Welcome to Interview #96
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NCAA Division 1 Softball Coach of the University of Louisiana Monroe, Corey Lyon. Lyon has brought respectability to ULM Softball and this past spring their first trip to the post season in 20 years. Coach Lyon is doing things right, including his recruiting.
Coach Lyon has provided some great tips for us about how to go through the recruiting process and prepare for Division 1 athletics.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen? If a softball player personally contacts you by phone or email, what will you do next?
I would suggest going to camps at the school. It is the best way in my opinion for the player and coaches to build a relationship. It is a great way for the player to showcase their skills in everyday situations for the coaching staff.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your roster?
We have a roster of between 25-30 kids, using the allotted 12 Athletic Scholarships. So, we rely heavily on academic scholarship money to help supplement our student athletes. Being great in the classroom is a priority for our program.
What is college life like for a Division 1 athlete? What will day-to-day life look like? Can they be involved in activities outside of sports?
The business of College Athletics is just that, a Business. The student athlete’s daily schedule will be full when it comes to weights/conditioning, class, practice and study hall. It is possible to be involved in outside activities. The student athlete really just needs to be responsible for managing his/her time wisely.
What are some things that would keep you from recruiting a player?
The two biggest for me are inappropriate Social Media usage and helicopter parents.
How should softball players use video of themselves during the recruiting process?
Video is a great way to get you on a coach’s radar. Game film is always the best in my opinion.
What advice do you have for recruits on how to prepare for their freshmen year in a college softball program? What are typical things you wish incoming freshmen realized or knew before they arrived on campus?
The biggest to me is to come to camp in shape. Most freshmen do not expect it to be as hard as it is when they first get on campus. When they come in out of shape, it puts them behind which can lead to all the mental insecurities that they may have taking over and making them think they don’t want to play anymore.
You have a lot of very talented athletes who come to your program. What is the difference between the players who have a successful college career and those who don’t?
The great players are the ones who embrace the challenge. When players get to college, everything is different. Everyone is good. There is always competition for position and they always have to prove themselves. The great players are the ones who don’t run from this. They embrace the challenge and use it to motivate them to be better.
How do you see collegiate softball impacting an athlete’s life?
Being a college athlete opens up doors for you that may not have been there otherwise. These doors could range in anything from business or job opportunities to friendships and relationships with people that one may never had come in contact with if it wasn’t for softball.
What are some of the things you are currently doing to create excellence in your program?
We are working every day to develop a championship mentality both on the field and off. We work to set a standard of excellence not only on the field, but in the weight room, classroom, and in the community.
Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
Our team moto has been “Whatever it takes”. We push our players to do whatever it takes to be great. If that means they need to get extra work, get extra work. If it means being a great teammate, be a great teammate. It is simply something that we use to motivate us to always be better, be selfless and get the job done.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or softball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
Find the right fit and trust the process. Do not be concerned with what level you play at or what conference you play in. Find a school and program that you feel like is home and never look back.
You can find out more about Coach Lyon and ULM Warhawks Softball by clicking here.
Next, check out: How Can I Get a College Coach to Notice Me?
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