A lot of things have changed due to COVID-19. One of these is the recruiting process for high school athletes in many sports, especially softball. However, club softball organizations, such as Top Gun Fastpitch, have been taking extra measures to help their players be recruited during these difficult times.
My club coach, Bob Turner, is one of those people who doesn’t need a lot of sleep, as he is constantly on the phone with college coaches when he’s not working his day job. He’s one of the best advocates for student-athletes that I have ever met for any sport, and puts in a lot of time and effort for players on his team and other teams. He’s the most hardworking and dedicated person that I know!
My recruiting process was a whirlwind. Bob helped guide me through something that I had never experienced, and made it 100 times easier for me and my family. He helped me with questions to ask, good talking points for phone calls, and also provided our team with an elite fall schedule that helped me get noticed by college coaches. Now, thanks to Bob, I have found my home for the next four years!
I decided to sit down with Bob to talk how my recruiting process (along with our other 2021 commits) compares and contrasts to that of our uncommitted 2021s and 2022s. Below, you’ll find a Q/A with him regarding recruiting in a COVID-19 world.
Allison Benning: How has COVID-19 impacted the way you advocate for players specifically?
Bob Turner: It really hasn’t hasn’t changed a ton because obviously we want to still continue to help kids get to the right fit for them. We’ve had to utilize more video probably today than ever before.
Allowing the coaches visibility into the athlete has probably never been more important through the use of video and other live-streaming methods. So I think that’s probably the biggest change through the recruiting process.
AB: What platforms are you using to help players with recruiting (social media, recruiting sites, etc.)?
BT: So, we have a couple different methods. One is just via email and phone calls, where you know, we’re connecting to coaches and having conversations about needs in a class. Then, we share the information and utilize the Sports Recruits platform as well as Twitter to communicate all the great things that our kids do, as well as Facebook and things like that. So by utilizing social media platforms and a Sports Recruits platform, we’ve been able to create great visibility into our student athletes.
AB: How/how often do you communicate with college coaches?
BT: I would say daily, in some capacity or another. It could be on the phone, whether it be via text or email. At this point in time, given the volume of the class of 2022 on our national team, we are communicating regularly. It could be a heads up on our schedule, sharing our profile, emailing information about kids, whatever it might be, and just making sure that we continue to stay in touch.
AB: Due to the changes in the viewing and dead periods, do you think the contact date (9/1 of junior year for Division 1) will change also?
BT: No, I think that the September 1 of junior year date will probably remain in place for a while. It feels like the right date. I know it has slowed the process down a little bit and allows kids the opportunity to still grow in the game and still be kids without feeling that pressure of making a life decision as a seventh or eighth grader. So, from that standpoint, I think that date feels right. I’m excited at the opportunities that our 2022s have as we approach September of this year.
AB: What advice would you offer those who are about to enter or are already in the recruiting process, especially with what is happening right now?
BT: I think the biggest thing is remaining patient and knowing that the process is different for everybody. As you’re going through it, just continue to work, build your skills, and network and build your relationships with coaches and communicate with them. Again, just remember the fact that your process may be very different than one of your teammates, for example. At the end of the day, the goal is to find the right fit for each player, and that fit and process can be very different from one kid to the next. So, my advice would be, run your own race, continue to work hard, and put your work in; trust your coaches and trust the process and if you do those things, what’s supposed to happen will. It generally works out just as it should and you find your home for the next four years after high school and that’s ultimately the end goal.