By Tom Mauldin
Fastpitch Northwest director Ken Olson and his staff are busy working on team selections for the July 24-25-26 College Exposure Tournament slated for Borst Park in Centralia.
“It doesn’t get much busier than this,” said Olson, who has directed Fastpitch Northwest since its beginning nine years ago. “We put a great deal of time in selecting the teams so they will be equally competitive and creating the best matchups the college coaches are seeking.”
The team selection is critical. Olson and assistant Tom Mauldin spend hours on the phone talking about players, exchanging videos and researching player backgrounds.
“This is the most stressful time for Tom and I with all that goes into our tournament, said Olson. “But the most stressful thing I deal with is late entries, people are busy and sometimes forget to register.”
“It really puts us behind the 8 ball,” he said. “No matter what, it will be a fantastic tournament.”
In addition to the time-consuming team selection, Olson must schedule games, field maintenance and umpire assignments for the three-day tournament. Add to that ordering jerseys, awards, scheduling volunteer coaches.
And making sure the tournament program gets to the printer on time.
“Needless to say, making sure the information gets to college coaches in a timely and accurate manner, is as important as anything we do,” said Olson. “And it all hits at once.”
All of this is in addition to regular administrative duties Olson, who noted that the final Prospect Evaluation Camp (PECs) takes place on Monday, July 23. The final PEC is for players who were injured or had travel conflicts at previous PECs. Olson noted one year, there were so many, two PECs were held simultaneously the day before the tournament. He expects a dozen to 15 this year.
“It’s important to create equal teams and to ensure players get time in front of the coaches at their strongest positions,” said Mauldin. “And we try to build team’s, so the players get experiences of playing in a college-team atmosphere … with new teammates, guess coaches. Getting them out of their comfort zone and not playing with their friends is a great growth opportunity.”
Teams are selected from players who attending Player Evaluation Camps in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii. It includes players from those states as well as Montana and Utah.
But while things are busy for the Fastpitch Northwest team, players need to get busy email coaches and inviting them to come watch them play.
“Players can help their chances of being recruiting tremendously by letting coaches know when and where they play,” said Olson. “Each team has different color jerseys making it easy for coaches to find teams and prospects.”
Contacting coaches is “imperative” said Mauldin.
“It’s a great way to show a college coach that you have confidence in your skills by inviting them to view your game,” said Mauldin. “Coaches want player who communicate and have confidence in their abilities.”
He added that coaches are looking for players who communicate, are coachable, have good attitude, work ethic and high academics and supporting families.
“It’s a grand sport and a wonderful community of people,” said Mauldin.
Get ready to play ball.