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The huddle

March 27, 2017

Daniel Webster Softball Coach Casie Runksmeier Offers Recruiting Advice

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Casie Runksmeier is entering her fourth season as the Head Softball Coach at Daniel Webster. Before Daniel Webster, she coached at New England College where the Pilgrims had back-to-back winning campaigns that led to two postseason appearances. Coach Runksmeier also has experience serving as a professional mentor.

What are the main qualities you look for when recruiting a player for your team?

The most important aspect to me, beyond any physical abilities, is the fact that this is the right school for that student.

In what grade do you start looking at recruits?

I just recruit one year out, so I start looking at juniors after January 1st. This puts me in a position to see them play during their high school season and ASA season. Then the fall of their senior year they can put in their application, come for an overnight visit, etc.

When would you like players to start contacting you and how often would you like updates?

I would prefer players reach out in the winter of their junior year by email and tell me why they are interested in my school. Indeed, players could reach out sooner than that, but that is early enough for me. Updates can happen as often as that player feels necessary given what is happening in her life or softball.

Would you rather communicate by phone or email?

Email at first, then phone once I have established a rapport and know that the student is serious about looking at my school.

What is your preferred method to see an athlete play? (camps, showcases, tournaments, skills videos)

I don’t mind any of the above as I can get a pretty good read on an athlete’s abilities in all of these situations.

Would you still recruit an athlete if you were not able to see them play in person?

Yes. For instance, it might not be possible to see an athlete from the west coast play in person, but that player might be a perfect fit for my school in every other way. I would still recruit her.

How can an athlete stand out with their skills in a highlight video?

I don’t think it is about doing anything special or different in a video because I want to recruit the true player, not just something that was crafted for a video.

When should an athlete create their highlight video?

I think an athlete should create their video early on (around 8th grade), but continue to update it/make a new one each year. I believe making a video is an experience in and of itself, so creating one many times over means that the athlete will improve at it. Additionally, a video can be good feedback for that player. Often athletes get better when they see themselves play. HOWEVER, I wouldn’t send it out to coaches until the student-athlete has established a list of schools that she would attend. So, that video wouldn’t be sent until the student is a junior (or there abouts).

Are there any big tournaments/showcases that you always attend?

I consistently attend New England’s Finest, because there are a large number of teams in the showcase and all fields are relatively close to each other. But, I enjoy going to smaller tournaments where I might be the only coach in the stands.

Would you recommend that an athlete plays on a better team and get less playing time, or play for a lower level team and be a starter?

This is a question that might be better answered on an individual basis. However, my overall answer would be play on a better team and get less playing time. I enjoy practice over a game because that is when the real learning happens and playing with a better team means during practice that player will get better quicker.

Does it help for athletes to have online profiles? (ex: CaptainU, BeRecruited)

I don’t think it’s necessary to have a profile, but it can be helpful. I certainly wouldn’t spend a lot of money on a profile, though.

Is there a minimum SAT/ACT score that must be met to be recruited by Daniel Webster?

Yes and no, we have some highly academic majors where applicants are judged slightly differently than other majors.

Do you look at an athlete’s social media before recruiting them? If so, what do you look for?

I don’t now but have thought about doing it in the future. I do believe that having a good awareness of what one’s social media presents is important, though.  

Is it likely for a player’s position to change once they get to Daniel Webster?

Yes, life doesn’t have any guarantees, and often the best-laid plans can get destroyed. With that in mind, I believe that a player should be ready to step up for the success of the team and that may mean playing a different position due to injuries, etc.

What is your main piece of advice for high school athletes looking to be recruited?

Look for the right schools! Ask yourself some questions that lead you to find the right schools. Those questions may be different for everyone, so think about what is important to you in a school and ask those questions. For instance, is it important to be close to home?  If so, narrow your range down to include only those schools that are close enough to home for you. Once you do your research, include that information in your first email to your potential college coaches.


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Photo courtesy of: Daniel Webster College Athletics