How good does our team need to be to get exposure and recruited?

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Jun 21, 2021
My daughter is an all conference player on her high school team. She has already set some single-season batting records for her high school and she still has a couple of years to go until she graduates. Likewise, our travel team tries to play a competitive schedule going to some very high level tournaments. She has very good personal stats at those events as well. She does work hard, has a great attitude and is overall a great kid (yea, I'm a little biased, but her coaches and teammates feel the same way).

She also has goals to play softball in college. I don't think she projects to be a high level D1 player, but has eyes on DII, DIII or even a highly rated NAIA school focussing on her academic goals.

The down side is our travel team is not very good. Even though we go to these higher level events, we normally have a marginal pool record and get knocked out pretty early. The team has some great young ladies - each of of them are wonderful people with wonderful families. However, about half of them are either just not putting in the time or are not really working towards the higher goals as others on the team. Their coaches are also wonderful people. However, the ship can be a little loose and things can be run on a B level much of the time (practices and game management). I love them. They have the girls best interested in mind, but I think the fun culture is stressed more than playing at the higher levels which has meant some of the on-field development is lacking which is distressing.

Bottom line, we don't want to be team hoppers, but want to develop in a way to prepare for college. How highly do college coaches rate the level of the player's travel team? We can go to all of these college PSA camps and have them evaluate her on a personal basis there, but will she get the invites she needs by being on a team that isn't getting exposed and in front of the coaches at these tournaments? Should we be looking for a more competitive team, which could mean the risk getting a coach or organization who's interested are not necessarily directed towards the kids, but their own ego (which is pretty common around this area for coaches). We need some opinions. Try-out season is coming and we are trying to develop a plan for next season.

Thanks in advance!
Oct 15, 2013
Seattle, WA
Zero good.

I'm going to say how good your daughter is and what effort she puts in to getting recruited followed by the competition she plays against are more important.
Feb 1, 2021
First off, I have a serious hatred for college recruiting. I feel it was the worst investment I have ever made moneywise. If you don't care about the actual time and $ involved and see travel ball as a way to actually get better rather than an avenue to get recruited, you probably have the right idea.

Here is what I have to say about travel softball clubs. Winning doesn't matter much, but big clubs have a huge marketing machine. They can oversell kids to just about anyone. If you don't play for a club like that, you should not expect the same recruiting experience. If you are truly talented, focus on the schools you want to attend, then put in the effort to get seen by those schools. You will get plenty of exposure. Mark my word though, you will have to be patient. Regional teams girls have to wait their turn, talent be damned. Its just a cold hard truth.
Jun 11, 2012
First off she needs to find a team that plays in showcases. Coaches go to showcases and if she emails them that she is there and her schedule they just might come watch part of a game.

As nice as everyone on her team is it’s time to focus on your DD and her end goals. If she wants to play in college then you need a team that is playing in the right tournaments for that.
She doesn’t need to play for a big name organization, you don’t need to spend crazy money on recruiters. DD left a big name organization to play for a smaller well respected organization and had no trouble getting coaches to come watch her play but they played in the right tournaments/showcases. And we never traveled more than 3 hours from home.


Jersey Girl
May 27, 2013
What I suggest is looking at the profiles of showcase teams near you to see where their kids get recruited. Then decide if those are similar level schools to what your dd is interested in. It gets easier if she can narrow down her college search to a specific region. Many times, the big name showcases will have a list you can join as a pick-up player; or even reaching out to an org that goes to those types of showcases will agree to have your dd as a guest-player.

Our team just had a player from FL guest with us because she wants to attend a high-academic D3 school in the NE. She fit right in and did her job of emailing coaches beforehand so as I was talking with the coaches they did ask to see her play in certain positions on the field during our showcase.

There are ways it can be done without leaving your current team - just involves more work and travel on your end.
Mar 4, 2015
New England
Even though we go to these higher level events, we normally have a marginal pool record and get knocked out pretty early.

How do you define a higher-level event? Do you see college coaches at them?

To be recruited, you have to persuade college coaches to come watch you. That can be done by going to camps and getting the coaches' attention there, or by sending them emails w/ video, or having someone that the coach respects (often a travel ball coach or hitting/pitching instructor) vouch for you.

As far as being on a good team, it's helpful if the team is good enough to get into events that allow a good assessment of the players. It's also impressive to college coaches if a player can, say, play shortstop or bat third on a really good team as opposed to a crummy team. So playing on a good team certainly has its advantages.
Mar 8, 2016
When DD was first year 16u we went to a showcase that had the college coaches coaching the team. Sometimes that means they are actually coaching and sometimes it means they are sitting on a bucket talking to the other coaches about where they are going to eat or drink that night.
In this case the coaches were really coaching. Our girls played a terrible 1st inning 4 errors and bad technique overall. They came back and only lost the game by a run. After the game the USC Upstate coach who had been coaching them had a team meeting. He laid into them. He told them that if he had come to watch a girl on the team he would have left in the middle of the first inning. He told them that they actually played well the rest of the game but the poor performance of that first inning would have ruined any recruiting opportunity.
I was never sure how truthful he was being versus making a point but I agreed with everything he said and it was good to have someone else deliver this message to the girls.
They played well the rest of the tournament. DD got a scholarship offer and several coaches contacted her after that tournament.
May 29, 2015
She also has goals to play softball in college. I don't think she projects to be a high level D1 player, but has eyes on DII, DIII or even a highly rated NAIA school focussing on her academic goals.

That is the "most winningest" statement that can be made. However I would say your approach is wrong because you are drinking the Kool-Aid.

Do not look to be recruited, you need to be the one doing the recruiting. Find the schools she is interested in academically and make contact with them. D2, D3, and NAIA have very different processes and procedures, so don't buy-in to the dog-and-pony show of recruiting.
May 24, 2013
So Cal
My DD is a '22, playing on a mid-level 18U team. As of right now, she has turned down interest from a D1 (not a good fit for a few reasons), has SERIOUS interest from a local D3, and has high to medium interest from a few more schools. We have paid zero money for recruiting services. A big factor...HC of my DD's TB team works his butt off for the girls. College coaches just stopping by our games to take a quick look will often end up sitting with HC for most of the game talking about specific players that fit the college. My DD would have more interest if she put some decent effort into reaching out to more schools.
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Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
You said that your DD is an "all conference" player on her HS team. That probably means her name turns up in an Internet search, probably for a local newspaper. That is going to help quite a bit, especially since your goals are within reason.

DD's 18U team is reasonably competitive, but it's not part of any organization and has its moments, both good and bad. We have players who were "all conference and "all state" at all sizes of high schools. We have players who rode the bench through much of their senior year. We have players who didn't play HS ball at all. Every one of them, who wants it, is now part of or headed to a college softball program ranging from JUCO to DI.

There's nothing wrong with locating a "more competitive" team if it will better show off your DD's abilities, but be careful. Further, a coach coming to watch a game is the ultimate in "hit or miss". Coaches came to watch the team on several occasions. I'm not sure the team or the individuals being recruited did anything of note when a coach was sitting there, but that didn't affect anything. A coach can figure out if someone can play. Build a resume of academic and athletic accomplishments, and send that out with well thought out emails. Build a highlight & skills video, or playlist of videos, and direct the coaches of schools you're interested in to it. Go to the schools and attend the camps run by coaches your DD wants to play for. Get DD's current coaches to pick up a phone and call the college coach. That's the pathway to playing college ball at the levels you're after.

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