Why College Coaches DO NOT RSVP By: Kim Gwydir – Founder FPOS

Where can I find a list of the colleges who will be at…..

I get this question a lot regarding recruiting camps I run and I know many tournament directors who are frustrated with the same question. Parents and players want to know what colleges will be at an event, but on the flip side, the college coaches want to know what players will be attending to assess if it worth their time to attend – so it is one big circle.

As a college coach (and I was one for 15 years), I often would not RSVP to a tournament I planned to attend. Why? Sometimes I was not sure until the last minute I was actually going to make the event but mostly I did not want emails from players who knew nothing about my school other than that I was on such a list for a particular tournament. It was always a surprise to find out, and this happened many times, that my school was listed on the tournament’s website as one that planned to be in attendance even when I didn’t have any attention of going. So as a parent and player, it is NOT smart planning to wait and see what coaches are allegedly attending a specific event before deciding if you will attend a certain event or recruiting camp. Likewise, it is not a good idea to only email college coaches who a tournament has listed as coming. The key is good communications and a single email to the attending coach list a few days before an event is a waste of time and many times not even read by the college coach. They, like the player should do, are planning ahead and know who they want to go watch.

I have heard this complaint many times, “We were at the showcase and no coaches came to our field”. I have worked with TCS Rising Stars, Elite Showcases in TX, USAElite Showcases in CT, and MSP in KS. These tournaments do a great job contacting coaches and making it enjoyable for coaches to come to their events. By this I mean they provide roster books, coach’s hospitality and other amenities to make a college coach’s life easier at the tournament.

This is KEY that I think many parents and players miss.

What the tournament, recruiting camp or both provides is a venue you, the player, to showcase your individual talents or your team – IT IS YOUR JOB TO CONTACT COACHES AHEAD OF TIME TO GET THEM TO YOUR GAMES!!!

Here is one of my experiences as a coach I would like to share. I was in Colorado for the big July weekend of recruiting tournaments. I was made aware of a player on a very unknown team who was playing on a satellite field (meaning not the main complex) in the Sparkler Tournament. I spent the morning driving down from another tournament, finding the field and watching the team. Although I decided not to recruit the player, the my point is I took many hours out of my recruiting schedule to watch one player because I heard from a reliable source that she was good fit for my program. I have always said – a coach will go to any field if they think there are players who can help them win!

If your team is well know and has a reputation for having good players it will help get college coaches to come to your games but if your team does not have that reputation than you need to be more proactive and contact the college coaches ahead of time.

Remember, just because a coach attends an event does not mean they will come to your game and see you play and, furthermore, NOTICE you perform. In a recruiting weekend I would see 100’s of players so just because I was at a game did not mean I noticed every player on the field. An example would be the USA Elite Northern Exposure Summer Showcase last year where there were close to 100 college coaches and about 1500 players…which player is a coach going to choose to watch?

The plan to get college coaches to watch you at a recruiting camp or tournament.

  1. Develop a list of colleges that fit what you want based on academics, geography, size of school and softball. Be sure to include all types of schools, not just NCAA Division I!
  2. Email these coaches and communicate with them regularly so when you do attend an event they already have a rapport with you.
  3. Email these coaches prior to the tournament and let them know you will be attending.
  4. In your emails provide a link to a skills video – it is one thing for a coach to get an email but another for them to see your skills. If a coach likes what they see then you are more likely to get on their “A” list of must see players.
  5. Email the same list of coaches and let them know your schedule and where you will be playing once the schedule is made available.

Remember to continue communicating with the college coaches on your list. Your skills in recruiting are the same as when you are looking for a job. Those that persist, do their homework and work diligently towards their goal will always be the most likely to succeed!

College coaches like recruiting camps because they are guaranteed to see a player perform their skills. Often times you go to a tournament game and you never see the player get a ball or take a swing. In a recruiting camp setting you are guaranteed to see a player perform their key skills for their position.

We all have limited time, players and coaches alike. But to find the right fit in a college as a family, players and parents must do their homework and work the recruiting process diligently from their end. Remember, not all showcases and recruiting camps are the same. Look for events with good reputations of year in year out getting college coaches to attend. Ask around; look at their websites to see what coaches have attended in the past. Most top level events will have a page like this – it is really the best gauge to see if a tournament will be more likely to get coaches out but really the reason a coach comes out is to see a player they want to recruit. Contact coaches early and let them know you are at the event.

Bottom line – if coaches are at the event but not at your field maybe you need to look at what you did or did not do before the tournament.

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