She has a dream…..

This is a familiar story – a high school player has a dream to go to college away from home – far, far away from home – and her travel team does not leave the immediate area. What does she do? Is her dream even a possibility? The answer is yes but it will require some extraordinary effort on her part. Keep in mind a college coach wants to see a player perform before they recruit them. If your team is not playing in a tournament in the area of your dream school what can you do?

 

Step one in this process is to get good video done on your softball player. A quality edited skills video is a great introduction to any college. But in this case, we need to go further; you should consider creating game highlight videos as well. In a past article we explained how to use your iphone and a $5 app to create a highlight video. However you do it, getting game highlights will help a college coach who will not see you play often (if ever)  to feel more comfortable making an assessment of your skills.

 

Step two and here is the hard part – if your team does not play in a tournament in the area of your dream school then look to be a guest player on a team that is playing in a tournament in that area. Many of the top showcase tournaments provide a “players looking for a team” service where players provide their name to a list and teams in the tournament can contact them to play for the weekend. An example of this is the TCS Rising Stars Tournaments in Davie, FL. If your dream is to play softball at a college in Florida then it may be worth the cost of travel to get there and play. If you do take this leap then make sure you contact colleges ahead of time and tell them you are coming and who you are playing for and your dream to play softball in that area. Send them video ahead of time as well so they can see if you will fit their recruiting needs.

 

A good rule of recruiting is the farther you want to go from home the sooner you need to think about the recruiting process. Be proactive and don’t be afraid to dream. Just be willing to put the work in ahead of time.

 

For more information on recruiting – go to www.FastpitchOnlineShowcase.com

 

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Stop the chop- the proper hand path in hitting.

In teaching hitting, I often find young players developing an improper hand path where they hit down on the ball. This path results in many ground balls and not as many line drives.  I believe there is a misconception as to what the correct hand path should be. I also believe many coaches have a misguided hitting philosophy.  Let me explain.

 

It is a fact that the top hitters in the world do not chop down on the ball. Actually what you will see is not the hands starting the bat but instead the back elbow starting down and the front elbow initially starting upward. The hands are the last thing to be delivered to the ball. Good hitters do not commit their hands until the last possible second so that they can take a pitch if it breaks out of the strike zone. Many young hitters make the mistake of starting the bat improperly with either their hands going down and/or their front shoulder opening.

The second issue I see is that many coaches believe that hitting ground balls is the correct goal. While it is true that at the younger levels, a team that hits a lot of ground balls will probably win a lot of games I just cannot agree with limiting a player to being a ground ball hitter. College coaches want players who have swings that can drive the ball into the outfield (unless of course they are fast kids who are on the left side). By teaching a young player a downward hand path you are creating a muscle memory that will be hard to change in the future. What gets the player more excited – a ground ball or a homerun over the fence? I think we know the answer.

 

In short, teach players to hit the ball hard up the middle. Promote swing mechanics that lead to line drives off the batting T in practice. Remember, ground balls do not go out of the park.

 

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