30, 000 dollars of the company’s money? Also NCAA has rules for athletic programs who don’t maintain graduation and GPA standards which could include the risk of losing scholarships.
“I really get bothered if all the contact is with the parents.”
We are recruiting the player, not the parent. We get concerned when a recruit comes on campus with her parents and we ask her a question and the parent answers it. I wonder what’s going to happen when the player gets on campus without her parents. Will she be able to function? I remember the time we brought a player on campus and had planned to make her a full ride offer. But after dinner, the offer went to ½, and if we had dessert it probably would have been nothing because of her dad. Parents, stay out of the way. Your daughter is the one getting recruited, not you. Coaches want to visit and look at her, not you. Also get to know the rules. By NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to talk to a recruit or her parents off campus during certain times and never at tournaments. Doing so risks the chance of that school being given sanctions or even making your daughter ineligible. Thumb rule: if coaches want to talk to you or your daughter, they will find you.