This time of year everyone is thinking about recruiting. Colorado is the hub of all things softball for a couple of weeks each year because so many players and parents are hoping to be seen by college coaches. College coaches come out in great numbers to evaluate and find the players who will make up their future rosters.
Over the years, I’ve done dozens of recruiting seminars. I’ve tried to share some of what I have learned with softball players and their families as they embark on this process.
There are many things that I hope these players and families will take away from these sessions but none is more important that what I call the “14 Commandments”.
What are the Commandments supposed to accomplish? To help the next wave of potential softball players avoid making the same mistakes others have made.
No. 4: Be enthusiastic and pleasant!
College coaches are tying their professional future to the people they recruit. They watch a lot more than most recruits and their parents think about. It is not just about between the lines that matters.
How many times have you seen a player dragging themselves around the park like playing softball is the worst job they could possibly have? They act like being at the ballpark is almost like being in prison. They mope, whine, complain, act rudely and on and on the list goes.
Today’s athletes have no idea who “Big Brother” is but it would be a good history lesson for them the learn. Someone is always watching you. College coaches are often trying to decide if they want to give you a scholarship that could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are also deciding if you are the person who can help them win. And if you’ll help them keep their jobs.
Players need to be on their game from the minute they arrive at the park until the minute you pull out of the parking lot. If you are sullen, rude, or mean-spirited, you’re probably hurting your chances of playing college softball. You only get one chance to make a good impression.
Have a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Be enthusiastic! Look and act happy, even if you aren’t. Be someone people want to spend time with.
News Flash: College coaches talk all the time about players. It’s not uncommon for one coach to spend time watching a player they may not be interested in as a favor to a colleague who is.
I have had players and parents treat me like I was nothing because they assumed they would be playing for a coach at a school much higher up the food chain that me. What they didn’t know was that I was there to watch them for “that” school. What do you think I relayed to the coach who asked me to help them out? Oops!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wisconsin and is now working as a professional softball instructor.