If you’re trying to play college softball you’ll take a recruiting visit. Make sure you don’t blow it.
I’ve seen lots of players blow their visit – don’t be one of them.
Your recruiting visit, whether Official or Unofficial is not only an opportunity for you to learn more about that particular softball program and school, but a chance for the coaches to learn more about you.
Even your Unofficial Visit (which means you pay for everything yourself – all expenses – and only lasts 1 day) gives coaches a tremendous opportunity to know you in a way that they simply can’t by watching you play on the ballfield.
Your visit is the first time coaches get to spend in-depth time interacting with you. These visits allow us as coaches to see you up close and learn how well you listen, how deeply you engage, whether you talk or your parents do all your talking, and basically help us gauge how interested you are in us and us in you.
After having been involved with a lot of visits I see all kinds of behavior from supposedly “interested” future student-athletes. It’s easy to identify the “REALLY interested” players simply by their behavior, and while that doesn’t mean they’re great softball players, it DOES mean they can pay attention, focus when tired, have enough thought to ask good questions and basically show the skills necessary to grow their softball and academic skills.
On the flip side, I’ve been around some players who, simply by their behavior, have caused us to change our level of interest in them and whether or not we would want them be a part of our program for 4 years.
If you’re looking for a recipe to blow your visit, then it goes something like this:
- Yawn while a coach or coaches are talking to you. Sure, you’re probably tired, but the “tired” you feel now is nothing compared to how tired you’ll be your freshman year in college. Besides, if you’ve ever had anyone yawn in your face while you’re talking to them, it’s a HUGE sign of disrespect.
- Slump in your chair. Show respect and interest with your body language by sitting up straight in your chair. How you act and behave is just as telling as your words, so by slumping in your chair your body language tells the coach you’re not very interested and this visit isn’t very important to you.
- Constantly check your phone. If you can’t pay attention to the people you’re meeting on your visit more than you’re paying attention to your phone, then the message you’re sending is that you’re not very interested. And coaches only want players that “want” to be a part of that program.
- No questions to ask. Believe it or not this actually tells coaches a lot about you. If you’re really interested then you’ll have some questions about the softball program, the team, the schedule, the policy about class and practice conflicts, the ability to have academic help and so forth. Questions show coaches that you’re a thinker, that you care enough to want to know things, that you’re interested and curious.
- Your parents do all the talking. While this might be normal for you in your life, it makes you look weak and the parent/s look strong. It makes you look like you have no voice and they have all the voice. It makes it hard for the coaches to determine how interested you are, how motivated and empowered you’ll be if you play there, and if your parents will continue to be your voice once you get to college.
I realize that college softball visits are exciting and nerve-wracking things, but knowing how to be your best will give you the greatest chance to make a good impression and to come away with enough information to make the best decision for your athletic and academic future.
For more help in making your college decision, and in managing your life and your softball, check out our Softball Journal! With the holiday season upon us, it’s the perfect gift for the student-athlete in your life!