High-SchoolSoftball: Recruiting tips

Casey Stangel: All is right at Missouri

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
8:30
AM ET
Casey Stangel is a junior pitcher at Lake City High School (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) who also plays for the SoCal Explosion. Her high school team won the Class 5A state softball championship last season and she has committed to play college softball at the University of Missouri. She will blog for ESPNHS throughout the 2012 season.

Casey Stangel headshot
Courtesy of Casey StangelCasey Stangel
It is very hard when you are looking at different schools and trying to make a decision. Every coach is so nice, and every campus has amazing things about it. But how do you know when it’s The One? There are many factors that go into answering that question, and it varies for everyone. For me it came down to three key things:

  1. My Coaches
  2. Tradition of the school
  3. The “feeling” on campus

The first thing a lot of people will tell you is, “Never choose a school based on the coach, because you never know what is going to happen in the future.” This is a very valid point, but for me as a player I have to have the right coaches. I chose the University of Missouri because I believe in every part of me that I chose the best coaches in the country. When I go to college I want to be developed as a player and a person. I have seen so many amazing players go to college, but they never improve. I think that an important part of picking your school is choosing coaches that are going to challenge you as a player and make you the best you can be.

The traditions at every college are unique, and that is my favorite part to learn about. I enjoy listening to all the different stories and hearing about the past teams and how unique each one is. Seeing all the great accomplishments that have come through a university is a really neat thing. What I loved most about Missouri were some of the accomplishments from the past that were really awesome. What really hit me, though, was they focused more on what they wanted to do in the future than what had happened in the past. It really makes me excited because they want to go after all of these big things and I will be a part of it. They want to carry out a tradition of excellence, and for me to imagine being a part of that really makes a difference.

One tip I would give anyone going on a visit to a school is that when you walk around, imagine yourself being there in college. As I walked around the Missouri campus, through the weight room, the athletic center, the locker rooms, and even stepping on the field, I could see myself doing that every day. If you don’t feel at home at a school, it is not the right place to be. When I was in Missouri I felt at home, and I felt a part of something so important, and I knew it was the place for me. I saw all the dedicated fans, how close everyone was and how involved the community was, and it gave me this feeling of security that’s hard to explain until you have felt it. You just know when you’re in the right place and all you want is to put on that uniform and play.

Everyone is different in why they choose a school, and there are a lot of factors that go into it. It is a very stressful process in a lot of ways, but enjoy the process and learn all you can. In the end you will find that one certain school that makes you feel how I do about Missouri, and trust me when I say there is no better feeling!

Read the previous installment of Casey's blog – how to get reach out to college coaches – here.
Casey Stangel is a junior pitcher at Lake City High School (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) who also plays for the SoCal Explosion. Her high school team won the Class 5A state softball championship last season and she has committed to play college softball at the University of Missouri. She will blog for ESPNHS throughout the 2012 season.

Casey Stangel headshot
Courtesy of Casey StangelCasey Stangel
In sixth grade I started emailing coaches at the top 50 college programs that I was interested in playing at. I emailed the coaches about every three weeks updating them on my training, school work and travel ball. I recommend starting your recruiting process as early as possible to get yourself out there in the recruiting world. When sending emails to coaches it is very important to remember the following things:

  1. Spelling and grammar
  2. Bolding your name and graduation year in the subject line
  3. Attaching your game schedules

College coaches receive hundreds of emails regularly, and that number doubles before big tournaments in the summer. It is very hard for them to read them all, but as coaches see you play and become more interested in you, they will see that you have been writing them and check for your emails regularly. Don’t be down if you don’t get a response -- just keep on writing. Remember coaches are not allowed to get back to you before your junior year!

Sometimes not getting a response is frustrating, other times it may show you that the school you’re writing to may not even have a softball team. ...

When I was choosing my top 50 schools, USC was high on my list. I loved their football program and thought it would be a cool place to go. As I went online to get an email address, it showed the softball page was “under construction,” but there was an email for assistance. So I started emailing thinking it was the head coach’s email for prospects to get a hold of him/her! For the next year or so I emailed USC every three weeks with high hopes. After never seeing them or hearing much about the program, I was thinking they just were not interested at all. At a recruiting camp in the summer before my eighth grade year I was talking to a coach about schools I had been writing to. When I mentioned USC, the coach gave me an odd look and told me that they had not had a team in many, many years. Super embarrassing! And with that I knew I would never be a USC Trojan!

As you write to schools and take visits, your top 50 will change. You will pick up some new schools and drop schools as well. Below is an example of one of my emails from the seventh grade.

Subject: CASEY STANGEL 2013

Dear Coach Jones,
Hello, My name is Casey Stangel. I am 13 years old and I play pitcher, and 1st base for the 18-Gold Spokane Sliders. We are located in Spokane, Washington and have players from all over the Northwest. I work 5-6 days a week on my softball. This includes hitting, pitching, and personal training focusing mainly on speed, agility, power, and strength. I hope that this upcoming Fall you could attend a tournament, because USC is a school I dream of going to.


This Fall I will be playing 18-gold for the Spokane Sliders. We will be participating in three tournaments in Southern California, and then smaller tournaments in Seattle and other places in the Northwest. Our tournament dates are October 10-12 which is the Surf City Tournament in Huntington Beach. The second is the San Diego Premier Softball Showcase on Oct.24-26, and the third is the Early Thanksgiving Showcase in Huntington Beach on Oct.31-Nov.2nd.

Sincerely,

Casey Stangel

I hope everyone’s high schools seasons are starting off with a bang!! Work hard every day, don’t ever cut it short. Until next time …

Read the previous installment of Casey's blog – how to get noticed by college coaches – here.

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