You've buckled down and decided that playing sports in college is a must.
While this article is softball recruiting specific, the team at JustBats.com has put together a list of recommendations and tips for how to get recruited that applies to all sports. It rarely is one game or moment that is the reason a player is recruited, but rather the lifestyle choices and habits they create throughout their high school days (and sometimes even earlier). How do you stack up? Are you ready to get recruited?
To help describe the details of getting recruited and everything that it entails, we 've enlisted help from Carie Dever-Boaz. As a former Division I head coach and National Pro Fastpitch Champion, she knows the ins-and-outs of fastpitch better than most and has great insight into the recruiting world. On that note, before you can ever get recruited, you have to get noticed.
How To Get Noticed
Here's what you can do to get noticed as an elite softball player:
- Always practice and play hard, even when nobody is watching.
- Handle failure with grace and learn from your mistakes.
- Become a leader that others want to follow.
- Master the intangibles, such as self-confidence and responsibility.
- Go above and beyond both on and off the field.
- Be coachable and never make the same mistake twice.
- Have a skill that sets yourself apart.
- Learn to market yourself.
Learning to market yourself is vital. You may be the best softball player in the world, but if no one ever hears of you or watches you play, you'll never get recruited. The best way to go about marketing one's skills and accomplishments is through a highlight video. Highlight videos may be the single most important item a prospective student athlete can make to help expose themselves.
Have A Highlight Video
Here are the do's and don'ts when making a highlight video:
- Don't make it too long. No more than five minutes is needed.
- Include your name, contact information, positions played, teams, and any test scores that may be applicable.
- Use only the best in-game footage that highlights your skills, not someone else's.
- Don't edit out mistakes.
- Show one or two bunts, at the most. Live hitting is preferred.
- Include a little bit of everything but leave something to be desired.
The goal of a highlight video is to intrigue and tease a prospective college softball coach so that they'll want to come out and watch you play. Once you've done that, now it's your time to shine.
Practice Or Play Every Day
Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote that to become world-class in any field, you must have 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. How close are you to 10,000 hours? Whether you're getting out to the diamond for practice, playing in an actual game, or hitting the batting cages with a teammate, it is best to practice or play every single day. A great way to continue playing outside of your high school season is to play travel ball during the summers. Here is Carie Dever-Boaz discussing the importance of travel ball.
Pros of playing travel ball include:
- Continued play, outside of your high school season.
- Exposure to talent outside your normal schedule.
- Experience of different coaches and coaching styles.
- Allows college coaches to recruit outside of their regular season.
- Visiting various colleges and universities
Cons of playing travel ball include:
- The cost can be overwhelming at times, especially for elite teams.
- Risk of burnout and increase of injury possibility.
For most, the pros of playing travel ball outweigh the cons, without a doubt. If you limit yourself to only participating in softball during your high school season, you will lag behind the competition and miss out on many opportunities that others may have. Getting recruited to play in college is not easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it. To help ease your worries and boost your confidence, listen to Carie Dever-Boaz talk about the most common mistakes recruits make. This will help you avoid them in the future and stick out from the crowd.
To summarize, here are the five (5) things every recruit should do before deciding where to play in college:
- Don't forget to do your homework. Remember, you are a student-athlete. Student comes first.
- Look at the roster. What do they have compared to which position you want to play?
- Be confident, but be realistic and keep your options open.
- Don't let flattery make your decisions.
- Be a well-rounded athlete and person. Consider playing multiple sports in high school and be active within the community.
Let's hear your feedback. In the comments section below, please tell us the experience you had with getting recruited to play softball (or any sport for that matter) at the collegiate level. Did you find it to be an easy process or was in painstakingly difficult?
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