Jess and my paths crossed many times before we actually came to know each other. I was helping coach the varsity team in Swartz Creek, while she was in middle school and playing in the travel softball club I would eventually be coaching in, FireStix Fastpitch. I recognized her potential mostly in 8th grade while watching a game after our varsity practice. Fast forward to today, where although I am no longer assisting with the school team, Jess is a member of my 16u travel team.
Jess is a 2019 1B/OF Power Hitter who recently gave a verbal commitment to Tiffin University. It seems like yesterday that she was just a middle school girl hanging out at the high school tryouts, where her dad was helping out. My how time flies. Jess learned about my blog and expressed interest in writing, so I asked her to give it a shot. She did, writing her first post, "My Journey to Self-Confidence in Softball" back in April of 2016. She followed that post with, "What it is Like Being a Freshman on Varsity" in July of 2017. This is her third post, which describes the college recruiting process from her point of view.
The Softball College Recruiting Process: A Player's Point of View
By Jessica Verran
I have learned from experience that it is easier to get involved with the recruiting process as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more your chance of getting recruited narrows. There are steps to the process that I would like to share from a player’s perspective.
When starting out you want to decide whether or not this is something you want to pursue in the future. If so, you must have a grip on what you would like to do as a career. I understand that this is difficult but when you know what you’re passionate about and what you want to do for a living, it makes the process so much easier. I have always known I wanted to be in law enforcement in some way and a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a part of the FBI and would do whatever it takes to get there. That's what I wanted to do as a career. The first step is to find colleges or universities that support your career goal. The second step is to determine how far you are willing to travel from home.
When I was beginning the process, I searched colleges and universities that offered my program and that were closer to home. I also found a few out of state, but that were still not too far from home. I created a list of schools I was interested in that contained information like their location, the program they offer, and their athletic division and association. As soon as I had all of this information, I began to write and send out emails to the coaches of those schools.
The third step in the process is having a recruiting video. A recruiting video is a video of your skills at your position(s), hitting, running, etc. This gives the college/university coaches a chance to look at you. There are multiple companies that offer skills videos. I did my skills video through College Bound Jocks, which is a very well-known business that creates videos for athletes and can help to get them recruited. I suggest having two videos spread out over a length of time, because it will show your improvement to the coaches. Once you have your video, you can add a link to it in the emails you send to college coaches.
When writing emails, it is very important that you keep up with them and to make them unique to each individual school. Be sure to learn about the school and to include your knowledge of it in your emails, so the coaches know you have taken the time to educate yourself on what they have to offer. The more colleges/universities you have on your list the longer this process may take, but you will eventually narrow your list down to the schools you are really interested in and those that are interested in you.
Attend as many camps as you can. This is a great way for the coaches to see your abilities live and also get to meet you face to face. At the beginning of every camp be sure to introduce yourself to the head and/or the assistant coaches, then thank them for the opportunity to participate in the camp.
When getting recruited it goes farther than just your ability on the field. Many coaches look at your body language or how you handle many situations; such as, a strike out or a missed play. This is why having a positive attitude and having short memory is key. I personally struggled with this part of the process because I would always dwell on my mistakes, which ultimately showed in the way I played. To overcome this, I constantly reminded myself that there are going to be plenty more at bats, plenty more plays, plenty more opportunities to do what I know I can do.
Overall, my advice would be to do whatever it takes to make yourself known in the best way possible, whether that be through a video, camps or both. If you are determined to play college ball, put yourself out there, take the risks and always have fun.