USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
Win 76% of the time. Win the ACC Championship every year. Play in the postseason every year. Oh, and become a National Champion. Sound like fun? Well, then Florida State might be the school for you!
I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention for the last decade, or so, but the Florida State softball program is good. Really good. In fact, what head coach Lonni Alameda has been able to accomplish since her arrival in Tallahassee in 2009 is nothing short of extraordinary. This week, I was able to sit down and talk recruiting with one of the best coaches in all of college softball. From what she’s looking for in a recruit, to what it takes to land on the Seminole radar, here is what Coach Alameda had to say.
Q: Physical talent aside, what are you looking for in a recruit?
A: We are looking for young women that are wanting to flourish. And, I think to flourish in anything, it really helps to love whatever it is you’re doing. We have a very intense program here at Florida State. And by intense, I mean we take a tremendous amount of pride in all we do. In fact, we require it. So, what does that look like when we’re recruiting a player? Well, we look for the kid that loves the game of softball. She loves being a student and the academic side of this. It’s important for her to want to make an impact in the community and she should love the opportunity to represent Florida State in every way possible. I think when you can find the player that has the physical talent it takes to play at this level and couple that with the idea of wanting to play for something bigger than herself, that’s the ideal recruit for us.
Q: What separates the best players from everyone else?
A: A commitment to growth is what separates the most successful athletes from the rest, regardless of the sport they play. But, that’s life, too. Successful people are constantly growing. They’re constantly learning. You always hear about the blue-chip athletes and how impactful they’re going to be at the next level. Yes, the physical component is big, and you would rather have it, than not. But any good coach will tell you that it’s not just about getting those kids into their program. A team full of blue-chippers that are content with where they’re at isn’t going to win you a lot of games. It’s about getting the kids that are always striving to get better. They want more for themselves and more for their teammates. It’s hard to define success with one word or one idea. But I am certain that as long as you see consistent growth, success won’t be too far behind.
Q: How do I land on the radar at Florida State?
A: There are so many different ways for you to get our attention. And, I would tell any young lady interested in us, to figure out what works best for her situation. But, we truly like the interaction of the recruiting process, the teaching and coaching. Getting to a camp of ours or a camp we’re attending is a huge piece in recruiting the players we’re after. Because, we want to be around you. We want to see where you start and watch the growth that takes place. Maybe you come to a camp, catch our attention, and a few months later we come out to watch you and we see the adjustments you’re making as a player. It goes back to that idea of always getting better. It’s easy for us to create a baseline by seeing you at a camp. And that’s great, because you can control getting in front of us, initially. From there, we just want to see you showing the necessary progress or getting to the level it’s going to take to play here.
Q: Talk to me about the role social media plays in the recruiting process.
A: Social media is a great way to get to know the young woman we’re dealing with. And truthfully, it’s not a way in which we’re judging a player. I think so often, kids are told don’t post this and don’t post that. But I’d prefer to see what’s on their mind and what they have going on in their lives. Within our program, we don’t have limitations or a ban on social media. Sure, we monitor what’s going on, but we really try to teach our kids that there’s a brand that’s Florida State softball, and there’s also a brand to each, individual player. As they grow in life and what they’re trying to accomplish, these players need to understand how to handle themselves. What do you want your brand to be? I think social media provides young people with that opportunity to help develop that mindset, or that brand.