From Coach Tory: I have known Sharon Perkins for years. She has been very successful at all levels of the game. Her daughter, Katie (2019), is committed to play softball at North Carolina.
For those of you that are freaking out that the early recruiting is getting scaled back, please understand it’s a good thing. I coached college ball for almost 20 years, travel ball for the past five years, and my own daughter has gone through the recruiting process.
Until the early 2000s, “back in the day,” college coaches recruited you as a high school senior. Coaches went to a tournament because once teams got knocked out, they were able to actually meet the players for the first time face to face, since it was after July 1 prior to their senior year in high school.
From here, it progressed to taking five official visits to five different colleges that are basically FREE to the player. The college pays for the travel, food, and lodging of the player. So, no having to take an unofficial visit every weekend on your own dime. Also, the college coach travels to the player’s house and spends time getting to know the family in their environment.
Today, teams are traveling around the country as a 10u team! I’m all for playing good competition, but what is getting lost in all this is practicing to improve your game. Spending hundreds to thousands of dollars so your kid plays every weekend all over the country doesn’t make sense to me when she plays so much that she goes from tons of travel games right into high school ball and can’t even pitch because she’s wore out. How do parents even afford having to attend a college camp every weekend and take unofficial visits that sometimes aren’t even realistic options?
Choosing a college is a stressful decision even as a senior, but at least they have had time to mature mentally and grow into their bodies and decide how serious they want to take softball at the next level.
There’s a big difference between wanting academics as your priority or softball as your priority in college. Yes, you obviously have to take your 12 hours and stay on track to graduate. But all programs are not created equal. All coaches do not have the same priority as you might. There are huge differences in what these players are “allowed” to study. Unfortunately, the college coach is in the driver’s seat and once the player gets to college, they either pan out for that coach or they don’t. The coach just moves on to the next player, while the player needs to find a new home as they realize it’s not a good fit in any aspect (distance from home, high caliber softball, tough academics).
I would hope that you can all remember back to your mindset growing up. I know that I was always focused growing up, but the things I thought were important or that I wanted as a sixth grader were different than as a ninth grader, or as a high school senior.
In sixth grade I was playing in the woods and building ramps for my skateboard and loved Michael J Fox.
No player commits unless they have an offer, so this falls back on the college coaches. If they are not allowed to offer, kids will stop committing.