Are You Hurting Your Daughter’s Recruiting?

We can say things out loud that colleges have to keep quiet. Because we have dozens of kids recruited every single year, we talk to a lot of college coaches. It used to be they spent the entire time talking about the kid. Now, one of the first things they ask is, “Tell me about the parents”.

In an age where lawsuits abound, kids jump from travel team to travel team looking for utopia, and some parents can’t stand for their daughter not to be the star, things have changed drastically. It used to be that, if a kid was not entirely happy at a college, she simply found a better fit. That is the way it should be. However, today there is a huge trend for parents to hire lawyers to go after schools, begin petition drives to remove coaches, or threaten the athletic department with bad publicity.
Face it. Softball is generally not a revenue-generating sport, so these schools don’t have a lot of incentive to stand behind the coaches, trainers, or whoever is being targeted. Coaches face liability for injuries, they sometimes drive vans full of kids, they have to make decisions on whether a kid is healthy enough to play even when she insists on going on the field, every word they say can be scrutinized, and in an environment where they are around kids 24/7 for weeks in the spring, it’s easy for someone to find a tiny little mis-step that a lawyer can leverage into something big.
So, if your daughter is being scouted, chances are that the coaches know exactly who you are and they are watching you closely for signs of trouble. They can even go so far as to find travel teams you abandoned to get their story. Or, they are watching for exciting signs, like great sportsmanship, supportive behaviors, and someone who doesn’t react to the highs and lows of the game.
Does this mean you should clean up your act at games? If you have to ask yourself that question, you are already deep in the swamp. It’s not about creating a false persona, but examining the way you are raising the kid. Does she accept responsibility for her actions or do you blame everyone else for failures? Do you let her think for herself, or stand on the sidelines shouting instructions constantly? Do you encourage her to persist and push for higher things, or simply jump travel teams every time the wind changes? It may occur to you that, as we discuss these things, it seems that we are discussing life lessons more than just considering how they approach a game.
If your kid performs well, but is strangely not being recruited, look in the mirror. The problem could be closer than you want to admit.
**Note: If your pitcher has hit a plateau or if she feels she is missing a little something that could make her much better, Denny’s next summer stop is in Mahopac, New York, this week. Denny will be joined by at least two Instructors, working with very small groups to improve speed and power, breaking pitches, and consistency. There are still a few openings and we would love to meet you. For information on this event, contact Certified Instructor, Larissa Porcelli, 914-497-0224, or email