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Nov 5, 2014
350
63
Congratulations, incredible achievement for your DD. To get the opportunity to continue to play while pursuing her a degree at an academically rigorous school is awesome.
 
Feb 10, 2018
488
93
NoVA
Congrats, that's awesome for you both.

So what's the key? Camps? Tweets? Emails? Showcases?
In the end, individual school camps were the most important for us. You have to try to parse which ones are just money grabs (in general, the more girls that are attending, the more likely that is to be true, in my view). But the individual camps essentially guarantee that your DD will be seen and evaluated by coaches at a school she is interested in. You can definitely go poor going to individual camps, but once you narrow down a list of schools, I don't know there is any more bang for your buck in recruitment.

A corollary to the above, is that you need to have a clear-eyed view of where your daughter fits in and the level of play that is right for her. This can be very difficult as a parent, but is absolutely necessary. We went to a couple D1 camps over time mostly just for the experience, but I knew that my DD was not going to be recruited to play at that level, even in a high academic setting. So we focused on the right level for her and, more importantly, on the right sort of school academically. She has to want to be at that school even if she quits softball or gets injured. If she doesn't, you are at the wrong school.

Forming relationships with coaches through regular emails, camp attendance, and sharing of videos, etc is extremely important. The school she ended up at is one we have been engaged with for probably at least two years. As the head coach told us at one point, almost all the players he recruits have attended camps at his school. The coaches that respond--however briefly--to these communications (again, this partly depends on NCAA rules, but D3 is wide open) are the ones that have interest of some kind.

In all likelihood, a coach is only going to come watch your DD play if there is some sort of relationship already built (or forming) and at least some interest on the part of the coach. I think playing on a competitive softball team that plays in competitive tournaments appropriate for the given level of ambition is important, not least of all for continued player development. For example, a P5 prospect should be on a known national team playing in the best national-level tourneys. However, "showcases", I found to be more hype than anything else. Most of the time, for us, none of the schools we were interested in ever went to these showcases. Partly a function of being on a high-academic track, I suppose, but still. Also, my DD hates playing in showcases because she wants to compete to win. She just preferred playing in real tournaments with something at stake.

As @Rad and some others have said, this recruitment effort was probably 99% on my DD and me. Our coaches helped some with outreach and the like, but it basically is just a grind you have to manage mostly yourself. For me, it often felt--particularly over the last year--like a second full time job. Your DD needs to be engaged in the process, but between school, softball, social life and anything else they have going on, the idea that they are going to be doing this "on their own" with only a bit of encouragement from ma and pa, in my experience, was not realistic at all.
 
May 20, 2015
1,044
113
In the end, individual school camps were the most important for us. You have to try to parse which ones are just money grabs (in general, the more girls that are attending, the more likely that is to be true, in my view). But the individual camps essentially guarantee that your DD will be seen and evaluated by coaches at a school she is interested in. You can definitely go poor going to individual camps, but once you narrow down a list of schools, I don't know there is any more bang for your buck in recruitment.

A corollary to the above, is that you need to have a clear-eyed view of where your daughter fits in and the level of play that is right for her. This can be very difficult as a parent, but is absolutely necessary. We went to a couple D1 camps over time mostly just for the experience, but I knew that my DD was not going to be recruited to play at that level, even in a high academic setting. So we focused on the right level for her and, more importantly, on the right sort of school academically. She has to want to be at that school even if she quits softball or gets injured. If she doesn't, you are at the wrong school.

Forming relationships with coaches through regular emails, camp attendance, and sharing of videos, etc is extremely important. The school she ended up at is one we have been engaged with for probably at least two years. As the head coach told us at one point, almost all the players he recruits have attended camps at his school. The coaches that respond--however briefly--to these communications (again, this partly depends on NCAA rules, but D3 is wide open) are the ones that have interest of some kind.

In all likelihood, a coach is only going to come watch your DD play if there is some sort of relationship already built (or forming) and at least some interest on the part of the coach. I think playing on a competitive softball team that plays in competitive tournaments appropriate for the given level of ambition is important, not least of all for continued player development. For example, a P5 prospect should be on a known national team playing in the best national-level tourneys. However, "showcases", I found to be more hype than anything else. Most of the time, for us, none of the schools we were interested in ever went to these showcases. Partly a function of being on a high-academic track, I suppose, but still. Also, my DD hates playing in showcases because she wants to compete to win. She just preferred playing in real tournaments with something at stake.

As @Rad and some others have said, this recruitment effort was probably 99% on my DD and me. Our coaches helped some with outreach and the like, but it basically is just a grind you have to manage mostly yourself. For me, it often felt--particularly over the last year--like a second full time job. Your DD needs to be engaged in the process, but between school, softball, social life and anything else they have going on, the idea that they are going to be doing this "on their own" with only a bit of encouragement from ma and pa, in my experience, was not realistic at all.


agree with all of this, both DDs at good academic D3s......found that coach would come see them play around her schedule (and ours), regardless of the tournament - she saw DD1 at a fall ball friendly for a few games, and then asked her to come to a multi-school camp, where she spent a ton of time with her (while ignoring others haha) - in this instance it had come down to reaching out and multiple conversations/video/etc - the relationship and mutual interest was built, and she came to see her play when she could (i think all in all she saw her at 3 fall games and a camp as well as a bunch of video, then once her senior year for a HS game long after she was official)
 
Feb 10, 2018
488
93
NoVA
A few more thoughts:

For the coaches, going to their camps is a sign of seriousness and intent. Because the camps cost money and time, you are clearly making an investment to be there. This probably helps them separate those who are simply casting a wide net from those who are actually serious about attending that school and being part of their program. Another advantage of attending camps. Another sign of seriousness is going on an official visit and/or submitting a pre-read for a potential application. This came later in the process for us, but when my DD began speaking with the coach on the phone with some regularity, he was fully aware of her engagement with the Admissions office.

I personally thought attending "cattle call" combine camps or even well-run large-scale camps, such as Headfirst, was mostly a waste of time. Unless you know your daughter is going to stand out on key, easy metrics such as pitching velo, exit velocity, pop time, home to first speed, etc., I don't think the combines are of much use. I would sit there and watch and go: How does anyone differentiate any of these players? You'd have some outliers and then just this big mush in the middle where most every girl looked to be within a few percentage points of one another. Ditto on the large scale camps. Many times I couldn't tell if the coaches were even paying attention. The allure of these camps is that they are going to have X number of coaches in one place for a larger fee, therefore more efficient and ultimately cheaper than attending X individual camps. True, but your DD is likely to just be part of the scrum unless you, again, already have relationships built with the coaches that will be there or know she is going to leap off the page.

We did the Twitter thing, but am not really sure that mattered. More important was probably setting up a private YouTube page where you could keep posting updated videos and send the coach the link when you sent your email following up on a recent tournament or something. Some coaches are also interested in just seeing footage of your individual practices. There probably was some value in posting to Twitter to build a network of other like-minded players and help "market" your current travel team. Still, I could never tell how much time coaches were spending scrolling through Twitter. Email is key.

I think the thing that was the most frustrating for me was the lack of responsiveness by some coaches. In our case, I know most of these coaches were not batting away hundreds of potential recruits given the type of schools they were and where you would show up to camps and only see 20 girls. Anyway, over time, you've invested time sending emails, going to camps, seeking feedback, etc. and some coaches wouldn't even bother to send a response. Or, as we got much later into the process, you might have to send one or two emails to even try to prompt a response. Fully understood that not every coach or program was going to be interested in my DD, but I thought common courtesy might have led them to say, essentially, thanks but no thanks. Obviously, you had no choice but to interpret the silence as a lack of interest, but I still thought it was rude after you'd been engaging for some time. Recruits are rightly told to be respectful, timely, clear and so on in their communications with coaches. Thought we could expect the same in return, but too often was not the case.
 
Dec 6, 2019
373
63
Dickinson
That was on my older daughter's short list. She was offered a spot, applied and was accepted. Ultimately she chose elsewhere. I hated that the field was not on campus. So many schools are like that, and it's just such a huge negative for us.
 

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