Be Competent. Are you as trained and educated as you can be?  Do you grab as many moments as you can to be a subject matter expert?  It is so important to be efficient with what you do as that creates credibility for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.  Having the skill and experience to do what you do creates a sense of competence.  Are you capable?  Are you an expert at what you’re trying to do?  You have to have experience, training, knowledge, and skill to be perceived as competent.  Doesn’t mean you have to be perfect just do everything you can to develop as much competency as possible.  Satisfactory is sometimes just meeting the minimum expectation, be better than what is expected of you.  Be Competent.

Be Nice. Be Kind. Be Helpful. Be Friendly. Be a Resource. Be Happy. Be a Listener. Be Genuine. Be Valuable. Be Positive. Be Confident. Be Competent. Be Honest. Be Consistent. Be Thoughtful. Be Considerate. Be a Giver. Be Humble. Be Ethical. Be Forgiving. Be Respectful. Be Prosperous. Be Promoting. Be Supportive. Be Sincere. Be Loving. Be Healthy. Be Trustworthy. Be Funny. Be Interesting. Be Inspirational. Be Classy. Be Instinctive. Be Inspirational. Be Glorious. Be Likeable. Be Authentic. Be Complimentary. Be Brilliant. Be a Leader. Be Grateful. Be Abundant. Be Motivational. Be Visionary. Be Understanding. Be You. Be NSR.

 

Most players fear being put on the bench only because someone told them that it is not a good place to be. Why is it perceived as not a good place to be? I’ve said it for years, you can’t manipulate playing time so if 7 players never touch the ball and only the pitcher and catcher can be guaranteed playing time, why is it so bad to be on the bench? Here’s a new perspective that every softball parent needs to share with their players. If there is 12 players on a team minimum, then if the 3 on the bench come in to play they have to sub for 3 other players, that means only 6 players aren’t on the bench. Half the team are “sub’s”. Any many more should rotate unless the rules in championship play prohibit the rotations.
You’re right, I grew up in the land of softball and raised my kids around the game where it was an honor to be on the bench for a team like the Orange County Bastbusters. You knew you made it… you would get recruited because coaches knew you were good enough to play on that team and to be on the bench on that team. Why you ask? Because you get trained by Coaches that know how to prepare you for the competition that you will face in college. If you’re not playing with or against your peers that you will play with or face in college then it makes it a lot harder to be ready to face that level of play.
Practice and training is where you get the tips and the repetition to be effective. The techniques and the experience can be created and repeated. You can’t get that experience in a game. I hear sooooo much crying from parents about playing time and I’ll share the magic secret, if you spend the time you spend crying and whining about playing time on preparing, teaching and training you’ll never have to worry. The hard work and effort will always pay off even if you just get one inning or one at bat. You can only play so long on natural talent as we have seen over the years the kid with talent and hard work will always outlast the kid with natural talent that doesn’t do the work. If you do everything YOU can to prepare your kid for the opportunities they’ll be more valuable and less likely to sit on the bench! Get it??
I’ve never understood why a Coach would put a kid on the roster if they can never find a place to put the kid in the game. Parents, put your kids on teams that they “can” play on. Take off your rosey glasses and put them on a team that they get the right training, coaching and can be put in the game without hurting the outcome of the game. Parents, get them to private or group hitting, fielding, technique training as a Coach will never have the time to individually train these kids as they have minimum coaching time to teach them to play as a team. It’s a privilege to be on a team where each kid is good enough to be on the field and on the bench. I was sitting watching my husband’s team in PGF National’s and a coach from a D1 Mid Major came up and asked why a particular catcher was on the bench and I said because this team is deep and has 4 catchers that can play at any time. They were freshmen in high school and all committed last fall, their sophomore year.
I started playing this game in 1970 and it has changed significantly. However, one thing remains, the rules of the game that we all love puts 9 players on the field but you need depth on the bench to compete and to actually play the game. You need pinch runners that have speed and can slide. You need extra pitchers and catchers because of the amount of pressure and physical requirements. You need kids that can play another position at any time to cover injuries, sickness or absence. It made me crazy when we moved to Texas in 2007 and each team only wanted 10 on the roster. Then a kid gets sick or has another event or sport to play then it was left to the coach to find a “pick up player”. What the heck is that? Now you have another kid to train, teach and incorporate into the team chemistry all because someone else felt the team was a lessor priority. They all want their kids to stand there for the innings and act like that is valuable playing time. But they’re the least committed to the issues of the team and the Coach.
Let them all bat, what’s the big deal? Give them as many at bats as you can. What ever happened to playing 7 innings so the kids can get as many at bats as possible. Oh yah, the tournaments directors want as many teams as possible to make more money but it surely doesn’t create more playing time for the kids. You’re not preparing your kids to play the real game. Pitchers especially need to be able to get through an entire game to understand all the issues and challenges that lay ahead of them in college.
Play 7 innings! Host more “Friendly” games where you can play all 7 innings, teach and train and create opportunities for all kids on the field. The crying about being on the bench gets less when you can have the time to get them all in the game. Scrimmage your own team. I think it is ideal to have 16 to 18 on a seriously competitive roster, one that is trying to win National Championships. Never less than 12 or it becomes the Coaches issue because these are the classic teams where the parents complain the most and are the least dedicated because Susie has cheer, or volleyball or something else that is perceived as “balance” for them but not good for the team or the Coach. These are usually the families that have never coached because they don’t understand the responsibility of the Coach. Oh, I’ll have another blog about the Coach, don’t worry!
Here’s what the bench player should be doing. Cheering for their team. Keeping a score book so they understand the game. Charting pitches so they learn strategy. These tips can be modified by their level. I taught 10U players to keep the scorebook and they loved it. Have a coach talking to them explaining the game. Teaching the game to them while they wait their turn. Have them help the catcher get their gear on. Warm up a pitcher or two. There are so many things they can be doing. It is not punishment to be on the bench. Give them all a chance to be on the bench. Coaches… don’t make it so lopsided. This way they all get some opportunities and it will be obvious to the parents when you have to play only 9 by the rules.
It is a very rare moment for any player to NEVER sit the bench. And, those that haven’t, miss out on other aspects of the game.
Teach the players the value of the Bench. Enjoy the journey, have fun along the way.

 

cheri-naudin (3) Cheri Naudin is a National Scouting Report Scout in Northeast Texas.  Cheri is also the mom of three practically grown children.  Two of whom have played collegiate ball.  She is also still very involved in coaching and individual instruction.  For many years Cheri has been entrenched into the collegiate softball world.  She talks with college coaches on a daily basis about her athletes.  To talk with Cheri or another NSR scout, go HERE for a FREE evaluation.

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Having been a slapper for the majority of my softball career, I have a soft spot for slappers. As a college scout I obviously evaluate every position on the field…but when I first approach the field, the game is going, it’s almost autonomic for me to immediately gravitate towards the slender, quick, lefty hitter because it’s almost a guarantee she’s a slapper and if not, I’ll bet I could teach her to be if she’s got the wheels! My life as a player and recruiting was predicated on my speed and ability to place the ball wherever as a slapper. A slapper, similar to most pitchers, have to truly appreciate their art and work on their craft daily, in order to be extremely effective. Even coaching now after my college playing days are over, I have a natural tendency to get the butterflies in my stomach when I see an effective slapper.

Because of my many years practicing this art, I pay special attention to them when scouting games. When recruiting slappers, there are quite a few things that I look for in that athlete. Obviously, how fast are they? Slappers are usually the fastest kids in the lineup. How fast they can run from home to first is important but how fast they can get out of the box is more important to me. Hitters love to watch where the ball went after they make contact, therefore, slowing them down when they are trying to beat out the throw to first base. Taking that extra second to look where your ball went, is giving an extra second to the defense to make the play. Secondly, how well can they read the defense? As a power slapper, I loved when the defense would move in on me assuming I was a weak hitter or I was just going to bunt it. I would wait for my pitch and burn the infield, or make the outfield run! Usually at the slappers next at bat, the defense will go back to playing regular and that’s when you use your speed to drop a quick/surprise bunt. Utilizing the defense and determining where they are playing against you as a slapper is a huge part of the mental aspect of the game. Learning to adjust to different pitchers speeds is extremely challenging for a slapper.

Think about it: slappers are running towards a balls that is coming at them at high speeds. It is not easy! With faster pitchers, our feet have to start earlier and we have to shorten up our swings. Remember, the ball will have some pop off your bat against a fast pitcher. When slapping against a slower pitcher, our feet start moving later and we can have a quick full swing. Learning to adjust to the different speeds is one of the most challenging things for a slapper.

Lastly, when learning how to slap, one of the first things we are taught is to look for the outside pitch. Hitting the ball in the 5-6 gap is ideal for a slappers on most occasions. While this is completely true and accurate, I look for that slapper that can recognize an inside pitch and turn on it. Pitchers know that slappers are looking for an outside pitch, so they will challenge you and see if you attack the inside pitch. There are many things to look for in a slapper but some of the main ones are; how quick they are down the line and out of the box, how well they can read the defense, learning to adjust to different pitching speeds, foot speed, being able to hit for power as well, how many tools as a slapper do they have, and being able to attack any pitch thrown to them.

My many years as a slapper myself in high school, travel, in college, and in coaching and lessons, have essentially caused me to gravitate towards a slapper when scouting. However, it also means I’m going to be even more critical in my evaluations of a slapper because I was there, and I know what’s missing or what they need more work on.

It’s no secret, the direction of the game of softball has been the “short game” for many, many years now. And as hitters become more effective, pitchers become more effective. They feed off each other to challenge and grow. Because of this, college softball recruiting has been this way as well. Truly affective slappers are at the top of the pyramid alongside legit pitchers now. A speedy home to first is similarly attractive to a 65mph fastball (legitimate 65). Because of this, everyone is trying to become a slapper, even those players who shouldn’t be.

I was asked to include just a few tid bits of advice for up and coming slappers hoping to be recruited as such:

1. If you’re running a 2.65 from the right side, absolutely let’s see if you can slap.

a. But if you’re a power hitter, running a 2.9 from the right, know and own your role as a power hitter from the right side and embrace who you are in the lineup.

2. If you’re a slapper, understand the value of all tools: hit away, soft, power, chop, drag, etc.

a. Understand the value, and train them. Be able to utilize each of these depending on what the defense is giving you.

3. Again, BE ABLE TO HIT AWAY FROM THE LEFT SIDE!

4. Start training yourself to be able to perform all methods of slapping WITHOUT starting at the back of the box.

a. Slapping defenses have taken a lot of things away. Because of this, when you start at the back of the box, the defense knows what’s coming and can prepare.

b. Lineup at the plate, and be able to stride correctly in your cross step to effectively utilize all methods.

5. Do speed training religiously! There’s no such thing as “fast enough”

a. Set a treadmill at your max speed you can run. Straddle the sides. Hold the handle bars. Jump on and sprint it for 3 full seconds. Repeat until you’ve determined your max speed. Then repeat at your max speed for several repetitions.

6. Understand that your patience at the plate is another valuable asset. If you’re a slapper, you’re likely quick. And therefore your on base percentage (OBP) is just as important as your batting average (BA)!

As you can see, my career as a slapper has molded some pretty strong opinions on what to look for as well as what to train for. Because of such a rise in popularity in slapping, I will leave you with this:

Know your role as a hitter. Don’t force yourself to be something you’re not. Slapping may seem cool or fun, but if your role is a power hitter hitting the 4/5 hole, know your identity and own it. If you’re smaller and quick, but haven’t learned to slap, this might be the time to get acquainted with the best slapping instructor in your area. Just keep in mind: if you’re hoping to be recruited as a slapper, college coaches and scouts like myself are very seasoned on this and can tell when someone who lists themselves as a slapper hasn’t the slightest clue about all the tools of an effective slapper and how to utilize each of them.

Good luck in the rest of your season! See you on the diamond!

Nicole Hatley, Houston Area NSR Softball Scout

Go HERE to get scouted by Nicole or another NSR scout in your area!

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The first Wednesday of February, 2015 was an unbelievable day for the staff at National Scouting Report: Football.  We were on watch duty for our kids that were to sign National Letters of Intent to play college football. The east coast athletes started the festivities and set the tone for the rest of the country.  We had athletes signing at some of the most prestigious Division 1 schools, FCS, several Division 2 schools, D3, Juco, and NAIA all across the nation.  We were posting and sharing on social media, talking to local media outlets, and working with athletes and coaching staffs to assist in this process.  This was just one day out of our year.  We do this kind of behind the scenes work everyday for our athletes in all sports, but the sport of football gets to have a nationwide party on the first Wednesday in February every year.

There are several factors that led up to this dramatic day.  Our scouts had to find these athletes first.  They do this by spending hours in the field at games or practices, or by watching countless hours of film to determine who has the potential to be a college football player.  They had to identify kids that have the athletic ability, size, and speed to play at the next level.  The scout then had to interview the athlete and the family to determine if the prospect had outstanding grades and, most of all, the desire to do what was necessary to become a collegiate athlete both on the field and off.  If the athlete and family meet the criteria that the scout needed, then he would proceed to enroll them in our program.  What the public does not realize about National Scouting Report is that we do not enroll every kid we come in contact with.  We are very selective in choosing the right kind of student/athlete.  This one key factor is why we have a success rate of over 95% placement of the athletes in our program.

What does the NSR athlete look like?  First is the athlete needs to have great grades.  Grades, often, are the difference between two athletes with similar skills, and grades could make academic money available that could stack with athletic assistance to potentially fill out the total cost of attending college.  We also look for athletes that fit in to very specific BOX’s with regard size and speed.  These BOX’s will help the scout identify what type of program that the athlete has the best chance of going to.  The actual determination of where an NSR athletes goes to college is made by the college coaches, but our scouts need to know, based on data from colleges and previous athletes, where to start the process.  Next, the NSR athlete must know about several different topics related to the NCAA.  Things such as being registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and how to go to NCAA.org to do this.  If the athlete is determined to be of NAIA caliber, then they would need to register at PlayNaia.org in order to complete their eligibility for that type of institution.  Each athlete must know that they HAVE to be registered with either the NCAA or NAIA eligibility centers before they can play the sport of their choice at the collegiate level.  The family must know about contact periods and learn exactly when and where college coaches can actually talk to the athlete.  We go in to when and how college staffs can evaluate the athlete, and how important this evaluation is in determining whether or not the athlete will actually be recruited. Our families are educated on college visits and they learn the difference between official and un-official visits.  They also will have the knowledge of knowing how may visits they can actually take. We even cover things such as not taking gifts.  But the main point we have to make known is that if you are not talking to college coaches, you are not being recruited. It’s that simple.
Becoming identified and recognized is the first step that has to happen in order for a college to put you on their recruiting board.  Once the athlete is identified and recognized by a college staff and the coaches reach out to them, then they are in the recruiting process.  The next phase is the evaluation portion of the process. Coaches have to actually determine if this athlete is indeed a college caliber kid.  Then the comparison comes versus other kids that play the same position. If the athlete survives the gauntlet he will move to the offer phase of the process.  Here is where the school offers a non-binding pledge to provide financial assistance to an athlete.  They key to this is that offers are non-binding and can be pulled at the discretion of the institution, and that not all offers are full rides.  FBS schools have 85 head count scholarship versus FCS with 63 scholarships to fill an 85 man roster.  Division 2 schools only have 36 scholarships that can be divided throughout the roster and NAIA schools have 24 scholarships that they spread out over their team.  Not until the athlete signs a National Letter of Intent are the school and the athlete bound to any agreement.  Families must understand that the majority of what they read on social media regarding offers is HYPE.  National Signing Day and/or the signing period will determine who actually gets the scholarship to attend the institution and play football.

So as you can see, there is a significant amount of effort and communication that is required to get to the point where a student/athlete gets to sign an NLI.  The old statement, “If I am good enough, they will find me”, will have you behind with regard to the recruiting process, and could, potentially, leave you out of it entirely.”

Do yourself a favor.  Take control of your dream. Get identified and recognized. Get scouted and evaluated by professional scouts that understand the football recruiting process. If you feel you have the ability, grades, and are willing to put in the effort to master your game contact National Scouting Report at  www.nsr-inc.com/football

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Be Confident.  Showing that you’re self assured can go along way.  When you’re comfortable with your own abilities and the work you do for others gives others comfort that you can do what you say you can do.  When you’re confident it shows that you’re positive and secure in who you are and what you do.  Overly confident, cocky or boisterous only shows up if you’re trying to be confident but don’t have the credibility to be that way.  Get feedback and self evaluate before you go over the line.  Yes, there is a line between confidence and boisterous.  Confidence comes from knowledge, training, results and feedback.  Share with others how you became confident and that will determine the credibility to be confident!  When you’re able to see your work, what you’ve shared working in others than you know it is true.  Do the right things right without controversy.  There is never a question that it is the right thing so be confident in yourself, your abilities and your results.  When you’re comfortable in your own skin others will notice.  You don’t have to “tell” anyone!

Be Nice. Be Kind. Be Helpful. Be Friendly. Be a Resource. Be Happy. Be a Listener. Be Genuine. Be Valuable. Be Positive. Be Confident. Be Competent. Be Honest. Be Consistent. Be Thoughtful. Be Considerate. Be a Giver. Be Humble. Be Ethical. Be Forgiving. Be Respectful. Be Prosperous. Be Promoting. Be Supportive. Be Sincere. Be Loving. Be Healthy. Be Trustworthy. Be Funny. Be Interesting. Be Inspirational. Be Classy. Be Instinctive. Be Inspirational. Be Glorious. Be Likeable. Be Authentic. Be Complimentary. Be Brilliant. Be a Leader. Be Grateful. Be Abundant. Be Motivational. Be Visionary. Be Understanding. Be You. Be NSR.

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April 3, 2015

Pocket Radar, Inc. is proud to announce an exclusive partnership with the National Scouting Report for the Ball Coach radar to become the “Official Radar Gun” for scouting and prospect evaluations. Together, Pocket Radar and NSR will continue to help players and scouts evaluate different areas of performance and abilities across all sports.

NSR is the most revered high school scouting and college recruiting organization in the world. Since 1980, college coaches have depended on NSR to present quality prospects for recognition, evaluation and recruitment. As an NSR prospect, you can rely on our company of professionals to effectively promote you, and to make your profile and videos available to every college coach in America in your sport.

“As the trusted source for college coaches looking to recruit athletes since 1980, the validity of our (NSR’s) scouting evaluations on potential prospects is essential. That’s why we’ve chosen for years to use the Pocket Radar’s Ball Coach, for truth, accuracy, and validity in our metrics and evaluations. This partnership is something that has been in front of our eyes for years without us knowing it, and we are excited to formally let everyone know.”

-Robby Wilson, National Director of Softball Scouting, NSR

The Ball Coach radar is a pro-level radar gun and speed-training tool for player development through one-on-one coaching or self-guided drills, with hands-free operation keeping it simple. By making crucial results like hitting power, pitching speeds and throwing speeds instantly visible, training with the Ball Coach radar helps athletes get better, faster.

“We are very excited to be partnering with a company that has the pedigree of respect that NSR commands,” said Steve Goody, CEO and co-founder of Pocket Radar. “They are a worldwide organization that has excelled in sending over 90% of their prospects to the college level. Our Ball Coach radar is a perfect fit to help not only their scouts, but also the athletes themselves assess and evaluate their performance with objective data and numbers.”


About National Scouting Report

The recruiting process for athletes becomes more competitive every day, and the recruiting process starts earlier and earlier every day. There is much more to the process then showing up at a camp or playing in a showcase. The old saying “if you’re good enough, they will find you”, wasn’t true then and isn’t true now.

The scouting staff of NSR is dedicated to finding scholarship opportunities for athletes that possess the talent, desire, and motivation to compete at the collegiate level. They provide athletic evaluations, academic guidance, and an in depth education on the recruiting process. Upon successful evaluation and qualification into our program, National Scouting Report will provide the appropriate link between the student athlete and the colleges and universities across the country.

College coaches have depended on NSR to present them with quality prospects to evaluate and recruit that can legitimately play, study and compete for their program.  Over 90% of NSR prospects receive college offers from NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and NJCAA institutions.

For more information on National Scouting Report: http://nsr-inc.com
Follow NSR on social media: https://www.facebook.com/NationalScoutingReport

Do you have what it takes to compete in college? Want to know if you’re good enough to be recruited? Complete the ScoutMe request here and a college scout in your area will contact you: http://nsr-inc.com/athletes/


About Pocket Radar

From the world’s smallest certified accurate speed radar, to the only radar gun specifically designed for coaching and training, Pocket Radar has engineered a revolutionary product line to fit your speed measurement needs. Each Pocket Radar design includes exceptional performance and technology that fits in the palm of your hand. Pocket Radar products are convenient and rugged enough for everyday use by everyone from pro to amateur, to National Championship winning coaches and anyone interested in speed. For more information about Pocket Radar, visit www.PocketRadar.com


 

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The fan is part of the game. I’ve seen some good ones, some “not so good” and some really “BAD fans”. The good ones cheer for all girls on their team and respect the opponents. They create positive cheers and chants and praise the great plays on the field. They’re kind, supportive and encouraging. They’re not afraid to compliment a great play from the opponent. They can actually change the momentum in a game.

At the College World Series I was a guest of one of the Washington families and saw it first hand with the Parents of the Head Coach actually started cheers in the stands to raise the excitement. The noise and excitement gave encouragement to the girls. Be the good fan!

The “not so good fan” sits in the crowd and just watches the game. Some actually sit with their arms crossed not participating in the chants or the music or the plays being made on the field. They don’t cheer or get excited about anything. They show up late and leave early and get up and down during the game interrupting everyone else’s view. They’re just not involved.

The “BAD” fan screams at the players when they make an error. They criticize the coaches and the players. They yell at the calls the umpire makes. They think that they know everything there is to know about the game. The worst ones actually make derogatory remarks towards the athletes. They’re rude to the other fans. They’re usually the loudest person in the stands. Every team has one, are you the “BAD” fan?

Be the good fan. Be the person that initiates the fun in the stands and for the players. Be the fan that supports all aspects of the game. Cheer for your players not against the other team or players. Support the coaches on and off the field. Cheer for a great play whether it was made by your team or the other team. It is ok to be disappointed in the loss or an unfortunate play but it is how you handle it that makes it a good experience.

Being a good fan will let you enjoy the journey, have fun along the way.

cheri-naudin (3)Cheri Naudin is a National Scouting Report Scout in Northeast Texas.  Cheri is also the mom of three practically grown children.  Two of whom have played collegiate ball.  She is also still very involved in coaching and individual instruction.  For many years Cheri has been entrenched into the collegiate softball world.  She talks with college coaches on a daily basis about her athletes.  To talk with Cheri or another NSR scout, go HERE for a FREE evaluation.

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Don’t forget to be a kid! I have been involved in sports for the majority of my life first as an athlete, then as a coach, and now as a scout. I have seen the landscape of athletics change since I was a kid. When I was a young athlete you played your sport locally for your town and if you were good you made the all star team. You played a few games and then eventually you lost and enjoyed summer. You went on vacations with your family, went to parks, swam, etc. Now I see kids playing year round without a break. They play in local leagues, travel ball, go to camps, tournaments, you name it. I understand, especially as a scout, the need for some of this. Coaches are tough to get in front of, but at what cost? No not money but health, mentally and physically. Kids can get burnt out due to playing too much. I see summer schedules where the kid doesn’t have one weekend where they aren’t playing in a tournament or going to a prospect camp. This seems like what most people would call a job. We played because we loved the sport, but it wasn’t a job that I did every day. I would play baseball then turn around and play whiffle ball or basketball, maybe a great game of kickball. I was able to see my friends, go places with my family, or sometimes just relax. I see kids having to stop playing nowadays because of injuries or who have just lost the desire to play the sport they loved. So how can this be prevented? Let your kid be a kid. Don’t start too young in these travel leagues that want all of your time. If you must or want to play, look for teams or organizations that will allow you to play in a few tournaments over the summer. That only practice a few times a week. Why would you need to play travel ball every weekend at age 8? Tell me what coaches or scouts are there to watch your kid? I have read study after study and not one shows evidence that your sons or daughters are more likely to play in college due to playing travel ball at a young age. My daughter didn’t start playing lacrosse until her eighth grade summer. She made varsity her freshman year and was named all state by senior year. She went on to play in college and is currently a four year starter for her school. She played travel her freshman through junior year not before. She has had her injuries but still is able to play and I’m sure will continue to play as long as she can. The point is that you can still play at a high level starting later on. You only get to be a kid once. Remember what is what like back when most of us were growing up? Yes, I know that some kids just want to play as much as they can but please don’t forget to let them be a kid also!

Brendan Kennedy
National Director of Lacrosse
Area Director New England

 

brendan-kennedy (1)Brendan Kennedy is a  National Scouting Report Scout with an emphasis on Lacrosse.  Brendan lives in Maine and helps athletes in that area as well as Lacrosse athletes all over the United States.  If you would like to be evaluated or have your child evaluated, go HERE.  NSR helps athletes in ALL sanctioned NCAA sports get the college opportunities they deserve.

 

Be Positive. Create an environment where you emphasize the positive. Hang out with others that are positive. Recognize the positive. View the world around you and all the good that it has to offer. When you see the positive you get to experience the greatness around you. Every issue that is brought forward has a positive option, choose that option. It is like forks in the road if you turn positive then you are traveling on the highway of positivity. If you choose the negative road then it takes several positive turns to get back out on the positive highway. Are you driving on the positive roads? It is your choice to make. Assert positive action in your behavior and your body language. When you are positive and genuine it creates positive results. Show positive characteristics. What comes around goes around. When you extend positive energy you receive positive energy. Especially in a leadership role, when you extend positive behaviors and actions you will get positive results. Think about it, think of the last time you had conflict and image a different effect if you had chosen the positive road? What would the outcome have been? Try being a Bully of positive! Wouldn’t that make for a fun day? Try it, choose the positive highway today.

Be Nice. Be Kind. Be Helpful. Be Friendly. Be a Resource. Be Happy. Be a Listener. Be Genuine. Be Valuable. Be Positive. Be Confident. Be Competent. Be Honest. Be Consistent. Be Thoughtful. Be Considerate. Be a Giver. Be Humble. Be Ethical. Be Forgiving. Be Respectful. Be Prosperous. Be Promoting. Be Supportive. Be Sincere. Be Loving. Be Healthy. Be Trustworthy. Be Funny. Be Interesting. Be Inspirational. Be Classy. Be Instinctive. Be Inspirational. Be Glorious. Be Likeable. Be Authentic. Be Complimentary. Be Brilliant. Be a Leader. Be Grateful. Be Abundant. Be Motivational. Be Visionary. Be You. Be NSR.

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I get asked often “What does it take to be a College Softball Player”.  Not from a recruiting perspective so much as from a mom’s view, I will try to provide some insights.  Just my perspective, not to recreate conflict or long rebuttal’s, just a mom’s perspective.

I have spent the last 6 weeks attending College Pre Season Tournaments with my daughter’s team.  My daughter has played intensely since she was 5 years old.  Is it really for you?  If so, here’s my advice and thoughts.  I am speaking to the athlete as well as the parent in my thoughts below.

The amount of work and responsibility is beyond what you hear or think about.  Teach your daughters TIME MANAGEMENT, TEAMWORK and HARD WORK, NO EXCUSES and BALANCED PRIORITIES.  Student athletes need to embrace these and own them and make the decision to make it!  And, each of us has their own balance.  Decide what level your balance is at and whether your child has the GOD given talent to perform at the level you’re expecting them to.

We often speak about “The Journey” and what a great life it is.  We hear stories of how fun playing the game in a big stadium in front of the crowd is.  What fun it is to have that moment on TV or winning Conference Titles or rings.  They get branded sports gear and get special recognition at school. It is an elite opportunity for only a few.  It is an experience that few get to have.  It is a journey for the family and the athlete.  We have to be all in!  It has been an incredible journey for the whole family.

I still cry when the National Anthem is played as I have had a front row seat in my daughters journey and have personally seen the work, sacrifice, commitment, dedication and love of the game.  These athletes are amazing and have accomplished so much. Knowing all that they’ve overcome to be the best at what they love.  They have to really love it to do what they do.

They have intense schedules.  They have a ridged routine and it is not under their control.  They can’t decide that they have too much homework or had a rough game so they’re too sore to go to the work out sessions.  I hear from players weekly that they’re too busy to go to Pitching, Catching or other Training sessions because they have homework or other events that seem more important.  These college athletes wake up sometimes before the sun, get to their work out sessions while eating their breakfast walking to their first class.  Then they have tutor sessions and other private workouts with their trainers.  They have appointments with professionals for their aches and pains as their bodies get worked to the limit.  Most of them are nursing some type of minor aches or major injuries.  They need to do their homework while traveling in hotel lobbies and in airports or on buses.  They have hitting or fielding review with their coaches, team meetings, team events, community service events, and other school commitments.  This is not for the “Average” player that puts in average effort and has average results.  Don’t measure your success in the high school arena.  There is no comparison.

The insane pressure to perform is real.  Can’t just show up with half effort.  The college party life is not an option.  So why would you allow your teenager the party lifestyle.  An occasional social event like birthday events, proms, family events are part of life but so many emphasize attending every event.  I have found over the years that kids use this as an excuse when the work gets too hard. It is way easier to go to every party you’re invited to and “hang” out with their friends.  My advice is to make your softball friends your friends as you all have the same priorities.  Be friends with your athlete friends as their lives are more in sync with yours.  These other friends will never experience the journey you have as an athlete.  You are there as a student athlete and you have priorities unlike other students on campus.  These friends that are non-athletes will not have the journey in college that you will have either.

Teamwork is paramount for these young athletes as they’re together for long extended periods of time.  They share hotel rooms and work outs and lots of meals.  You have to be tolerant and forgiving and allow each of them to be themselves.  They become their family and support system.

Can they manage their Academics while training to be a top athlete?  This is a very important part for the parents to be involved with. Help them manage their schedules to carve out time for studying and projects.  Be a good example and teach but don’t do their work for them.  This will not help them in college if you don’t teach them to do it themselves.

No day off.  There is Spring Break or Summer vacation.  LOL.  My sister told me at Thanksgiving one year that this would be the last 4 day weekend as we were just about to start the travel ball life.  She was so right. But we wouldn’t trade one holiday for any of these experiences.  We have incredible memories with families that are still living the dream.  Make your child’s dream a family vacation!  You’ll never regret it.  Our daughter Chanin figured out during high school that if she ran more she hated running less.  Then it becomes part of your lifestyle to eat right and train hard.

We hear the younger girls talking about their club or travel team with excitement for playing for the big named University.  They are often convinced by putting on the t-shirt that they will go to the school of their dreams and yet they aren’t on the highway to get there.  If you embark on the trails traveled before you of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, you “might” get that opportunity!  It isn’t as easy as it looks and isn’t for everyone.

I had a conversation with another mom that believes that there can be balance for the girls.  Let them play basketball, volleyball and run track for their schools.  It is a rare occasion for the majority of the girls nationwide to be able to balance more than one sport and still be elite at softball.  The competition gets stronger every year.  Are you an expert at something or a jack of all trades?  There is a rare athlete that can be exceptional at more than one sport.  There are only 4-5 girls in each graduation class being recruited to a particular team and your competition is Nationwide, not on your local ball park.  That’s some stiff competition.  If it is really the sport for your daughter, then balance the sports that help them.  Running cross country or sprints on the track team are good balances.  Do the weight training class that some schools offer.  Avoid the sports that also have successful select or travel societies around them as the chance of a major injury is more profound.  I have heard several coaches say that they do not want them to play an intense sport at another higher level as they do not want to risk injury or lose out on scholarships.  But this is always a controversial topic. Just decide what is best for your family.

Girls are often distracted while playing High School softball and forgetting to do their work at the Travel Ball level.  They slack off a bit and play down to the level of competition that they’re facing.  They pick up bad habits as it is REALLY rare that you have a high school coach as that has experience at the Travel Ball or Collegiate level.  I’m making a huge generality here but it is what I have experienced.  We hear that many States won’t even let the players train other than at high school.  I strongly suggest that you continue your private training at the level necessary to play college ball.  Play to YOUR individual best every time you step on the field.

Speaking of distractions, let’s talk about that.  Relationships, yes they’re a huge distraction but part of the process, as it will be real in College too.  Teach them and guide them when it is appropriate to have dates, proms, and other social events.  I promise you that it will be the biggest obstacle, if the social life is more dominate than their training.  Some spend more time on Social Media then training for their dream sport.  I’m saying… let them enjoy high school but balance it for them if College Softball is really their dream.  Posting these teenage relationships on Social Media is a bad bad idea.  Parents get on your kids social media accounts and see who they’re friends are and keep up to date on their social activities.  There is NO privacy on Social Media and it is for the world to see.  SnapChat is the worst thing ever.  People it is not private.

We have also heard over the years that the brothers or other siblings take the toll for the players dream.  I am sure that it has for each and every one of them.  I truly believe that we work as hard for each kid in the family but equality is not ever there.  Whether it is sports or education or social life it would be impossible for any family to give equally.  Just do your best to support the kids in their interests and what they want for their life.  Being a top level athlete isn’t for everyone!

One of the greatest part of the journey is our daughter has had productive, positive relationships with positive productive families!  Those are life time friends!  They’ve shared the joy, they’ve gone through the same struggles.  It is not for everyone… Enjoy the journey at whatever level it offers you as a Coach once shared with me that “The Game will pass everyone by at some point, what is your point is not in your control so enjoy the journey”.

If you want it you have to find the time to do it.  You have to love the sport, love the lifestyle.  It isn’t for everyone.  The rewards are endless.  The journey is amazing.  The memories priceless.

 

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Cheri Naudin is a National Scouting Report Scout in Northeast Texas.  Cheri is also the mom of three practically grown children.  Two of whom have played collegiate ball.  She is also still very involved in coaching and individual instruction.  For many years Cheri has been entrenched into the collegiate softball world.  She talks with college coaches on a daily basis about her athletes.  To talk with Cheri or another NSR scout, go HERE for a FREE evaluation.