So many young softball players have dreams of one day playing college softball. If you’ve got the desire and the skill, it’s a great dream. But you should know 3 ways you can hurt your scholarship chances.
You practice hard, play all the time and no doubt have private lessons – all in an effort to get better and get noticed. But what if you’re hurting your scholarship chances without even knowing it. Read on and find out how …
The goal of getting a softball scholarship is huge with so many young kids. Too huge if you ask me. I don’t mean if you’re a young softball player you shouldn’t dream of playing in college one day. What I mean is that too many kids and their parents think ONLY about how every move they make will help them get a scholarship. They change teams because their new team plays in better tournaments. They freak out if a college coach is in the audience and they make a mistake. And they feel like the tournament wasn’t even worth going to if enough college coaches weren’t there.
Playing softball in college is terrific. I did it and I loved every second of it. The desire to be recruited can overwhelm players and force them and their parents to get a little too crazy. So make sure if your dream is to play college softball that you don’t overlook these 3 very simple things that WILL get you un-recruited – fast:
- Social Media – Posting pictures, videos and thoughts on social media is normal for most people. But, most people aren’t trying to have a college softball coach choose them over the thousands of other players out there. Most people post stupid comments or embarrassing pictures and/or videos thinking it makes them look cool. But, it’s one of the fastest ways to get yourself un-recruited! At our recent Pitching Summit, we asked all the college coaches in attendance this question – “Has a prospects social media content ever kept you from recruiting them?” 84% said YES!! Most coaches will ask for all of your social media accounts as soon as they start recruiting you. Be aware that what you put out there stays out there FOREVER! It’ll not only hurt your chances of playing college softball, but it might hurt your job chances in the future. Nobody wants to or needs to see pictures of you doing stupid or embarrassing things, so don’t do them – and for sure don’t post them. Social media is a powerful tool for good, so use it that way.
- Being a Selfish Teammate – Making errors is just part of playing softball, at every level, so coaches aren’t looking for perfect players. But how you respond to your errors tells coaches a lot about you. And, how you respond when your teammates make errors can be a difference-maker! Coaches are looking for players that make their current team better – not just offensively or defensively, but in a unified, play-together way as well. Being a GREAT teammate is so rare, that by being one you separate yourself from everyone! Instead of spending all your energy worrying about how you play, try to shift your focus to helping your teammates play good by encouraging your teammates, willingly accepting coaching, hustling ALL THE TIME, picking up after people, being kind and polite. Doing these things will show all the coaches in the stands that you’re somebody that will make their “team” better. And coaches are always looking for players like that!
I was watching beach volleyball at the recent Olympics and Kerri Walsh Jennings was playing. She’s a 3-time Gold-Medalist and really good. But you know what I remember from her matches? I can’t even tell you if she won or lost, but I can tell you after her match, I saw her personally go up and shake the hand of every volunteer, umpire and official and personally thank them all. Every single one! Who does that?! That’s what stood out to me and I wasn’t even recruiting her and I don’t even really like beach volleyball. But most people don’t go the extra mile to be a great teammate or show great sportsmanship. Be memorable to coaches by being a GREAT teammate!
- Lazy Grades – Bad grades alone won’t hurt you, but a history of bad grades shows a trend. Remember, you’re trying to play softball in “college”, which means you’ve got to be able to qualify for college. Some colleges have much stricter entrance requirements than others and those schools require excellent grades as well as top test scores. Chances are if you’re not a great student you aren’t considering one of those colleges anyway. But, all the other schools still require you to qualify for that particular college or university. Many students struggle their freshman year of high school due to the myriad of changes from middle school, so coaches might expect that. But, they want to see that you’ve improved your grades from the bad year. They want to see that you have a trend of overcoming poor academics to show how you’ll apply those same resiliency skills to college. Remember, great softball players that can’t stay eligible don’t do college softball coaches any good. Focus on your grades, do your homework and study for your tests. Take care of your work in your classes just like you do your work on the softball field.
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