The question is… what’s next?
Now that our 2014 Jamboree and National Camp schedule is completed, I would like to take a moment to address a question that most recently was posed to me after last week’s Phoenix Jamboree – “What’s next?” That is most certainly a valid question, and I hope I can answer it here.
As many of you know, we have a three tiered system of events that consists of a National series of Tryouts, the only open events in the OnDeck schedule; and 10 major recruiting events - eight different Jamborees and two National Camps. So let’s look at those different events:
• The Tryouts are open to any and all players who would like to attend. We limit the number of players we have in any one session simply because we want to make sure we give each registered player the best opportunity to shine.
• The Jamborees are invite only recruiting events that take place on a single day and are attended by College Coaches. We have Regional Jamborees and National Jamborees, but the bottom line is an invitation to a Jamboree gives any player a venue to show her stuff to the attending College Coaches.
• The Elite Camps are also invite only and are the crown jewels of our recruiting events. Invitations to the National Camps are difficult to obtain and the level of play at these two events is very high.
So, now that you have a clear picture of the exact nature of our events, let me address the most common questions that arise:
• How do I get invited to an event? There are several ways you can be invited. First, you can attend a Tryout and play your way in. Approximately 54% of our players attended a Tryout. However, you can also receive an invitation if we happen to see you at a game we are scouting. Needless to say that is tougher simply because our paths have to cross, and then you have to have the opportunity to play well while are sitting there. A few players each year are given opportunity through video, but this is a rare occurrence.
• If you have attended a Tryout once do you have to attend again? The answer is POSSIBLY. If you attended a Tryout and failed to secure a spot in one of our Recruiting Events, then the only way you can eventually get into a Jamboree or National Camp is to tryout again, or hope we see you play somewhere in a Showcase. We will never move a player we deemed “not ready” into a Recruiting Event until we see that she is ready. And to do that we need to see that player again.
• If you attended a Tryout and were selected to participate in a Jamboree, do you have to Tryout again? The answer to this is a MAYBE. Certainly if you participate in a Recruiting Event, you will always remain in the pool of players we look at for each event. So you will always have a chance. However, if you played poorly in a Jamboree or National Camp, then the chance of your getting invited back is less likely. So, you might have to Tryout again in order to prove yourself. Or, if you suddenly improve – the velocity of your pitches jumps from 56 to 62; or those 180’ fly balls are suddenly 230’ home runs – you might want to tryout again and show us how much you have grown.
• Will I automatically be invited back to a Recruiting Event if I was in it last year? The answer here is NO. If you played poorly, then we might not invite you back. If you played well, you have a much better chance. But most of you have heard us say that we never promise anything until we have put you on a line and sent you the invitation.
I think that covers the most asked questions. So . . . “What’s Next?”
1. We have either sent out, or will be sending out a Report to all the College Coaches with whom we work about you and the other players in your event. This is The Allister Report and it goes all over the county. Each Report contains a brief description of every player in a particular event along with a confidential rating that is part of our process. The College Coaching community clamors for these reports, and we get them out as soon as we possibly can.
2. We will begin putting together our lists for future events in the months to come. If you have a desire to attend a particular event, please let us know, particularly if that event is in another part of the country. While we will never promise you a spot, we will strongly consider your request.
3. Sit tight and look for an invitation. Make sure you allow OnDeck Softball email to go to regular mail and not Junk. Many times we hear from players and or parents that they were hoping to attend a certain event, only to find out that we did indeed invite them and the invite went to Junk and was never opened. Try not to let that happen.
4. If you have never been in an OnDeck event, look at the Tryout schedule for a Tryout in your area.
I hope that answers the questions you might have regarding this process. We had a great time this past year, and we appreciate all the contributions you made to OnDeck Softball’s success. We can’t tell you how gratifying it is to hear a parent thank us because their daughter’s travel ball coach just received three phone calls from three schools who are sitting there watching her play in a Jamboree. That happened last Friday. And we can’t tell you how thrilled we are when we hear from a player that she just committed to the school of her dreams and the coach told her that she first saw the player at an OnDeck Event. That happened last week. Now we can’t wait to head to Chicago for the January 2nd Banditfest and the start to a new OnDeck Season of Events.
So, hopefully we will see many of you this weekend in SoCal, and as always, take care in the days ahead.