New England Diamond Gems Softball Signal September-May 2014

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1 Message From Coach Jim Rines and the Board of Directors: Greetings Players and Parents, New England Diamond Gems Board of Directors Jim Rines- President/Director of Operations Michael P. Wallace- Executive Vice President Collen Leach-Executive Treasurer Steve Kraytenberg- Business Development Director Ron Jackson-Executive Secretary As high school and middle school seasons are now approaching, our New England Diamond Gems players have put in the proper preparation to be successful. Please remember that the softball field is our classroom! It is the place where the application of both our life and softball skills are applied and demonstrated. The classroom is not always about wins and losses it is like our lives, it is about applying the right knowledge, skills and abilities to a specific situation. The New England Diamond Gems pride themselves in appropriately preparing our student athletes to apply the right knowledge, skills and abilities through our off season workouts all year long. Everything we do as an organization is built upon the concepts of preparing our student athletes for success in the classroom, softball fields and life. The New England Diamond Gems would like to wish all our players good luck with their school seasons. Again, we believe our student- athletes will be leaders both on and off the softball diamond. As our older New England Diamond Gems high school and middle school student- athlete s seasons goes on hold as they play for their respective school teams, our younger players will continue to prepare for their up-coming spring seasons. Most of our younger teams will start in late April and early May. Good luck to you all! Dave Johnson-Director of Softball Operations Kym Harrington-Director of Baseball Operations

2 The New England Diamond Gems would like to congratulate our graduating seniors who have signed letters of intent and been officially accepted to attend college and play softball. The following is a current break down: Brittany Wallace University of Hartford D1 Kelsey Bird University of Hartford D1 Madison Alcorn UMASS-Lowell D1 Emily Barrett Saint Anslem College D2 Leah Hunt Saint Anslem College D2 Shannon McLaughlin Saint Anslem College D2 Sarah Lavalle Southern New Hampshire University D2 Ivy Chaulk Southern New Hampshire University D2 Skylar Labbe Colby College D3 Erica Millett Southern Maine D3 Morgan Dube Endicott College D3 Kim Leiter Plymouth State University D3 Abrie Davis Plymouth State University D3 All New England Diamond Gems coaches are mandated by the Director of Operations and the Board of Directors to complete and pass the National ASA ACE Coach Certification course and successfully pass a police background check. All current head coaches and assistant coaches have successfully obtained their ACE certification identification process and passed their background checks. Outstanding job, coaches!! A gentle reminder that the ASA ACE ID badges must be ready to be shown at any time before, during, or after any softball game or tournament. During any State, Regional, and National play, the ID badges must be worn.

3 The New England Diamond Gems would like to acknowledge our former players as they continue to make a great first impression at the collegiate level. Congratulations, ladies!! "The New England Diamond Gems Nation is proud of you!" The following is the current breakdown: Jackie Dingman Rebekah Jackson Emily Kraytenberg Rachel Kraytenberg Mel Dusseault Alyssa Wright Lauren Mackey Mariah Crisp Morgan Fallon Lindsey Bolduc Ali Sumski Michaela Mcgowen Emily Schatz Ashley Abad Cassie Schultz Nicole Harvey Kelsey Smith Kelsey Kennedy Torri Alcorn Meaghan Bishop Alicia McCauley Masha Lang Katie Kennard Leslie Moore Kelsey Morton Samantha Henniquin Plymouth State University Plymouth State University Middlebury College Clark University Clark University Clark University Clark University Keene State University Keene State University Southern New Hampshire University Stonehill College Newbury College Colby College Assumption College Assumption College Assumption College Bentley University Bentley University UMASS-Lowell Roger Williams Roger Williams Plymouth State University Plymouth State University Babson University University of New England Saint Anselm College

4 To follow our former student- athletes complete stats, go to each college or university`s athletic website. On behalf of the New England Diamond Gems, we would like to thank the NH Sports Plex for a successful fall and winter program. Also, we would like to thank all of the teams-- Cannons 18U, NH Comets 16U, Central High School, Pinkerton High School, Londonderry High School, Chelmsford Blue Crush 18U, Hurricanes 12U, 14U, 16U, 18U-- coaches, players, and parents for their support during our indoor league games. NCAA Clearinghouse: The NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association is the governing body of college softball. Student athletes and parents must register with them to be eligible to play softball in college. Here is the link to assist you: Athletes who want to compete at College level must file a form with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This form is available from your high school counseling office or on-line. Registration is a one-time fee of $ It is recommended that student athletes should register with the NCAA clearinghouse at the start of their junior year in high school. There is no actual registration deadline, but you must be cleared by the clearinghouse before you can receive a scholarship or compete in your sport. IMPORTANT: The NCAA Clearinghouse is now called the NCAA Eligibility center. NCAA Clearinghouse contact information: NCAA Eligibility Center mailing address: NCAA Eligibility Center P.O. Box 7136 Indianapolis, IN 46207

5 College Recruitment Unofficial Visit An unofficial visit is any visit to a college campus that is NOT funded by the institution. A school is able to provide tickets to 3 sporting events under $100 You may not take an official or unofficial visit during a dead period (link to Contact Periods section). You are allowed an unlimited number of unofficial visits to schools at all divisions. You may stay overnight on campus during an unofficial visit When can I take an unofficial visit? Unofficial visits can be taken as early as freshman year. What will happen during my unofficial visit? Every unofficial visit is different and a lot depends on whether or not the coach has seen you play before the visit takes place. Typically, a coach will talk to you and your parents about their institution and athletic program and they will give you a brief tour of the athletic facility Can a coach offer me a scholarship during an unofficial visit? If a coach has seen you play, they may give you an indication of their level of interest. In some cases, verbal scholarship offers are extended on unofficial visits. Are there specific questions I should ask a coach on an unofficial visit? If you know a coach has seen you play, you should ask them where you stand on their recruiting list. Ask where they will be recruiting so you can hopefully coordinate a time for them to watch you play. Otherwise, refer to the questions section and choose a few that apply to you and that school. How do I schedule an unofficial visit? Contact the coach and inform him/her that you would like to schedule an unofficial visit. Coaches will usually be very receptive. Sometimes a coach will ask you to set-up a visit.

6 How do I schedule an unofficial visit? Contact the coach and inform him/her that you would like to schedule an unofficial visit. Coaches will usually be very receptive. Sometimes a coach will ask you to set-up a visit. How do I prepare for an unofficial visit? If you have video available, make sure the coach has viewed it prior to the visit. Ask the coach if they recommend that you schedule an admissions interview while on campus. Bring a few copies of your NCSA Recruiting Profile and a prepared list of questions. Don t forget to bring a pen and paper to take notes. What should I wear? Look presentable. You do not need to be in a dress or suit, but you do want to make a good impression on the coach. Do not wear athletic clothing on a visit. Think clean cut. Jeans are okay, but do not wear your dirtiest, ripped pair. Khaki pants/shorts, nice jeans, a sweater, casual dress or skirt or a button down shirt are all good options. When should visits be scheduled? You should be trying to schedule visits right away. The best time to make visits during junior year is spring and summer. Remember that December and early January are often times when coaches are on winter vacation. Some coaches may be out of the office during the summer and coaches are often very busy during their season as well. What is a game day visit? Game day visits are typically unofficial and they provide student-athletes and their families with the opportunity to visit the campus and watch a game. Game day visits are most common in football recruiting, but can take place in other sports as well. Most football programs will offer game day visits to student-athletes on their recruiting list. Remember, the coaching staff will be busy preparing their team and as a result, recruits usually do not get much attention during a game day visit. Always follow -up with a thank you note to the coach who invited you on the visit and/or the coach you met with.

7 What happens during a game day visit? Here is an actual game day visit itinerary from a Division I-A football program: Hawks vs. Wildcats, Saturday, November 6, :30 a.m. Arrive at Game Day Center, Registration 10:20 Game Day Presentation Recruiting Bob Smith, Recruiting Coordinator 10:30 Tour the Hall of Legends 11:15 Walk to Smith Arena and experience the pre-game excitement 11:45 Address by John Jackson, Head Football Coach 12:00 Walk through the famous Hawk Tunnel 12:15 Pre-game warm-ups on the floor of Hawk Stadium 1:00 Kick-off BEAT WILDCATS!!!! Post Game Prospects and their guests: Return to the tunnel entrance of Smith Arena. Visit with the Hawk coaches on the floor of Smith Arena; Home of Hawk Basketball.

8 THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR A FUN WEEKEND. Any questions, don t hesitate to call Bob Smith, Recruiting Coordinator. Due to NCAA regulations regarding an unofficial visit, you must pay for your own parking and lunch If an institution pays for any part of a visit, it is considered an official visit. Typically the school will pay for travel, housing, meals and some entertainment costs. The school is allowed to pay for lodging, transportation, meals, and entertainment. That includes (1) round-trip transportation (rental car or airfare) for the student-athlete between home (or high school) and the campus, (2) you (and your parents) may receive 3 meals per day and (3) complimentary admissions to campus athletics events. Official visits cannot be made until the opening day of class senior year, no matter what division. The date will vary depending on your school. The NCAA allows 5 visits to D1 and D2 schools combined. You may only take ONE official visit per institution, no matter the division. Each official visit may be up to 48 hrs. The NCAA allows each school (DI, DII, and DIII) to offer official visits, but each school differs in policy and budget. Official visits are not allowed during dead periods. You are allowed an unlimited number of official visits to NAIA & D3 schools. Who takes official visits? Coaches usually offer official visits to their top recruits. You must be invited on an official visit by a coach; you cannot invite yourself on one. How many official visits can a coach offer? The number of official visits a college or team can offer depends on their budget each year. Division I schools usually can afford the most official visits, followed by Division II schools. NAIA and Division III colleges usually do not offer paid official visits, even though they are allowed to offer them.

9 How many official visits am I allowed to take? Per NCAA rules, you are allowed to take no more than five official visits to Division I and/or Division II schools and you can only take one visit, per school. There is no limit on the number of official visits you can take at the Division III and NAIA levels, but you can only take one visit per school. When can I take my first official visit? You may begin to take official visits starting the opening day of classes, in your senior year of high school. You must also be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center before you will be able to start taking official visits. What does it mean if a coach offers me an official visit? If a coach offers you an official visit, you are most likely very high on their list of recruits. Official visits are typically reserved for top recruits. If a coach does not offer you an official visit (especially at the Division I or II levels), you are most likely not very high on their recruiting list and you should look into other options. How do I set up an official visit? Coaches will usually extend an official visit offer during a phone conversation with you, but you do not have to wait for them to make the first move. It is okay to be upfront with the coach and ask him/ her if they plan to offer you an official visit. Tell them that you are in the process of scheduling your official visits and you would like to know so you can plan accordingly. This will also show the coach that you are being seriously recruited at other places. How do I know if a coach is offering an official visit vs. an unofficial visit? Usually the coach will specify what type of visit they are offering you. If they don t specify and they asked you to visit during your senior year, you should always ask them to clarify what type of visit it is.

10 Are there any common questions a coach may ask during an official visit? Here are some common questions a coach may ask during your official visit: What other schools are recruiting you? Be honest and if possible, list colleges that are comparable to, rivals with, or better than the institution you are visiting. This will make them want to fight for you more! What colleges will you visit? Be honest and name any schools you have visited officially or unofficially. If this is the first college you have visited state that you are in the process of scheduling the rest of your visits. When can you commit? If you are visiting your number one choice and feel comfortable committing, go for it! If you have other visits pending or feel you need more time, tell the coach you want to take your other official visits, just to make sure you make an educated decision. Ask the coach, How long does your offer stand for? and When do I have to make my decision by? You can also explain to the coach that you need to discuss the offer with your parents, which can buy you some more time. Will coaches be evaluating me during a visit? Yes! Just because you are offered a visit, does not necessarily mean you will receive a scholarship offer or even a spot on the team. The coaching staff already has identified you as a top prospect, but the visit gives them an opportunity to judge your personality, lifestyle and character. Usually, coaches will make an effort to match recruits up with team members who have similar personalities and lifestyles. Be yourself, but remember, coaches are looking for young men and women who will be a positive asset to their university and team and who get along well with others. At some point during or after your visit, the coaches will probably ask your host about you, so always be courteous, positive and respectful.

11 Is there anything in particular that I should pay attention to while on my visit? Make it a priority to get a good feel for the college as a whole. You need to evaluate the campus, the students, your prospective teammates and the coaches. Ask yourself, Is this a place where I can see myself being comfortable and happy, for four years, even if I could not play my sport? Will I be offered a scholarship? Sometimes coaches make offers during a visit, but this is not always the case. If a coach does not bring it up, it is okay to ask if you are being considered for a scholarship or if there are any academic scholarships you should look into. Are student-athletes allowed to tryout or practice with the team? As an NCAA rule, Division I and Division III schools do not allow tryouts. On an official or unofficial visit, you may participate in workouts that are not organized or observed by the coaching staff. Typically, the workout will be lead by the team s captains and they must not be designed to test your athletic ability. Division II and NAIA schools are allowed to conduct one tryout, in the off-season of your sport, during your senior year. Are there any times when visits are not allowed? Yes. There are Dead Periods in which it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off campus. Dead periods generally fall right before the signing periods.

12 Enjoy Your Summer Softball Experience With Your Daughter: As we prepare our student/athletes to play the game of softball at the highest level of competition available we must keep in mind the reason why our youth play the game. Articles document the fact that the reason why our youth play sports is to have fun. The more the focus is placed on winning the less fun our student/athletes have and eventually leave the sport. We all want our daughter s to play and succeed at the highest level possible. But when that philosophy conflicts with the fact that they play for fun and unpleasant team experience can happen. The New England Diamond Gems pride themselves in the philosophy of player development and having fun. If the right coaching takes place that fosters this type of team atmosphere then most summer experiences the team embarks on are positive and produce life long memories. What players remember most about playing competitive softball is not the overall wins and losses but the experiences they had over the summer. Most players do want to win, but not at all costs. Every one of our players has shelves full of trophies, they love to win the tournament and receive the awards after completing the tournament in a successful fashion. But once all the pictures are taken on the field and the trophy goes on the shelf, they forget about the wins and losses that weekend they will only remember the team experience that had taken place. Like when the team went out for ice cream, had fun hanging out under the oak tree between games, or other non-game memories. These memories are the ones that will influence their farther participation in future competitive sports. Studies have shown that our own softball coaches can have major life influences on our players more than the student/athletes own parents. It is important to make sure that your selected coaches are great teachers of the game, but they also have the capability to give positive lifelong learning lessons as well. If we choose the wrong coach then the athlete may choose to leave the game they love so much and also be given the wrong life lessons. The New England Diamond Gems pride themselves on selecting and promoting the right coaches and life lessons. We want all our players to have a positive life long experience while participating in our program. Another factor that can play on either a student/athlete has a positive or negative sport experience is the parents. When parents focus on winning and not player development and the experience this philosophy can destroy the players love to play the game or also a team.

13 The most dangerous parents we can have on any given team is a parent that yells or degrades his/her own student/athlete in front of others or when a parent compares their son/daughter against another team mate. These situations should never be allowed to take place. It destroys the team and the players love to play the game. The thing we must keep in perspective as both parents and coaches is about the player and their development as a person and athlete. We are not taking about recognizing and rewarding everyone for just being on a team or competing we are talking about foster growth of the student athlete that will give the player a lifelong positive memory. Here are some import facts to remember about our players: There are about 4,000 softball players a year going for about 2,000 college softball scholarships. Only 0.7% of girls playing high school softball earn a college scholarship. So, one needs to enter this world of youth competitive athletics with realistic expectations that include fun, character building, learning the meaning of teamwork and sacrifice, etc., not with the purpose of getting a scholarship or playing professionally. Statistics show that team MVP players do not succeed in life as well as coaches award players do. It is more important to earn academic college scholarship money than for college softball scholarship money. The difference between the two is that the academic scholarship is usually guaranteed for the 4 years you attend the college or university as long as you maintain their certain GPA requirements. The sport scholarship is not guaranteed and can change year to year. The important point here is to focus on academics to succeed in life. These facts demonstrate the need to focus on the player development and the player having fun instead of the destructive philosophy built on wining at all cost. It is the family memories you make by sharing time with your daughter and watching her grow as an athlete and person. The key fact to remember is that if we as parents and coaches developed the player the right way and teach the appropriate mechanics and skills the wins will come. It is not the other way!

14 Here is my personal experience on this subject our Salem softball program has over 200 players that play recreation softball from the tee-ball age up to 18 years old. From this pool of 200 players the Woodbury Middle school has over 70 players each year tryout for only 15 spots. From the 15 players that will play at least one year at the middle school only about 4 or 5 will go on to play a number of years on the Salem High school team. From that 4 or 5 only about 2 or three will go on and play in college. But the most important fact is that at the age of around 21 or their senior year has completed all of our college softball players will be done playing softball at that competitive level. To put this into a real life example, this last year Salem High school softball team had four seniors that played for them. This same core group of players started out with the other 200 softball recreation players. When they were in the Woodbury middle school there was a core 11 players that played in their 8 th grade year. From that core or 11 players only 4 was left playing their senior year and from those 4 players only 2 went on to go play in college. In closing, the important thing to remember is that we as coaches and parents may think when they are 12 or 14 that they are great softball players (and they maybe) but in reality the odds of them playing in college and beyond is really less than 1%. The important things we should be focusing on are there development and having fun. We as parents should allow our great coaches do their job and we sit in our lawn chairs and cherish the memories we have created! Remember it is the value of time spent as a family and not the concept of winning that means the most to everyone involved. Cherish these memories because statistics show you may never know when it will end!! Enjoy your summer experience.

15 New England Reds Update: The New England Reds recently completed successful winter training at the NH Sportsplex. We would like to congratulate the entire U14 team- every player made their respective High School or Middle School team. Below represents each player and their respective team.

16 The New England Reds home field for the 2014 season is Riley Field in Bedford NH- our game scheduled is listed on our website The U14 team is off to a strong start of the season. They recently competed in Bobcats Classic Tournament and won their first three games where they accumulated over 48 runs, letting up only 5 runs. They lost in the finals to the NE Stamped, a Division 1 College Prospect team that is currently ranked #5 in the country.

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