A Difference in Journey's

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Dec 15, 2021
29
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Apologies for a long post.......
It's amazing how a few decisions can be so impactful during the recruitment phase. I have two daughters who have gone through the recruiting process over the past 4-5 years, and its amazing the differences in their paths. My oldest daughter started playing at a "B" level club at 12U. It was a very competitive club that would occasionally play in A tournaments and hold their own. She had a lot of talent as a catcher, power hitter, etc. She was the best player on this particular team, and as she progressed through high school, we never seriously thought about going another higher level program. The recruiting trail was a quiet one, without much direction. She attended a few camps at different levels, but it was very sporatic. One at 14U, another at 16U, and that was about it. We didn't realize the importance of a Twitter account, sending coaches emails weekly/monthly, etc. We did post videos onto a YouTube page we created but saw very few views. As her career progressed, she won a state championship starting at 3B in HS hitting 12 HR's, 46 RBI's, etc. She had a few very nice summers, had her JR HS season canceled by COVID, but rebounded to have a very good SR year making All District and playing in the All State HS game. She really didn't have very much interest and ended up at a local D3 school that had just come off going to the D3 World Series. The coach had followed her over her last season after a few emails to him and attending a camp of theirs. She's very happy there, has been a two time all conference player, all Region, and earned a Rawlings Gold Glove this past season. While she has zero regrets, she recently disclosed the "what if" scenario....wondering if she had the same opportunities as her younger sister had, where could she have gone.

My HS daughters' path was much different. She was a good player at 12U, but nothing special. She played in the same B level organization my older daughter was in. At 14U we switched to another new B level program where she became the best player on that team and seemed to take a jump in ability after putting in a year of hard work. The spring of her 8th grade year, she was asked to play with an A level organization in tournaments as a fill in while all the HS kids played their HS season. She had a great spring season and was asked to join that organization full time. With the increase in level of play, she put in more work. Traveled 3 hours to practice 1 way weekly, and some times twice weekly depending on our schedule. With that move, she took another leap in skill. She became one of the best hitters and defensive players on that team as well. But the most important part we came to find, is a program, a coach, and a team where all the girls had the goal of playing at a high level and playing in college. We were given a lot of tools and tips for recruiting. Weekly calls and meetings. We created spreadsheets of over 40 schools she had any type of interest in, which included coaches names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. She began emailing these coaches at 15, attending about 6-8 camps per year, and playing around 15-17 tournaments per year as well. It was a lot....as a former college baseball player, travel coach, parent of 3, it was almost overwhelming. We missed a lot of family activities, vacations with friends, and time with our older daughters. At times we wondered at what cost was this worth. Another advantage was the exposure as over half of her team were a year older and in the heat of their recruiting. My daughter was noticed then by the same coaches recruiting her teamates, and along with emails and attending camps, was being talked about. After a great summer after her Sophomore year in HS where she was all conference and all state, she had a breakout summer at high level tournaments in front of a lot of coaches. It was nothing to have 15-20 coaches watching both our team and the team we were playing. This past fall during the most important recruiting time, she received a few dozen phone calls and emails Nov 1 and shortly after. One final tournament in front on her target school, she had an offer and committed shortly there after to a D1 P5. She had whittled down to 1 from over 40 schools, plus many more that had reached out. 12 of her 13 teammates are committed with 10 going D1, 1 D2, and 1 D3. One will commit but hasn't yet.

What I'm getting at, is if your daughter is looking to play at the next level, there is a school out there for everyone. She could be a #9 hitter on a B level team, and there are smaller, private schools out there looking to put together rosters. All the way up to D2, Mid Major D1, and P5 schools. Here is what i believe it takes to be recruited by some of the better schools at any level:

* Playing on a True A level travel team - Doesn't have to be an OC Batbusters, VA Unity, Thunderbolts, etc, but still an A org playing A tourns
* Playing at true A level tournaments in front of college coaches against other really good A level organizations
* Having a program and coaches that have connections with college coaches that talk with coaches before, during, and after games as well as communication with them during the allowed dates - if done properly, during the peak of recruiting, you will be talking with them weekly
* Targeting schools and creating an email list where communication is very consistent - weekly emails with tournament updates, schedules, etc
* Attended camps of targeted schools and getting one on one time with ALL coaches at said camps
* Creating a Twitter/X account where game clips and other info is communicated and available - follow programs and coaches as well
* Obviously having the talent. She doesn't have to be the biggest, fastest, strongest, etc. But working hard, being a good teammate and player, as well doing things on the field that help to get her noticed also counts quite a bit lol.

The difference in talent between my two daughters is minimal at best, but the circumstances each were in ended up being the difference in where they each attended/will attend school. Hope my experience helps with others wondering what it really comes down to.
 
Last edited:

LEsoftballdad

DFP Vendor
Jun 29, 2021
3,138
113
NY
We had a similar experience with my two girls. My older daughter is a talented hitter and catcher with a lot of drive. She started playing club ball at the B lever her second year of 12U. She progressed, but she didn't spread her wings until her second year of 16U because we didn't know any better. She wound up at a very good D3 program, but she will always be plagued with the "what if" question.

I'm a firm believer in having a strong advocate coach for your girls. Believing the mountain should come to Mohammed is foolish for all but the top girls. I had two organization heads say the same thing, and we walked away because of that.

If you think your daughter truly has what it takes, put her with the most aggressive organization you can to get her recruited. You need a bulldog in your corner, not a wet spaghetti noodle.
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
2,095
113
What I'm getting at, is if your daughter is looking to play at the next level, there is a school out there for everyone. She could be a #9 hitter on a B level team, and there are smaller, private schools out there looking to put together rosters. All the way up to D2, Mid Major D1, and P5 schools.

I firmly believe this to be true. If your kid is a competent 18U player, there is a college team somewhere for them. It might be D3, NAIA, or JUCO, but it's there. While I agree that you need to be playing high level travel ball to have any chance at P5 out of HS, I know several good (not great) USSSA A/B level players who are now contributors on D2 and mid-major D1 teams.
 

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