Making Sure You Have the Competitive Edge!

By Catharine Aradi (updated 1/24/2004)

Oy Vey! My Daughter Is A Sophomore and Doesn’t Have A Scholarship Offer! What Am I To Do? By Cathi Aradi

Want to learn more about recruiting? Visit and read these archived web articles written by Catharine Aradi

Youth softball has become incredibly popular with more kids
taking up the game every year. Awareness of college softball has grown as well,
and increasing numbers of high school players are dreaming of wearing a college
team&#039s uniform.

Although the West is still a "hotbed" of softball, fast-pitch is developing
quickly all over the country, and many states are beginning to produce top
quality players. Recruiting is more competitive than it&#039s ever been before. Just
being from California is no longer a guarantee you&#039ll be offered a scholarship.
Playing on a well-known travel team helps, but again, it&#039s not a guarantee
college coaches will notice or recruit you.

The best way to ensure you&#039re that lucky "1 out of every 15" who gets to put on
a new college jersey your freshman year is to take charge of your own college
search. Make sure coaches come looking for you at the tournaments your travel
team attends. Make sure you stand out in crowd of other talented players.

Learn about recruiting, how it works, key aspects you need to know, and then
just as you prepare to win on the ball field, you can prepare to win in the
recruiting race as well. Be pro-active and take charge. From your freshman year
on, be sure you&#039re taking the right classes and getting the very best grades you
can. Make sure you and your parents understand the many NCAA recruiting and
contact rules.

Take the PSAT as a sophomore or junior so you have some idea what to expect when
it&#039s time for the real thing. Be sure you take your SAT and ACT at least once in
the winter or spring of your junior year.
That&#039s when you&#039ll also want to begin sending out your letters, resumes and

When you&#039re a senior, take your SAT or ACT again. Be sure to follow up those
videos and letters with phone calls. Keep in mind that 90% of all colleges that
play softball are located east of Colorado, and that over 75% of all college teams
compete under Div. II, Div. III or NAIA rules. Remember scholarship money is
limited, but academic money is very plentiful. Take advantage of those good

Understand that recruiting is not now, and never will be, FAIR! Much like life,
recruiting is what you make of it. Don&#039t take your recruitment for granted, no
matter how many letters you get, and don&#039t be afraid to let college coaches know
you&#039re the player they should be pursuing for their teams!

There are many resources available to you if you really want to succeed,
including my book, Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level. Just as
you make sure you touch every base when you hit a home run, cover every base
when it comes to recruiting, and you&#039ll be one of the lucky few who realizes her
dream of having the college softball experience!

College Recruiters, Scouts or Coaches?

Scout? What do they look like?
Can you talk to them?
What do you say?
Notice the stopwatch on her
Are you working on your speed?
  1. First learn the NCAA rules about "contacts." Parents/players shouldn&#039t be
    talking to coaches/scouts at tournaments unless the coach/scout has specifically
    asked the parent/player to find him/her. (And that&#039s only when it&#039s allowed–e.g.,
    after July 1 following the junior year. Players can&#039t talk to the coaches even
    then at tourneys until their team has been eliminated.)
  2. See point 1! Parents should leave coaches alone for a number of reasons
    unless asked ahead of time to talk to them.

    • It may jeopardize their player&#039s
    • It may use up one of only three off-campus contacts per school;
    • It may turn the coach off, particularly if they feel the parent is too
      aggressive. Some coaches don&#039t like to talk to kids/parents at tournaments,
      preferring to wait until later.

    My rule of thumb is this. Leave them alone
    unless asked to find them. If they want to get a hold of you, they will, trust

  3. If a coach has asked to talk to the player and her parents at a tournament
    (assuming she&#039ll be or is a senior), I suggest keeping it short and simple.
    Unless it&#039s a home visit or you&#039re going out for dinner or something, tell the
    coach you&#039re glad to meet him/her, that you&#039d appreciate getting info on the
    school, and that you&#039d like to have time to think about his/her
    interest–whether the coach is asking the kid to visit, to consider his/her
    school, etc. Don&#039t feel intimated or rushed into anything.

Cathi Aradi&#039s book has three pages of questions kids can ask coaches at
different times. Keep the book handy when talking to coaches. Make the most of
any contacts, but don&#039t feel you have to answer every question at once.

"Why" the rules?" The purpose is to help provide coaches with a level
playing ground when it comes to recruiting and to help prevent them from
overwhelming kids. Personally, I think too many coaches "push" the edge of the
envelope–e.g., skirt right along the edge of what is legal and what isn&#039t. Some
coaches try to sell a kid on their schools and get them to practically commit
based on one fifteen minute conversation. Parents should never be afraid to step
in–putting their egos and wallets aside for the time–and tell coaches the
player will definitely look into that school and would like to hear more but
perhaps by phone or on a visit when they can really concentrate on what&#039s going