Well-Rounded Athletes Are More Marketable By JOSEPH MANISCALCO NY BlueFire Founder & 18U Coach
is an extremely important event from many different angles. This is when it all counts. The student-athlete is introduced to a whole new realm. Tryouts are more stressful, parents and students are more serious about academics and sports, and the entire college process begins. This is when the athlete’s grades, community service and student activity are crucial. You will effectively be creating a resume for your child starting in high school; a sort of blueprint and marketing profile of her strengths. This does not only include softball, but rather academics, real school activity involvement, community service, work, etc. Essentially, you need to think how to best profile your child and market her Entering High School strengths to a college. Colleges are Entering high school in ninth grade looking for well-rounded students.
College recruiting in softball has exploded over the last 10 years and continues to perplex and dazzle even the well experienced. In meeting with college coaches and discussing recruiting, what they look for and how to get recruited, I have gathered extensive information. This article will provide some insight from my own recruiting experience, the experience of my daughters and players in our travel program, and from participating in dozens of college showcases, camps and clinics. There is no perfect definition of recruiting. Rather, there are a panoply of ideas and information to use as a guide.
process. In the end, there is a school out there for your daughter and if she really From a travel team perspective, look wants to play college softball, I can to play for a great travel team with a almost guarantee that a fit can be found sound approach to life and the game of between the athlete and a school. From my experience, I can tell you for sure softball. my daughter changed her mind many times from her freshman to junior year. Recruiting Process And Timing Most coaches have expressed Academics, Academics, Academics displeasure at how early the recruiting From the start of high school, it’s process starts. In most instances, if you play competitive travel softball, your important that the student takes her daughter will be good enough for a low academics seriously. Aside from the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division fact that a college will first look to III or NAIA school. If your daughter is academics before softball, your life good enough to play at a high-caliber after softball will be guided by your Division I school, her recruiting mind and not how far you hit a softball. process will start a little earlier. From If you are interested in attending an a timing perspective, that can mean as Ivy League school, or any school with high academic standards, you need early as after her freshman year. We hear all the time how these consistent grades from freshman year. younger recruits are already verbally Schools look at the whole package, committed to a college or university. and that package primarily includes In my humble opinion, this is too early. academics, athletics, social activities, It’s too early because teenagers at this community service, student maturity age are, for the most part, immature, and passion for the school. The SAT irresponsible, confused, have low self- and ACT are important components esteem and don’t know what they want and appear to be a standardized from day-to-day, much less yet four equalizer for colleges. While it may not to five years into the future. They are be fair to students who do not excel on likely to change their minds over the long standardized tests, it is a necessary next couple of years, and may even evil in this process, unless you relegate your search criteria to schools that decide not to play softball anymore. Therefore, starting in eighth and accept applications with test-optional ninth grade, a soft introduction to criteria. Therefore, think through the the recruiting process appears more process from freshman year, take helpful than an all-out stress session. challenging classes and study hard. I This includes talking about college, have spoken to college coaches who letting the student know how important have told me they lose players all the her grades are, knowing how important time who are not honest with the coach discipline and dedication is to her future about their academics. This is a big no. aspirations — both academically and Do not waste coaches’ time. Be honest athletically — and most importantly, and upfront with your academics and identifying a college that your daughter your ability to be accepted to a college. will be comfortable at for four years. Outside Activities These are all very difficult decisions This is another important component that should be made after deliberate educated information is gathered and of the package you put together for a college. Most students have some sort assessed. Do not be surprised if she changes of community service and most colleges her mind many times during high school. This is a normal part of the SEE WELL-ROUNDED PAGE 25
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