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Things No One Told Me...


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#1
SpartanIlliniCub

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On one of my many online scavenger hunts, I came across a post on another softball forum about things the poster wished she had known about the recruiting process and playing D-1 softball. The poster's name is Stacie Mahoe, and she has a great wealth of information about the recruiting process. I thought It was so good it needed to be posted here:

1. I could (and SHOULD) contact coaches of schools I was interested in instead of waiting for them to "discover" me.

2. My high school coaches could put in a good word for me on my behalf. My coach did tell me he'd talk to anyone I wanted, but I didn't know what he meant or how much he really could have done to help me out.

3. Coaches DO look at grades and attitude (I found this out myself when I talked to one of the coaches recruiting me and was thankful I was doing well with both).

4. That I would work out more playing DI softball than I did running high school track.

5. That everyone on the team would work out on their own every day even though we already did a team workout.

6. That I would be pushed, physically, much further than I would have ever thought of pushing myself.

7. That I would feel "uncomfortable" in my own position even though I had been playing the game since I was 9—there was so much to learn in college.

8. That you shouldn't wait until your senior year to take your entrance exams. Luckily I went to a "prep" school and I was advised to take my SAT fall of my junior year right after I finished a PSAT prep course and took the PSAT. Took the SAT once and never had to take the SAT again. But I see LOTS of high school athletes not even prepare for it and not even take it their junior year and then I see them completely STRESSED out their senior year because they have coaches talking to them but still don't have a qualifying test score...talk about pressure going into the test because now you're running out of time and you NEED a good score. Less pressure when you take it as a junior—at least once to get an idea of where you stand and how much prep you should do before attempting to take it again.

Of course, there is more but these are just basics....



#2
BashBabe57

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These all seem like GREAT suggestions/advice and I'd like to add my own list for a Division III version. A lot are similar, but there are definitely some differences.

1- Similar to a DI school, you should DEFINITELY contact coaches instead of waiting to be discovered. With fewer resources for recruiting, Division III schools won't be as active in this department (especially if you are out of state). Since they also can't offer scholarships, they love seeing a player's active interest, and will usually be more than accommodating to schedule a visit to campus.

2- Again similar to the DI list, have your coaches put in a good word for you. Any time a college coach can hear your name with good things behind it will help your cause.

3- Grades and attitude are important at the DIII level as well. My coach asks us specifically about each girl that comes in for a recruiting visit, to know if she will be a good fit with the team. I know it's intimidating, but try to relax and be yourself! The team wants to know about you and answer questions. Have some questions ready to go so you can start conversations. Ask about majors, practice routines, off-season routines, if there are any extra fun team activities outside softball, etc. It's best to be talkative!

4- The amount of running required at each DIII school is variable, so this is a good thing to ask players and the coach about. My school does an hour of conditioning 3 times a week + an hour of lifting 3 times a week in the off-season. During practices times, we still lift 3 times a week, but include the conditioning into our 2-hour practices.

5- I have found that players will not be as motivated as in a DI atmosphere to do extra workouts. At a DIII school, you're not trying to keep a scholarship and chances are you chose DIII so that you could have an outside life and keep up on school work. But again, this area is variable depending on the particular school and would be another question or aspect to feel out on your visit. Depending on what type of person you are, you'll want to find the best fit.

6- You will be pushed enough to stay in shape, but it's more of a responsibility to push yourself. It's very important to be self-motivated. The NCAA limits instruction by the coach throughout the off-season, so it's up to you to stay on top of things.

7- You'll feel uncomfortable at first, but will soon feel fine. Depending on what you have been used to in high school, the competition is not so intense that you'll never feel comfortable at your position. I came from a pretty competitive suburban area and found the same type of competition. NOTE: Because the talent is so different from team to team, it's very important to actually GO TO A GAME of the team you're interested in. This will give you a very good idea of how they play and what competition to expect.

8- Get an idea for how the coach deals with academic conflicts. Again, you're there to be a student/athlete, and since there are no athletic scholarships, they should be accommodating to this type of thing. Asking how professors deal with them is also important.

9- Ask the players how they really feel about the coach! This is very important because you'll be dealing with him/her constantly, and no matter how much you think YOU know how to run a team, you're not the one running it. You still have to answer to your coach and they are the ones making the practices/workouts. Ask what their style is and generally what type of person they are.

10- Go on a visit! Meet other players and pick the school that has the players you can see yourself being friends with. You're with your team a lot, and you want to find a place where you think you'll fit in.

11- Check the team's history in its conference as well as in the post-season NCAA tournament. The best schools are the ones that win their conference and make it to this tournament. Again, since the talent is not consistent from school to school, if you're looking for a quality team, these are the benchmarks you should be looking for.

#3
Titan09

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This is a really great list, BashBabe. I agree with all of these, but especially a few of the points in particular.

6. It is definitely more of your responsibility to push yourself at the DIII level. There will always be one or two teammates that are not motivated. Do not let these people bring you down! You need to be self-motivated with academics and athletes at DIII schools, so make sure you have this.

7. I did not go to any games of the schools that I was looking at. That was a big mistake. Fortunately, I got very lucky with the school that I picked to go to. I am currently on a very talented and competitive team, in a competitive conference. You will probably not be this lucky. Definitely go to games before deciding!

10. Just like I did not go to games, I also did not do an overnight visit with players on the teams of any of the schools I was looking at. This was another huge mistake. Again, I must be the luckiest person on earth, because I came blindly into a team that had great chemistry. I could have just as easily picked a team where everyone hated each other, so I am very thankful. Go on a visit, even if you are an extremely shy person. That will help you a lot in your decision.

I got lucky. If you are currently looking into Division III schools for softball, follow BashBabe's list and learn from my mistakes!!!

#4
StacieMahoe

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SpartanIlliniCub: glad you liked my post at the other forum.

To the other ladies: great info shared!

It's definitely true that you feel comfortable eventually. In fact in one year's time you come quite a long way, which is one of he great things about playing (seeing yourself learn & grow).

There is also a list of 25 College Recruiting Facts at http://allaboutfastp...com/25Facts.pdf.

Wishing all of you on your college recruiting journey the best!

Stacie

#5
SpartanIlliniCub

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Thanks for the great info Stacie. I edited my post above to include your name so that everyone knows its author. Thanks again!

#6
Hackster10

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1- It is very important to meet the coaches from the schools you are interested in! I know when I was on my college search a few years ago, I could tell a lot about a softball program through what the coach told me, not to mention it is crucial to get along with your coach in order to enjoy college softball! (at least for me!)

2- I was lucky and my high school coach helped me out a TON when I was contacting schools. It didn't hurt that he was also my counselor!

3- Grades are crucial especially for D3 because they cannot hand out athletic scholarships, but they can give you money for high academics. This was a deciding factor for me, because the university I chose found me money to attend through academics so I could also play softball.

6- I agree with the need for self-motivation in college softball. The competition is very high, so players will work to improve their skills on their personal time. Also, it takes extra time if you have an injury and need physical therapy, or extra attention for that injury, that must be completed on your own time.

8- So far in my 4 years I have never had a professor who had a problem with me missing class for a game. At most, I had an extra assignment given to me to make up for the missed class.

9- It is important to ask about the coach to current players, but beware that they might just be telling you what you want to hear because they are recruiting you! I know on one of my visits, everyone LOVED the coach, but the next season five players quit and he was fired for scandelous reasons. So make sure to look for honesty!!!

10- As crucial as it is to talk to coaches of schools you are interested in, it is even more crucial to visit with the teams! This very much helped me narrow down my choices when I was college searching. Good team chemistry is important for success, and the team I am currently on is just gets along so wonderfully, I cannot imagine playing with another team!

#7
FaspitchPapa

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I like the first point about contacting the coach of the program you want to play for.  It's just like the job market-- you cannot expect a head hunter to call you up and offer you your team job.  You need to go out there and hustle!  See a program you want to be a part of?  Send an email or letter to the coach or, better yet, GO VISIT THE COACH in person.  Show that you have dedication and moxey.  And sell yourself!  Talk about how softball is your passion and talk about how you want to be part of the program and when you will be eligible for school.

 

What an incredible impression you will make if you go sell yourselves to the coach in person.  So go get to it!



#8
MammaZord

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Off topic from softball - but Mahoe's advice in #8 applies to all kids planning on going to college. For the love of God, take the ACT/SAT at the end of your junior year! If you don't get the score you want, you can try again the beginning of senior year. I tutor 3 senior students who are applying to college; one of them still has to sit the for SAT and she is stressed to the max! For a student-athlete, I can only imagine that the stress is even higher. So much stress for our youngsters, but I suppose they will come out of it even stronger and more prepared to be an adult. 






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