Dena Tyson is a former All-American at the University of Washington and today is a successful Corona Angels head coach at the 18U and 16U levels who has helped dozens of players develop and advance to the collegiate level to play softball.
Dena is the daughter of legendary Corona Angels head coach Marty Tyson and competed at the University of Washington from 2002 to 2007.
She was part of Husky teams that made the Women’s College World Series three times (2003, ’04 and ’07) and as a senior for Washington in 2007 was a 1st Team All-American and was a selection to the World Series All-Tournament Team.
In today’s blog, Dena talks about three key factors to look at when considering what college teams should be on a prospect’s “wish list.”
Be sure to check out her previous blogs too including: Being a Team Player, How to Deal With Failure, How to Deal With Riding the Bench, How to Pick the Right College, How to Balance Life as a Student Athlete, What Are The Qualities of an All-American?, To My Unverballed Seniors, It’s Not Just About You and Habits.
With showcasing coming to end, this is the time where people are trying to figure out what camps they should be going to and what colleges they should be having on their list.
Please read this before making those decisions. I feel there should a few things you need to take into consideration…
Trust the Recruiting Coordinator
First, most teams have a recruiting coordinator, someone who talks to the coaches and finds out what their needs are and what type of players they are looking for.
Listen to me players and coaches: your coach will tell you if your child meets those needs. Sometimes you guys will see a college at your game and instantly assume that it’s an option for your daughter.
However, this coach may be looking for 2022’s or 2023’s and I have a team full of 2020’s and 2021’s, so obviously that can’t be option.
So, before you feel that recruiting coordinators aren’t doing their job, maybe there is nothing to report back because your team didn’t fit their needs.
Can You Play There?
Secondly, but probably most important: be realistic.
What do I mean about being realistic? Do you really think that you can play and compete in that conference?
I’m not trying to destroy anybody’s dream but so many times I get a list from my players and they just don’t match up. What do I mean by this? Look back at this fall and think about all the games you played: What was the competition like? How did you play against that competition?
For instance, if you have all Power 5 schools on your list, did you play against any Power 5 competition? If you did, where you successful?
Don’t tell me that you want to go to these big schools but when you play against teams or pitchers that have these big school players on them and you are getting dominated, it’s probably not a realistic fit.
Some many times I have been asked from coaches do you believe this player can play in my conference? Sometimes I believe that we get so caught up in the “clout,” we don’t always put our players in the best situations to be successful.
Just because the school will look good on your profile sheet, doesn’t mean that it’s the right school for that player.
Send your players to a school where they will have the most success on the field and in the classroom. Maybe we will see the numbers go down on that transfer portal if we take that into account!
Understand the Process
I work with all different players—some Angels and other girls from different programs. I do feel that sometimes not everyone is aware of the process of recruiting so I usually have my girls write down their top 15 colleges.
From this list I ask the girls if they have ever seen these schools at their travel ball games? This is truly a legitimate question because how do you plan to get recruited by a college who doesn’t come to your games?
I will obviously answer this question with the one all you guys are saying in your head right now: go to their camp.
Yes, I will say that is an option and that is a good way to get seen by a college that doesn’t usually attend your travel ball games. However, I do believe that I have a better option: look at the schools and the conferences that are at your games.
Now do your research on those schools, conferences and division and get to those college camps; you will probably get more success and better feedback doing this route!
I know I will get some push-back from this blog. And I will get told that I am going to let my daughter shoot for the stars because they may land on the moon!
I usually respond with this: if you shoot for the stars you could end up lost in space!
Playing at the next level—whether its D1, D2, D3, NAIA or Junior College—is a privilege! Every one of these outlets allow you to continue to play the game you love and further your education!
Finally, don’t get caught up in the wrong stuff! It should be about the player and the player only!
--- Dena Tyson