I want to thank Courtney Aubel from RAISE THE BAR for taking the time to give me a post for this Blog. After you read Courtney’s piece I will put my 2 cents out there .
Courtney Aubel from RAISE THE BAR:
Let’s talk about that big word that people like to throw around: COMMITMENT!
One of my biggest motivators to coaching the older girls is to help them play at the next level. But let’s be clear on one thing… I’m not here to get your daughter “money” and I’m certainly not here to commit her to some big SEC team for my own benefit. No, I’m here to help your daughter play collegiately, to play at the RIGHT school for her and to go somewhere she’s able to make an immediate impact.
Are all of your coaches out there for the same reason? I personally don’t think so. It’s sad to be watching these games on TV and to say “oh I know that girl sitting left bench”, when she could easily be playing for a smaller D1 or even a HIGH level D3. Let’s be honest, you have 2 of the best D3 schools right in your back yard! So why are your travel coaches pushing you off on high level D1s they know you’ll probably never start at, let alone ever put on a jersey your whole career. It’s because they don’t have YOUR best interest at heart. They’re about their “name brand” and making sure you’re making them look good by committing to a big school. But when you’re sitting there in a college T-Shirt because you can’t even dress out, who are you going to blame? Your college coach? No. They didn’t pressure you to commit to their school by the time you were a junior. Your travel ball coach did, and it was to fuel their own agenda.
My favorite question I get asked is: “How much money did your player get to go play at “so and so?” My answer? “Don’t know, don’t care.” Because that’s not my job. My job is to help a player get noticed and to choose the best place for her based off her academic needs, personal wants and her ability to make an impact on a program. The rest is irrelevant. Girls are committing as late as senior year, yet for some reason my sophomores parents are freaking out their daughter isn’t committed yet. WAKE UP, there is NO rush in this process! Too many athletes go somewhere they end up hating and that’s because the parents and travel ball coaches pressure these athletes into committing way too early!
It’s not fair to them. We expect these girls to be adults and to play smart and make high level decisions on the field; but we can’t trust them to make their own choice of where they want to go to college? I’m not saying guidance isn’t necessary, because it is. But these girls KNOW where they want to go and they KNOW in their HEART where the right place to be is. Trust their gut instincts as hard as that is. Parents – what you can do for your kids? Take them on AS MANY campus tours as possible and help them weigh the pros and cons. Coaches – we can do better. We can help kids make the right choice by not pressuring them to look high D1 and to commit early. We can help them by showing them that going D3 does not make them a “sub-par” player.
Help your athletes by letting them make their own decision and guiding them along the way. These are young adults that we trust to be out there wearing our uniform and representing our team, so why not trust them with their own future?
Thank you Courtney again for writing this up.
As a father who loves to compete I always wanted my daughter to compete at the highest level. I always pushed certain schools on her because I thought I knew what was best. But as Vanessa and I got deeper into recruiting things changed for me. I want to see my daughter go to a school that is a great FIT for her and not for me. I want her to be happy, she will be spending 4 years or more there and needs to be able to focus and enjoy the process. Vanessa had some great offers and all in all The best Fit, coach, program, environment and academics was Hampton University. For one the coach is one of the best teachers of the game that I have seen, she is a great teacher and she refers to her team as a family. That sold me as a dad, I want my daughter to go somewhere where it feels like a home away from home. The coach also wants to compete against the best out there and I love that! win or lose I love that! The school itself is a small population school and the surrounding areas is exactly what Vanessa loves. Vanessa felt comfortable at camps and visiting the campus, I knew this is where she wanted to go to and that’s before I even talk about the academics. Small classes, great student body that helps each other out. The coach focus’s on school, academics, grades and Overall team GPA. This is somewhere as a dad that I am happy my daughter made this choice. Yes its going to be the hardest day of my life but she is in good hands.
Now from a program standpoint I can careless where any of my players go as long as they find a FIT! Be careful with programs that will send your daughter to a spot that she will never play just because the name of the school will make the program look good. Trust me I can name a bunch of programs out there that still have certain players on their website saying they committed to a certain school, but in the end the player is NOT going to that school. There are programs that take committed girls already and then act like they are the ones responsible for that players success. This will always go on I get it but where is the integrity? Send players where they can use softball as a tool to get their education, Not where they have to change their major just to sit the bench. I mean lets be honest, our daughters do not spend their life playing travel softball so they can end their career not playing. am I right or wrong? Yes there are players who are ok with being the bullpen catcher, but that’s not the norm. Some of these programs are all about “ME ME ME ME ME”. Go play ball and enjoy it, get your education be awesome adults. I can go on and on but I have 2 more blogs today that you wont want to miss.
See you on the field,