You Can't Win The Kentucky Derby With a Mule


Players and parents are always getting lectured about the risk of chasing after their dream school at the expense of other schools that might be a better fit. We tell them all the time that they need to keep their options open and to cast a wide net when they are targeting potential schools.


Well, it’s time to get one thing clear, coaches make the same mistake, just in reverse!


A good friend of mine, Hall of Famer, Scott Whitlock, gave me some advice about recruiting that really hit home. “if all your recruits are saying yes, you aren’t aiming high enough!”


Whether you are coaching a college program or a travel ball team, you are involved in recruiting potential players for your team. What you have to offer to a prospect is going to be different, but you are recruiting, none the less. 


If your goal is winning, then you better recruit better players than the people you are competing with.


Yeah, yeah, I know you are such a great coach that you can take any bunch of kids and coach them up to compete with any team.




You can train a mule all you want, it ain’t going to win the Kentucky Derby. If you want to compete with the thoroughbreds, you need to match their talent. In other words, you don’t want to go to a gun fight with a knife!


Aim high. Try to get the most talented players you can. Work hard to convince those great players that you can help them take their game to the next level.


And have a safety net. It’s OK to chase after your dream, but you also need to have players. Go after the top dogs but also keep recruiting the second and third choices on your list. You will get some of the gems and you will also have a solid core of players to support them.


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, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.