The lifeline known as recruiting

Published 1:43 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Forget about the games. The most competitive part of college sports is who coaches get to play the games.
Coaches obviously recruit players who can help from an athletic standpoint, but there are a number of factors that go into the decision to recruit a player and what tools to use in the recruiting process.
There can also be plenty of frustration involved from both a coach and an athlete during recruiting.
Blevins, Gainer and Nims compile a long list of prospective players that gets whittled down over the course of time.
Blevins estimates his list reaches four figures.
Gainer estimates his list will range anywhere from 150 to 300 players.
Nims has double the recruiting since she coaches two sports. Her list is about 50 players for volleyball and about 100 for softball.
While JDCC coaches use some similar tools when they compile their list of possible recruits such as word of mouth, they also have some differences.
Developing contacts with high school coaches is important to all three. It is probably Gainer's best aid.
Nims uses recruiting services to obtain a lot of her information.
While JDCC coaches do not limit their recruiting area, they do try to stay within a certain radius.
Most of Nims' recruits are within a two-hour drive.
Nims added her volleyball recruiting radius is larger than softball.
Gainer tries to stay within a four to five-hour drive.
Blevins prefers a local flavor first and then expansion of his recruiting territory.
While watching prospective players compete in person is often the best tool to studying ability, it is one JDCC coaches do not get to use as much as they would like because most of their time goes towards their own team's season. An alternative source is through tryouts. JDCC coaches have two kinds of tryouts, one by invitation only to select players. The other is an open tryout where anybody can come display this or her skills.
Blevins indicated a tryout session he held last fall drew 120 participants.
Gainer said both invitation and open tryouts have been beneficial for the basketball program.
Nims said most of her roster spots are ultimately determined through tryouts.
While video is a common tool in studying a team's strengths and weaknesses, it is an item JDCC coaches are leery of when it comes to considering prospective players.
Gainer said most of the videos he receives are nothing but highlight reels.
Nims said she wants some video of players when things do not go well.