Seven key things when preparing yourself to be a softball recruit
By Tom Mauldin, Asst. Director FPNW
There are a lot of things coaches want in a softball recruit. But there are, generally, seven that we at Fastpitch Northwest and in our private coaching lives, hear often.
Odds are, if you (or your parents) are reading this, you’re likely on the right track. But take a look, then take the test and see where you stand.
1. Communication skills. This is vital. Coaches want to hear from the student athlete more than they want to hear from the parents. After all, it is the athlete who signs the scholarship with the college. Coaches also want athletes who will come to them when they have questions, regardless of the topic or issue. In other words, they want athletes who are mature enough to move forward on their own and do not need to rely on their parents to speak on their behalf. Communication off the field is every bit as important as on the field.
2. Academics. Be a low risk for a coach and learn how to study and test while you are in high school. Strive for as high of a grade point average as possible as it will benefit you in all walks of life, not just in extra-curricular venues. Do this regardless of whether you play sports and dream of a scholarship to help pay for college. Do this for a better life. Remember, there are more academic scholarships available to students than there are softball scholarships. And remember that most softball scholarships are partial scholarships. If you can earn a partial academic scholarship, as well as a partial softball scholarship, do the math. You can bet the coaches are.
3. Work Ethic. This is a no brainer. If an athlete works hard, they are likely to enhance their skills and therefore, enhance a teamʼs chances of performing well. Coaches love athletes with good work ethics. Be the first on the field and the last to leave. And do not be afraid to ask a coach for extra work. That not only shows your desire to improve, but itʼs also another great way of communication.
4. Good Attitude. No one wants an athlete with a bad attitude. It spoils the experience for everyone so donʼt be that person. Be the person your teammates want on their team. If you want drama, most colleges have a theatrical curriculum.
5. Coachability. Be the player who wants to learn how the coaches want it done. Donʼt be that player who says, “my dad taught me to do it this way.” A coach just might remind you that your dad ”IS NOT” the softball coach. Be willing to learn other ways . . . you might be surprised. It’s a great life lesson in preparing you for the workplace after your college days are over.
6. Apples and Trees. If your parents are “those” parents ... talk to them. If your parent thinks they know more than the coach or want to criticize the coach or the umpire, your teammates, other parents, the schools, tell them to stop. Tell them that this is about YOU. This is, after all, YOUR opportunity. Are you going to take them to college with you? Donʼt let your parents ruin your opportunity to play at the next level. College coaches DO NOT have to speak with parents, they usually do, but nothing says they are required to talk to parents. Again, this is about YOU and if you receive a scholarship, YOU will be the one signing the contractual agreement with the college – not your parents. That said, remind your parents often how much you appreciate ALL THEY DO FOR YOU.
Athletic Ability. Work to enhance your strengths and weaknesses. Work often. Donʼt make excuses that you donʼt have the time. Donʼt make excuses that you canʼt find anyone to workout with – there are plenty of solo drills you can do to enhance your abilities. Ask your coaches for extra hitting, fielding, throwing. Ask a coach to help you improve your ability to help the team be better. Remember the bottom line – coaches are looking for well-rounded athletes.
Take the test and grade yourself:
How many did you pass?
7-7 = A+. Get you player profile in the mail today (don’t simply rely on emails ... cyberspace is called cyberspace for a reason – not every email reaches its destination).
6-7 = A-/B+. Focus on shoring up that weakness and continue to improve the others.
5-7 = B-. You have work to do ... start today, work hard, continue to work hard and remember that dreams are made up of a few key things – those who do what they do more than others, do it better (and enjoy it a lot more).
4-7 = C. Lots of work to do every day... come early and stay late. Be motivated.
Anything 3-7 or below, need not apply.
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