RECRUITING and SKILLS CAMPS! What to ask before and how to act during!
SELECTING YOUR TARGET SCHOOLS (Pre-Camp):
*Pick AT LEAST 10 schools of interest:
-3 fall backs
-2 pipe dreams
-Know what type of softball players these schools like to recruit
-Check out their roster! What positions will they need your year?
WHAT TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A CAMP:
*How BIG is the camp? This is probably the very first question you should ask when looking for a camp. If the numbers are small, not only will your child have more opportunity to be seen, but usually the quality of the camp is higher.
*What is the coach to player ratio? If you are attending a larger recruiting style camp with multiple colleges in attendance a great question to ask is what is the coach to player ratio. The smaller the ratio, the more work your daughter will get in!
*What is the camp objective? Is this more of a “skill” camp or is it a “recruiting” camp?
*Will college coaches be interacting with players? Any time your daughter has the chance to speak face-to-face to college coaches is an excellent opportunity. Even if it isn’t with the college of her dreams, having the chance to pick the brain of a college coach is a great chance for your daughter to get better!
*What is the cost? Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer here as it is dependent upon your own individual situations! However, what I can say is don’t go broke sending your child all across the country to camps at schools she is not genuinely interested in. A lot of schools are now having “satellite” camps, look for ones closer to home to start!
ALRIGHT, YOU’VE SIGNED UP! WHAT NOW?!?
*What should I wear? Wear something that is easily recognizable. Perhaps your travel team’s uniform top or practice shirt so colleges know exactly where to find you after the camp. If they like you, they’re going to want to come see you again!
*Your first impression is your lasting impression! Be on time, be prepared, have a smile on your face! If you look good, people will immediately think you are good. Tuck your shirt in, make sure your shoes are tied, wear a fresh shirt, LOOK THE PART.
*HUSTLE, DIVE, TALK, HUSTLE SOME MORE. Be the first person to get to each station. Be the person cheering on others at the camp. Sprint to your position. Look coaches in the eye. Introduce yourself to those running the camp, say “thank you” when you leave. Leave with the sweatiest, dirtiest shirt there knowing you left everything you had on that field!
*MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. I can guarantee you a coach does not want to see you hit 15 balls in a row down the left field line, they want to see a multi-faceted, athletic player-showcase your skills! If you make an error, that doesn’t mean a coach has crossed you off of their list, keep your head up and make your adjustments. There are 2 things you can control- 1) your effort 2) your attitude. ALWAYS give your best effort and ALWAYS have a positive attitude!
*If you play multiple positions, showcase that! Colleges are looking for athletes! Showcase yourself! This shows them that you are not only an athlete, but you are willing and confident!
*Shag balls like you are playing live. A college who is interested in you is ALWAYS watching you. They are watching you when you are at a shag station, taking a water break, and when you are speaking to your parents. It is not just about your athletic ability, but about your character as well. Be both the player and person they would be proud to have on their roster.
*Last, but not least, HAVE FUN. If you are upset with yourself it will be noticed on your face and in your body language. Keep a smile and a positive attitude on at all times, and your experience will always be a good one!
Thank you to Jen (Schroeder) Buchan for sharing her article. About our contributor: Jen Schroeder caught at UCLA from 2004-2008 where she competed in three Women’s College World Series’ and earned a degree in History. She was president of the Bruin Athletic Council where she was extremely involved with an array of community projects. She is the oldest of four division 1 softball players: Michelle (Stanford), Katie (UCLA), and Nicole (Arkansas).
In August of 2012 she was married to Kyle Buchan. Jen and her dad now own The Softball Performance Workshop in Placentia, Ca, where it is their goal to leave a lasting impression on the softball community. Jen is a coach, catching instructor and a great inspiration for others!- JenSchro Catching