Just reading through some college recruiting advice and it reminded me of the 3 STAGE REALITY CHECK that should be practiced by every parent and player. It is very interesting to observe the countless hours of games, practices and private instruction not to mention the amount of $$$$ that accompanies all of it, however it seems no one ever takes the time to sit and talk to their play about these 3 simple realities surrounding college athletics...
1. Most of your pre college playing career is made up of teams rostering between 10-13 players. Most if not all college teams roster 22-25 players. As many as 6 of these players are usually pitchers. Which means every single inning of every single game there are 16 splinter pickers chomping at the bit for the starting 9 to mess up. Not quite the same odds as travel ball. Not to mention the possibility of being RED SHIRTED. Many perspective athletes don't even know what this term means. Simply put you get to go to all the practices and meetings. You get to lug all the equipment but you don't get to play in any games. The pay off is an extra year of eligibility, to try and become one of the 9 or at least one of the 16. And don't be foolish enough to think the people on the field are coveting the lions share of the scholarship $$$$ either.
2. Every single player on a college team is the best kid from where ever they came from. Most travel/club teams and high school teams have a diversified talent pool, however once you get to college the playing field levels out significantly. You need your A game every minute of every day to avoid becoming one of the 16. Perhaps you are one of the 9 and you are holding the lions share of the scholarship money, keep your A game close by. The day you signed that letter of intent was the same day the coaching staff started looking for a stronger, smarter, faster and hungrier replacement.
3. Your College Experience is not like everyone else's. The next statement is not going to make it's way onto any recruiting flyers, but it is the cold hard truth. College athletes are more like employees of the University than they are students. While most other students are skipping through the quad or day dreaming in the student center, the student athlete is busy trying to juggle their class schedule, practice schedule, tutoring schedule ( meaning getting tutored) and team meeting schedule all before a three day road trip (meaning travel and games). Most often your day begins by 5:00 AM and ends by midnight if you are lucky. Many college softball players have even sacrificed their graduation ceremony for post season play.
Being a collegiate athlete offers many many rewards, however to gain these rewards one must enter the realm with their eyes wide open. Know before you go and BRING IT EVERYDAY !!!!!