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OnDeck, Fastpitch Recruits, Captain U, NCSA, Game Day, Headfirst, Riseball - HELP

Me_and_my_big_mouth

witty softball quote
Sep 11, 2014
437
16
Pacific NW
I did a search here on DFP, and I saw a couple threads here and there that came up on one or maybe two of these services, but they were from a couple years back.

Now that PGF and NCSA have merged (Premier Girls Fastpitch and NCSA Join Forces! – PGF – NCSA Recruiting Network) and OnDeck works with FPR, there are really lots of decisions to be made. Some folks seem to really like these services, and some see this as overkill. DD has done OnDeck Tryout and loved it, loves the metrics use and the "proof" she got - easy to share with coaches. She also loves PGF and the caliber of player she's seeing consistently at their tournaments - and Nationals blew her mind.

I don't know if I'm posting in the right spot, or if it's possible to have an entirely new area with stickies and reviews on all of these services, but it sure would help. Actual testimony as to what has worked, what seemed like a scam, and what was just ho-hum.

We have a recruiting session tonight with NCSA, and so far I really like what they've had to say, and I like the ease of the interface and the college search. But I probably won't like the pricetag. DD is trying to keep a spreadsheet listing the colleges she's emailed, called, and had camps with. It's daunting and I don't find it organized. She created a list of questions to ask and a separate information sheet for recruiting questionnaires on college sites. I am admitting that the dashboard option with direct email sure is cool - but does it really work? Do coaches really use this? With Sue Enquist speaking on their behalf, should we trust that the softball world actually utilizes this site for their scouting and recruiting?

Maybe this belongs in the Playing in College area, but she isn't there yet. She's a 2019. Again - not trying to reinvent the wheel but there's sure a lot of stuff out there and it's overwhelming how many "free" profiles we can create for her, but then we're locked out because they won't let you see who's looking until you pony up. Thanks in advance for input!

The list (as I now it, please add more):
Recruiting/Profiles Sites:
NCSA
CaptainU
https://www.fastpitchrecruits.com/
https://softballrecruits.com/plans_pricing

Combine/Camps:
https://ondecksoftball.net/
Please Log In for Access
Best High School Softball Showcases | Headfirst Honor Roll Camps
Rise Ball Camp - Home
Game Day USA Softball Tournaments
https://www.triplecrownsports.com/Sports/Fastpitch/Fall-Player-Combine-Fastpitch-California.aspx
 

redhotcoach

Out on good behavior
May 8, 2009
4,701
38
We listened to NCSA. It sounded good. Signed up with captain U because it was cheaper and the plan that if it didn't produce we would look again at NCSA. It's been a waste imo. Get a bunch of emails from mostly schools I had never heard of. I have talked to several parents who really like NCSA, funny thing is not one of their girls have any offers. Off all the commited girls I know, I don't think any of them credit NCSA.
 
May 26, 2013
23
3
I like the ease of acess to NCSA, especially in regards when emailing coaches to give showcase tournament schedule. You can see when the coach has read it or viewed your profile. It's also nice to reach out to coaches that have shown interest in following you, that you wouldn't had known otherwise ..I have a 2020, no big verbal offers yet, but the visit invites are starting to happen! Been with NCSA for 9months now.
 
Last edited:
Jul 22, 2013
23
0
DD is a 2020 and we just joined NCSA a few weeks ago. The level of service seems very good and the UI of their website is excellent. Easy to use, track activity and navigate. Not sure if it will result in anything that we couldn't have done on our own, but I found the price to be fairly reasonable for the services offered.
 

longball00

Softball is my obsession
Apr 8, 2014
158
16
Willoughby, Ohio
Captain U is a waste of time and $$ according to some I've talked to, including coaches. From our experience, ODM and FPR was the way to go! The tryouts and testing are great tools to gauge development and see where you stand, but, the jamborees (combines) are the ultimate goal. DD (2020) was invited to 2 Jamborees based on her scores, and the coach turnout was impressive. Lots of leads/invites after the first one, but the second one is where she got an offer on the spot. A few coaches we have talked to value the testing ODM provides. Granted, they won't offer just based on scoring, but it may help for them to come watch if you are in contact with them.
 

TMD

Feb 18, 2016
379
28
We joined NCSA a couple of years ago...and wish we didn't. We bought in at the lowest (but still ridiculously overpriced) level after falling for the sales pitch. All of the progress my daughter has made during the recruiting process has been done on her own. Her NCSA profile is fancy, but that's the only tangible take-away. Having access to almost-current information about schools and the college search tools are nice, but I believe they are also accessible to everyone, paid NCSA account or not.

Some things we learned:
- NCSA says they put together a great video. We sent them the raw video that we took for them to edit, produce, and post. They literally only slapped their logo info at the beginning and end, editing nothing and leaving us with a too-long video that no coach would watch beginning to end. We ended up doing our own edited video, putting it on youtube, and sharing that link with coaches.
- Every coach that we have spoken with speaks poorly about recruiting services. The coaches have said they do not read any email coming from a recruiting service. We learned early on to NOT use the NCSA email and just email directly from my daughter's personal email account.
- My daughter had pretty specific preferences with regards to type of school, part of country, level of ball, etc., all of which NCSA seems to ignore when providing her with so-called "matches".

Bottom line, do you own work and own your own recruiting success. Recruiting services exist to make money. The only potential way I'd recommend them is if you start early (to get more time to leverage whatever services they may provide) and if you truly don't know what you want and are open to going anywhere for college.
 

JAD

Feb 20, 2012
8,231
38
Georgia
My $0.02...
The recruiting websites and service can help, but most are expensive and something you can do on your own with a computer and a little time and effort.

My DD had a great experience with OnDeck, but she is a pitcher and their setup seems to showcase flame throwing pitchers and big hitters. Lots of coaches mulling around, but when they called for pitchers to line up and start throwing pretty much every SEC and ACC team was front and center (held in Atlanta).
 

Me_and_my_big_mouth

witty softball quote
Sep 11, 2014
437
16
Pacific NW
Captain U is a waste of time and $$ according to some I've talked to, including coaches. From our experience, ODM and FPR was the way to go! The tryouts and testing are great tools to gauge development and see where you stand, but, the jamborees (combines) are the ultimate goal. DD (2020) was invited to 2 Jamborees based on her scores, and the coach turnout was impressive. Lots of leads/invites after the first one, but the second one is where she got an offer on the spot. A few coaches we have talked to value the testing ODM provides. Granted, they won't offer just based on scoring, but it may help for them to come watch if you are in contact with them.
DD loved ODM too. She missed an invite based on one darn metric - and my kid has been busting her butt to fix what wasn't right, which I love! We can tell her, "This (xyz) skill you have isn't D1 caliber yet" but it doesn't have the same motivation as an unbiased summary from them. She took it to heart, and has set her goals for an invite to a jamboree.

She emailed them last week and asked them to take a look at her next month at one of our tournaments - and they said to send them her schedule, they'll come see her again. That is proof-positive to me that they're in it to not only find talent, but to motivate the girls to improve.

On a completely separate note - for those using the email directly to the coach option from recruiting sites - DD had a good point yesterday. She said, "How can we trust that coaches are actually even opening/viewing these emails? I mean, it's their site so they can theoretically manipulate it all they want and we'd never know." I guess I was impressed with the partnership with PGF - but during our recruiting session, our dude kept asking me how long we'd been affiliates with PRG. Ummm.

DD said that sounds really enticing, because of course players want to know they're being searched and seen - but she doesn't really place much faith in it without more testimonials from actual coaches who can say, "Yes, we've found our players from this service."
 

longball00

Softball is my obsession
Apr 8, 2014
158
16
Willoughby, Ohio
DD loved ODM too. She missed an invite based on one darn metric - and my kid has been busting her butt to fix what wasn't right, which I love! We can tell her, "This (xyz) skill you have isn't D1 caliber yet" but it doesn't have the same motivation as an unbiased summary from them. She took it to heart, and has set her goals for an invite to a jamboree.

She emailed them last week and asked them to take a look at her next month at one of our tournaments - and they said to send them her schedule, they'll come see her again. That is proof-positive to me that they're in it to not only find talent, but to motivate the girls to improve.
That's awesome! That's exactly what my DD did as well. Her first testing was in July of 2015, and even though she got the invite from the initial testing, she went over her scores to see where she could improve before the Jamboree in January. She improved what she wanted, and others ( 5 months of growing and training helped). Took those scores and went at it again to improve some more, and it worked out for her. The best part is, even now that she has verballed, she works to improve those scores still. The one part that stuck from each Jamboree is, Derek Allister telling all of the participants that an invite back was not a given. If they didn't score well enough, they would need to retest, and score well enough to get another invite. So I believe that is part of their motivation as well. The entire staff seems to genuinely care for what they do. DD received a great email from Derek after he found out about the offer. Not many services would do that I don't believe.
 
Dec 2, 2013
1,530
113
Texas
Here's my .02. I have used Capt U, FP Recruits, OnDeck, and NCSA. By far the best one is NCSA. Yes, they cost more but you get more. I have tried doing all of this on my own by using Niche, college data, excel spread sheet, yahoo, youtube, etc. Ondeck's site is static and not very good at all. FP recruits doesn't get the traffic as does NCSA and site is very clunky. Capt U-for 20.00 bucks a month I wanted to see what colleges were using it-Not as much traffic. You tube is a fantastic tool as well if you use the analytics to see if anyone is watching your DD's video. I did not use the email function on any of the sites except for NCSA, maybe others can chime in.

NCSA is just more comprehensive in just about every aspect. Online Tutorials, Webinars, school research, contact info, etc. Here's where I see value. When you email via kid's yahoo account, there is really no way to see if the emails were being opened unless you cross reference youtube analytics, that is if they watched/opened the video link. With NCSA you can see if they opened your email, kid showed up in a search, a coach follows your kid and the coaches can email you back. This alone give you hope and validation that something is even happening. Without hope you get discouraged. Right? I will say that the Major D1's are not scouring the country looking for prospects, but they do open emails from NCSA. NCSA is most valuable to the D2, D3, NAIA, CC, Juco programs. We have a kid on our team that is verballed to a Major WCWS program and the mom swears by NCSA. We have another kid that is going on an official visit this weekend and they haven't seen her other than NCSA. Remember this is just a tool. The kid has to have the goods and you have to put in the work contacting the schools.

By the way, I was an NCSA skeptic up until last summer. It really is a great tool.
 

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