Softball Players Making College Choices Before Their First High School Games

Great article about the perils of early-aged softball recruiting.

Link - http://tinyurl.com/p55fjqb

Goldfastpitch.com 2014 Rankings

Final Goldfastpitch.com rankings for the 2014 season are posted. As in the past, national tournament play is a major factor in if and where teams are ranked.

 

Goldfastpitch.com 2014 Rankings

Amanda Scarborough’s High School Softball Season Survivor Guide

Amanda explores 4 ways YOU can become a better softball player this season, in her HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL SURVIVOR GUIDE

 

What do Coaches Look for in a Recruiting Video?

What is the right way to create a softball skills video? Charlie Adams of NCSA gives us a few things that college coaches are looking for.

Helpful Softball Recruiting Insights from a College Coach and Current College Player

8 Things to Know About Softball Recruiting

I recently stumbled upon a posting from NCSA, a student athlete recruiting service. A list of 8 things that may be elementary to most, but those new to the recruiting game may find helpful.  Although I do not endorce any one particular service, I do find information on their webistes to be informative.

8 Things to Know About Softball Recruiting

THE ALMIGHTY SCHOLARSHIP DOLLAR

Cathi Aradi- Author of Preparing to Play Softball at a Collegiate Level, has penned another fine article about what that Letter of Intent actually means and what your aid package might or might not include.

THE ALMIGHTY SCHOLARSHIP DOLLAR

Camps Play Key Role in the Recruiting Process

-Please visit GoldFastpitch.com’s Camp listing for the most comprehensive list of college softball camps on the ‘net.

For each propective softball player or parent, deciding how to navigate the recruiting process ends up being very individualized. There are many resources out there that can help you through the recruiting process. Keep in mind, what is suggested may have worked for other players but may not always work for your unique situation. The best approach is not to ask these experts, “What should I do?” but to ask “What are the options I have to best showcase my talents?”. Understanding the options and becoming your own expert may be the best way to navigate the recruiting process for your own personal situation.

One of those many options for exposure is attending a college coaches’ instructional camp. Almost every collegiate coach offers a camp or multiple instructional camps through the year. The most popular time for college camps are June and July. (See a comprehensive listing of camps on goldfastpitch.com). Why do college coaches always make time for their camps during their very busiest recruiting period? They do it because it is an integral part of their recruiting process.

College coaches will tell you, the most valuable opportunities to evaluate a player’s ability is when the player is at their camp. The player is right there at their own collegiate facility, interacting with their own coaching staff and/or players. Recruiting rules allow for direct communication with that player while they are voluntarily attending a camp on campus regardless of age or grade. If the coaches are looking for a specific attribute such as speed, strength, pitching mechanics, etc., you can be guaranteed that it will be a part of the camp’s training and instructional activities. Very quickly the coaches can find players who may have what they are looking for.

Receiving instruction from college coaches based on their philosophy can be very telling for a player as well. A player who has reached recruiting age has received instruction on mechanics and proper techniques through the years. The information received and the instructional method in which they receive through a coaches’ camp can also help determine for the player if that coaches’ method or philosophy matches up to what the player is comfortable with as well.

But here is the golden ticket regarding camps. Attending camps at the colleges that a player is interested in shows to that college coach that you are truly interested in their program. Players who commit to attending the same college camp year after year become very familiar with the coaches and the program. The coaches and the player build a relationship through time at camp that is invaluable to the recruiting process.

Camps are not inexpensive. In fact, budgeting for attending camps is as important as budgeting for the right travel ball program and handling the travel expenses that goes along with that. In addition, because of the timing of most college’s summer camps, planning for attending a camp takes coordination and communication with your travel ball programs.

Goldfastpitch.com offers a comprehensive list of camps offered by collegiate programs across the country and are sorted by date.

It’s Never too Late to Find a Home

YES It’s true, 8th graders are receiving verbal interest, some might say offers, from big time programs. But, those same programs are looking for 2013′s and 2014′s as well.  Read more about this topic over at OnDeck Softball.    Looking for Players in Classes of 2013 & 2014

How to Deal with Closed-Minded or Contradictory High School Coaches

The following article was written by Carly Schonberg and originally published on fastpitchpower.com

I’ve had a number of parents come to me in the past month or so with the following conundrum: their daughter has worked extremely hard with a private coach to get her pitching or hitting mechanics to a particular place. Then when her high school season starts, the coach tries to change her mechanics to something completely different. This is an extremely difficult and delicate situation that must be handled with care—no matter how much frustration it may cause you. Not every instance of this problem will be identical, and there’s no way to pin down a solution that will work every time. The following advice, however, may help you get through it as smoothly as possible.

I’m limiting this to high school ball because, presumably, if you’re having this serious a problem with your tournament team coach you have the option to leave and find another team. Middle school ball is very erratic with its rules, and you certainly won’t be missing much if you decide to skip it—unless your school district has a very cohesive and organized program from the ground up.

FIRST: Be Open Minded Yourself

I have personally been on ALL sides of this dilemma: I’ve been a well developed player with an under-qualified coach; I’ve been a player with a lot to learn from a particular coach; I’ve been a pitching instructor sending my precious pitchers off to all kinds of different school and travel coaches; and I’ve been a high school coach dealing with players of all backgrounds. After all my experience, I can say this with certainty: for every parent/player who thinks their high school coach doesn’t have a clue, there is a high school coach who thinks a player or her parent doesn’t have a clue. And both have been wrong, and both have been right.

At the very least, make an effort to completely understand what the high school coach is trying to teach and why. You may be surprised to find that he/she is more knowledgeable than you thought and might have something very useful to offer you/your child, especially if she is struggling.

What to Do When The Coach is Legitimately Teaching Harmful Mechanics

This situation may very well come up, and then it’s not just a matter of stylistic differences, but a matter of time and money invested in a player’s learning and, most importantly, her physical health and safety. There are plenty of inexperienced high school coaches out there who could very well be ignorantly teaching pitching/hitting mechanics that are likely to have negative effects on the body as well as performance.

In this situation, it is absolutely critical that the parent does not fight the player’s battles for her. Doing so will just create animosity between the coach and the parent that will ultimately be taken out on the player, consciously or unconsciously. Any questioning of the coach should be done respectfully by the player herself.

This is how she should proceed:

  • ASK QUESTIONS. It’s the coach’s JOB to teach, and he/she should not object to answering questions asked in a respectful manner. Respectful is not “But my mom/dad/travel coach told me to do it this way!” Respectful is “coach, would you please explain to me why you want me to do it this way? I understand what you’re asking me to do but I’m not sure I understand what effect that will have on my pitch/swing.” Asking questions is also the only way to find out if, as I mentioned above, the coach might actually be providing some useful information.
  • If you (the player) are certain, after asking and hearing the coach’s explanation, that his/her instruction is detrimental, politely explain WHY you were taught a certain way (this is why it’s important to UNDERSTAND what your pitching/hitting coach is telling you, as opposed to just doing what they say for the heck of it). Explain—without disrespecting the coach’s method—that you are comfortable that way and that you would like to be given a chance to prove that you can be effective. Results will speak for themselves; if you’re the best pitcher on the team, you’re crushing the ball at the plate, and most importantly you’re RESPECTFUL, your coach won’t have much choice but to give you playing time.
  • If your pitching/hitting coach is a reasonable person who won’t let his/her ego get in the way, politely ask your high school coach if he/she would be willing to get together with your private coach to compare notes. Make sure to convey that the purpose of the meeting would be to enhance your understanding. Again, this must come from the player. The private coach should not approach the high school coach out of the blue.
  • If that doesn’t work, learn how to nod and smile. Listen to the coach’s instruction without argument and simply continue doing what you were taught.

You may very well run into situations that won’t be remedied by any of the above suggestions. Here is the #1 thing to remember: high school softball is supposed to be fun. It’s an opportunity to represent your school, play with your friends, and grow as a person. If you are an extremely serious softball player with ambitions to play in college, remember that college coaches won’t come to watch your high school games; your summer tournament team is the vehicle that should take you to your final destination. Relax and enjoy your high school season to the best of your ability and use it as an opportunity to make an impression on your peers and younger players. If your high school team environment is so toxic that you absolutely cannot enjoy yourself, don’t put yourself in that situation. It’s not worth the frustration. Just play for your tournament team and focus all of your energy on that.

As a parent, obviously you’re going to have your child’s best interests at heart. Just remember to make fully informed and educated decisions rather than reacting rashly.

About the Author….

Carly Schonberg

Carly is a windmill pitching specialist and co-founder of Fastpitch Power. She has been a pitching instructor in Westchester, NY for eight years, teaching both privately and in clinic environments. She also designed and built fastpitchpower.com. Please feel free to contact Carly at her website fastpitchpower.com

 

March Issue of ASA Balls and Strikes Ezine

ASA Balls and Strikes Magazine for March 2013, is up just in time for your spring reading pleasure.

Balls and Strikes Magazine

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