I'm sure the dream is to play in college. To play in Oklahoma City. To win a National Championship. Thousands of girls want that opportunity but never get the chance to. Sometimes its timing, sometimes its exposure. Great players can fall through the cracks so its incredibly important that you put yourself in the best position to not be overlooked. Here's how to let them know just how interested you really are.
Do you want to play in college? WEll, Listen Up:
1. Send Individual Personalized Emails.
Mass emails aren't a thing and never were. Sure, you get them from those websites you signed up for or purchased something on, but in the world of recruiting, DON'T DO IT. EVER. Think about a college coach as being the CEO of a major company. Their inboxes and lines of communication get flooded daily with people trying to sell them stuff or what not. You HAVE TO make yourself DIFFERENT. Start with the Subject. It should include your name, organization, age, and a little something extra. Do you have a well-known hitting coach? Did you score a 2300 on your SAT? Did you include footage?
You have less than one line to get them to want to open it. Don't get us wrong... the rest of your email is JUST AS IMPORTANT. You need to address them DIRECTLY and FORMALLY, not as Claire or Sue, but as Coach [INSERT LAST NAME HERE]. Always error on the side of formality until told otherwise. In your email you need to include the following (and the BEST WAY to do so in in BULLET POINT FORM. Coaches don't have time to reach a novel. Make your emails, short, concise, and to the point, with information they should know and can find quickly - otherwise they may not read it.) :
Include the following:
Name, Age, Year You will Graduate High School, GPA, Position(s), Location, Organization (Club/Travel Team/LEVEL/Coach)
Why this school?
Upcoming Schedule (Make sure you are sending schedules to large showcases. Recruiting days are limited)
Ask them to send you any information they can about the school, program, and/or upcoming events (camps/clinics)
Nothing is worse than sending an email to a coach with their name misspelled or incorrect. You can find most the names of the coaching staff on 99% of the University's ATHLETIC HOMEPAGE. Send emails to all levels of the coaching staff, as they ALL work as a team in the recruiting process.
More than anything, they want to see girls that WANT to go THERE, so all messages and communication MUST come from the player NOT THE PARENT.
2. Keep Them Updated.
One email is NEVER ENOUGH. Due to NCAA rules, collegiate coaches have restrictions on when and how they can communicate with you. BUT, that doesn't mean they haven't read your emails nor listened to your voicemails. Continue to update them! Sometimes things get lost or deleted along the way. Let them know your game schedules (what field you play at, what time, against who, etc.). Their weekends are calculated - so don't leave anything out. Are you going to an advanced skills recruiting camp? On Deck? Firecrackers Workshop? Adidas Futures? etc. Let them know. They just might have a chance to come watch you play.
3. Roll the Camera.
Whether you decide to send recruiting videos or not, that's up to you. Some coaches like them, some think they don't measure up to watching live play. Either way we can't stress enough the importance of CONTINUOUS FOOTAGE. DON'T CUT. DON'T EDIT. Anyone can use an editing software and send only a string of your best reps. BUT that's not reality! Perfect doesn't exist in this sport. Plain and simple. Put together a video compiled of 5-10 continuous reps. They want to see your imperfections, your flaws, how you do when you mess up, what happens when you're tired. They want to see it all. A coach is there to make you BETTER. They have to see what they have to work with.
4. Call Them.
Again, to reiterate, NCAA rules restrict collegiate coaches on when and how they can communicate with you. BUT, if you are lucky enough to get a hold of them they CAN talk to you! If you don't reach them, leave a VOICEMAIL. They can still listen in on what you have to say. Make sure you come PREPARED with a list of questions you want to have them answer. We know phone conversations, especially with complete stranger can be uncomfortable, but you will earn serious points for being an adult. Nothing speaks volumes like a player who knows how to have a one on one conversation.
5. Visit Campus.
We can't tell you enough how important it is to go visit college campuses. It may be everything you dreamed of but when you get there, its nothing you imagined. More importantly - LISTEN TO THIS - the softball program is only a PART of the entire college experience! Some people forget that at the end of the day you are going to that university for the UNIVERSITY. Does it offer the education you are looking for? Do you like the campus? Do you like the surrounding area? How far is it from home? What is the student body like? How is the football team? Don't get us wrong, softball IS important, and you are going to be spending countless hours on that field with that coaching staff, and with that team, BUT you have to think about all the other factors that go into the college experience. Ask yourself: WHAT MATTERS TO YOU?
Once you are on campus make sure to do the following:
Find the Visitor Center
Sit in on a class (if possible)
Eat a dining hall or cafe on campus
Walk by the Athletic Facilities
Talk to current students
Talk to current athletes
Politely INTRODUCE yourself to the coach if they are in their office and AVAILABLE
Ask them what it takes to get there, what they are looking for in your recruiting class, and what makes their program so special to you
You never know what might happen. They could invite you to watch practice. They could ask you to come to a recruiting camp. They could suggest you to keep in contact.
Keep your options OPEN. Don't put your eggs all in one basket. You never know what you might like.
6. NEVER, EVER Lie About Your Grades.
RED FLAG ALERT: Under no circumstances should you ever lie about your grades. EVER. Being a collegiate athlete can be summed up in one word: ACCOUNTABILITY. Coaches look for players that they do not have to worry about OFF the FIELD. They look for players who are going to get the job done, whether that means taking exams on the road after you get back from a game at 10 pm or turning in their papers on time even though they are rehabbing an injury. Their lives revolve around softball. Your life revolves around "STUDENT-ATHLETE." There's two parts to that phrase. Lying about your GPA, grades, or test scores doesn't earn you any points once they ask for official transcripts.
Be honest, work hard in the classroom, and keep your character intact.
7. Recognize Attitude is Everything.
In this sport you are going to fail a lot more than you are going to succeed. It's the nature of the game, and you have to realize that college coaches recognize that. Maybe during the game they watch you hit a home run. Or maybe they see you strike out looking. OUTCOME doesn't MATTER. ATTITUDE does. How did you handle yourself after you failed? After you made an error? After you missed the squeeze play? Did you get knocked down? Did you get back in there? Did you cheer on your teammates? Be an athlete: Be calm under pressure. Be alert at all times. Be a team player. Attitude is EVERYTHING.