You cannot expect your talent alone to get you recruited – there will always be other players that are more talented. You’re expected to work hard, be consistent and perform, be an athlete. Those are a requirement. So it goes without saying that the hard work and actual softball skills have to be above par to be considered to play at the next level. So you have the skills…now how can you set yourself apart?
It may seem like some players just get lucky. They seem to play their best games, in the best tournaments, in front of the best college coaches. And then the offers just pour in. For some players, that may be all it takes. But for most…it takes so much more. It takes a village. It takes commitment from the player, from their parents, from their travel coach, from the travel program. And, they each play a crucial role in the recruiting process.
Having gone through the NCAA recruiting process myself (and actually having done it TWICE since I transferred – or really even THREE times if you count my brother who was also an NCAA recruit), I’ve compiled my top (often overlooked) pieces of advice for families going through the process today.
To the players…market and promote yourself.
1. Go to every camp hosted by a college on your list. This gives you the opportunity to interact with the coaches as much as you want in their environment. Of course focus on performing well, but go out of your way to talk to the coaches. Introduce yourself. Interact with the current players. Show them how you can fit into their program on their campus. Be prepared with questions to ask. Bring a copy of your travel tournament schedule and resume (see #2 below) to give to them. Ask what tournaments they will attend. If they are coming to one you’re playing in, make sure you follow up with your game times. Also, follow up after camp by shooting them an email, or even better, a hand written note saying thanks.
2. Create a recruiting video. This video should highlight your skills on offense and defense. Keep it under 5 min and only showcase specific skills – no game footage necessary. Ensure you keep a comprehensive recruiting profile/resume and keep it updated. Send your video, resume, and schedule to every coach on your list before each season and at the end, follow up and provide any stat or accolade updates. Check out some clips from one of our Arlington Softball+ athletes and reach out to us to have a session facilitated by one of our professional instructors and have your video created by our experienced videographer/producer!
3. Check your emails and phone frequently. Stay up to date on all communications and respond promptly. Make sure you have a professional looking email address (upgrade your email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org) and respond directly to all contact. It should not be going to/coming from parents’ emails unless the email is actually directed to them. Also ensure your cell phone has a proper voice mail where you state your name – no prank messages or songs as the recording.
Social media – keep it clean and be smart. They will look for you and they will find you – and they will cross you off their list for anything inappropriate.
Always carry your own bag/equipment/cooler – your parents should not be carrying this for you.
Leave your boyfriend at home – he doesn’t need to be at your tournaments.
Always wear your uniform properly – shirt tucked in, hair neatly pulled back, visor if required.
Do not wear any college apparel unless you are committed – you do not need to rep your parents’ schools.
Treat your parents (no eye rolling), teammates (how you cheer them on or pick them up), coaches (making eye contact), umpires (no talking back) with respect – you are always being evaluated.
It is easy for a player to see herself playing in college. It’s not easy waking up at 5am every morning for workouts. The real question is if she can imagine going to college and NOT playing…if the answer is no, be proactive and put yourself in the best possible position to get there. If you’re a player, parent, coach, or program and want to get to the next level, contact Arlington Softball+ at www.ArlingtonVASoftball.com and we can help you get there!
University of Maryland Softball 2010-2012
Baylor University Softball 2008-2010