Knowing What You Want

A coach for a top D1 college program wanted to recruit one of our students.  The very first question was, “I want to understand her thought process….”  This coach was not interested in her skills until the first question was satisfied.

Recently another top college program contacted me to ask about a kid I had seen a few times.  She was really excited about recruiting the student, but found out that the pitcher had already bounced to a different pitching coach, again.  The college coach lost interest, saying, “I know your focus is on development…commitment to the process.  So is mine.  I cannot commit tremendous amounts of time to developing a kid who will be in the transfer portal in a year”.  She asked about kids who were “all in” and I was excited to share names with her.

College coaches are under more scrutiny than ever before.  Softball is not usually a revenue generating sport.  Coaches are often judged as much for their public relations value as for their win-loss record.  With that in mind, any controversy can end a career.  There have been many cases where a single accusation, without evidence, cost a coach’s job.  Many times it is deserved, but sometimes a parent, whose kid does not get to be the star, began stirring up trouble.  Coaches have to look at consistency, thought process, and commitment when recruiting.  A kid who bounces constantly from team to team, coach to coach, can indicate a whole range of issues they are afraid to invite into their program.

Like the college coach, I want the kid, and especially the parent, who understands development.  I get nervous when they find me on social media and come running.  It is much better when they have checked me out well, asked other students a lot of questions, interviewed me, and shown commitment to finding a process that works for this specific pitcher.  None of us wants to be the next “quick fix” who will be dropped the minute they spot another shiny object.

Just about every week a kid comes to me who works with one of our Certified Instructors.  I may see them at a clinic we are hosting or they travel to do a private lesson.  Often, I will remember her as, well…not the greatest athlete.  Ten pitches into the session, I am in awe.  She stuck with the process.  She is absolutely exciting.  She partnered with our Instructor and they both committed to making her dreams come true.  I saw it this past weekend in Georgia several times.

That kid has my undying loyalty.  Nobody is pulling the rug from under her every time she gains momentum.  We all feel so much better recommending her to a top travel program or a college coach.  Know what you want.  If it is the next shiny object, it is perfectly okay to pass me by.  If you are not completely sold on the process, you will not hurt my feelings if you choose to go elsewhere.