Can we talk? Can you and should you talk to a college coach

 Can We Talk?

Can you and should you talk to a college coach

By Kim Gwydir – Former Division 1 College Softball Coach

and Managing Partner of FPOS

This past week was a big week on the recruiting calendar. It is the “Colorado week” where many travel teams make the trip to the Boulder/Aurora, Co area where 3 of the largest recruiting tournament of the year go on. Hundreds of college coaches from all levels will be there. It is the biggest recruiting week of the year.

 

In the last two weeks, I have given numerous recruiting seminars and the question most asked is – “Can I talk to a College Coach?” Actually, I think there are two questions – “Can I” and “Should I?”

 

Can I Talk to a College Coach?

 

The NCAA rules

 

Division I: A college coach cannot call or return a call until July 1 after the athlete’s Junior Year in high school.  Starting July 1, coaches can call once a week.  In terms of a face to face meeting, a college coach can contact an athlete or her parent’s off-campus (meaning off the college coaches campus) no more than 3 times after July 1. College coaches cannot talk to a player until they are released by their coach from the tournament.

 

So, you can call a DI coach any time but they cannot call you until July 1 between the Junior and Senior year. In addition, a coach is not being rude when they do not speak with you. There are NCAA rules governing how often they can do it so do not be offended when a coach does not speak with you.

 

Division II: Has similar rules but can start contacting recruits on June 15 after the junior year (instead of July 1) and after June 15 they can make an unlimited number of calls to recruits and have an unlimited number of contacts.

 

 

Division III: There is no limit to the number of calls or when they can be made. The issue is most DIII schools have high admission requirements so most DIII coaches wait until after the Junior year’s grades come out to talk to prospects so they can see if they have the grades to make it at their college. In terms of the in person, off campus contacts – a DIII coach can have contact with a prospect after the Junior year.

 

NAIA and JC: Can contact a prospect as often as they wish with no time restrictions.

 

This is why Colorado is a big week. Coaches from DI schools will wait around for a prospect to get knocked out of a tournament and either talks to them after that game or schedule to meet with them at their hotel.  Remember, they must wait until the coach releases them after that last game (meaning finishes speaking with them after they play their last game).

 

Should I Speak to a Coach?

 

Keep in mind at the NCAA has rules for when a coach can speak with you and in some cases how often. So the answer is no, you should not go up to a coach during a tournament.  If the coach has interest in your daughter then they will come to you.

 

What should you do?  Call coaches and email them to gage their interest. The later you are in the recruiting process (meaning the closer to the players senior year) then the more aggressive you should be. There is nothing wrong with a parent calling a coach who has shown interest in a player and asking the coach where they stand. In my opinion, it is hard for the player to do this – they are intimidated and do not have the savvy to really understand if the coach has interest or is just being nice to them.

 

If your daughter is interested in attending an NAIA or JC school – then by all means talk to the coach. Also, if they have interest in a DIII program and they have the grades – talk to the coach. These coaches will appreciate knowing that the player has interest in attending their institution.

 

Remember, Division I coaches often have a long list of players on July 1 after the Junior year and start whittling that list down. They may get a commitment from a player or just go in another direction. If you stop hearing from a coach there is a pretty good chance they have moved on in one way or another, but if you have any doubts – call the coach and ask. It is better to know then to always wonder.

 

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To Play or Not to Play, High school softball that is!

By: Kim Gwydir – Former D1 Softball Coach and Founder FPOS

 

I am often asked a couple questions about the importance of playing high school softball.  The first question is generally, “How important is high school softball when it comes to recruiting?” The answer is – not very much. College coaches, unless they are from local area, do not go to high school softball games because they are normally in their own season.  Also, college coaches now that high school statistics are considered unreliable and can be inflated at times by coaches wanting their players to get end of season awards.

 

I will say, as a college coach it would raise a flag if I did not see a player, that I am recruiting receive an end of year award(s) such as Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Pitcher of the Year,  All-County or  even All-State. I want to believe I was recruiting one on the best players in the area, so in a small way it does matter. The next question is, “If it is not that big a deal should my daughter even play high school softball?” To me the answer is, yes, they should.  Every girl should play softball for their high school.  It raised even a bigger red flag when a player did not play high school softball because I would begin to question if this player could have a lack of leadership or socially has trouble getting along with other players. In my mind, high school softball is meant for the players who will not play in college, as it is the highest level they will reach and probably their last softball experience.  However, players who plan on playing softball in college need to use the high school season as an opportunity to become a better leader and make the other players around them better.  You have a chance to be a role model for younger players aspiring to play in college and demonstrate to them what being a leader and team mate is about.  As well, there is the factor of pride and playing and representing your high school in the best possible way.  Yes, playing in college can be the end goal, but, remember that even at that level you are playing for the university or college you attend and the pride of doing so should be very important.

 

I am also asked, “Do you think there are reasons not to play in high school?”  Yes, I do.  I have heard some horror stories of the treatment of players where I can totally understand why they wouldn’t want to play in high school. It is one thing to be a tough coach but there is a line between trying to get more out of your players and being abusive. Each family has to make their own decision in this case.  The important thing, when asked, is that a player has to be able to articulate why they are not playing.

 

Another reason I like high school softball is because it is one of the few opportunities players have today to compete for something.   What I mean, is that even though travel or select teams playing in the summer are playing to qualify for their national tournament, there is a “showcase mentality” that can set in – this is where players are guaranteed a certain amount of games in a weekend and it is more about your own statistics than whether the team wins. In high school you play every game to win.  There is district, conference, state championships and there are elimination games.  Reaching these goals as team are important as players grow and understand the team concept.  These accomplishments and the chance to win a state championship are experiences players will not forget no matter what they do in the future.

 

Ultimately, it’s your decision to play or not to play, but consider all the positives that can be learned from the experience.

 

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