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Middle School Spring Development Program    
     
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Jack City is pleased to announce the expansion of the Spring Development and College Exposure Program into the Middle School age division for the Spring 2014 season.    
     
After receiving repeated requests to include younger players in the Sprng Program, Jack City staff decided to build upon the success of the past two high school spring seasons and expand the program. The primary emphasis of the MIddle School Spring Program will be player skill development. Although players of this age do not need the College Exposure aspect of the High School division, we will incorporate many of the exposure aspects of the older divsion to provide young players with a solid foundation and a head start into the recruiting process. Additionally, athletes participating in the Middle School progarm will be given priority for selection to the HIgh School Program when they enter high school. In each of the past two years, we have had more than 200 high school aged players apply for 40 roster spots.    
     
The Spring Progam season will begin with off season workouts in January and conclude when the normal middle school season ends (last week of April or first week of May) so players may begin play with their regular travel teams. Practices and workouts will be held in Smyrna, Lavergne, and/or Murfreesboro. Tournament locations will be determined by strength of competition. Because there are a number of middle schools in Tennessee without softball teams, there are often a variety of tournaments throughout the mid-state with suitable levels of competition. There are also strong tournaments of interest in North Georgia (Dalton, Ringgold, Calhoun) and Chattanooga as Georgia plays school ball in the fall and travel ball takes place in the spring in Georgia. The vast majority of the Georgia spring tournaments are Saturday only events which eliminates hotel costs and draw strong levels of competition.    
     
The purpose of all Jack City Programs is:
1. Train and develop players to prepare them to be seen and evaluated by college coaches
2. Use every available tool to allow them to be seen by college coaches
3. Sell their abilities to college coaches
4. Train players so they are able to be successful once they get to college
   
     
The primary goal in the Middle School Program will be to provide the first of those - Train and develop players to prepare them to be seen and evaluated by college coaches. The college recruitng world has changed dramatically in recent years. Coaches are now commonly evaluating and recruiting players as young as 8th and 9th graders. Unfortunately, many talented players are being overlooked early in their careers simply because they have not experienced advanced levels of player development. Our programs are designed to make sure that does not happen.    
     
Advanced Skill Development Emphasis    
     
Players will be provided advanced training within a competitive environment designed to allow each participant to maximize her potential on the field. Practice and training sessions will be conducted in a variety of ways, including clinic style practices, individual and small group sessions, specific position skill sessions, situational sessions, film sessions, and controlled scrimmages. Every effort will be made to simulate the environment surrounding the top collegiate programs in the country. Significant effort will be made to develop field presence and knowledge of the game.    
     
We have carefully selected a specific, limited number of participants, including a position based break down, to insure that every player is provided with the highest levels of attention, coaching, and training in addition to receiving maximized playing time. Tournament rosters are designed to insure that every player receives the maximum amount of playing time during games. It is difficult and at times impossible to develop players effectively who are sitting on the bench during tournament play.    
     
College Exposure Emphasis    
     
One of the primary purposes of the HIgh Spring Program is to provide as much college exposure as possible and to promote participants to college coaches. In a highly competitive environment for limited scholarship dollars, exposure and promotion involves far more than showing up to play at exposure tournaments. Extremely talented players fall through the cracks every year, going unrecruited or underrecruited.    
     
Although the need for college exposure is not as urgent for middle school players, each Middle School Program participant will be able to benefit from the HIgh School Division exposure emphasis. They will be able to attend all recruiting seminars and planning sessions and will be included in the online player profile and skills video aspects of the program. They will also benefit greatly from being exposed to the players and parents of girls who have been and are going through the recruiting process.    
     
Participation in the Spring Program in no way guarantees or implies that any player will receive a college scholarship. No Jack City representative has or will guarantee a scholarship to anyone. However, we do have a strong belief that our knowledge, experience, cultivated relationships with coaches, and past success in effectively promoting college prospects coupled with the comprehensive recruitment program we have incorporated into the Spring Program will greatly improve the opportunities to be recruited and greatly enhance the likelihood of success.    
     
On Demand Game Video Broadcasts   High School games, both local and tournament, will be recorded and broadcast, both streaming and on demand, and will be available online to college coaches 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We already have a significant number of coaches who are currently accessing game videos of several travel teams, and we have successfully increased the list of coaches each month throughout the summer season. We also broadcast several Middle School games in the 2014 season.
     
Player Skills Videos   We will video, edit, and produce an effective Skills Video for each participant. While there is no additional cost for our players, skills video packages typically range from $250 to $800. Skills videos will be sent to college coaches and available for view on each player's Player Profile Web Site
     
Online Player Profile Web Site   Each player will have her own personalized Player Profile Web Site. These sites are available for review by college coaches and may be edited updated by players and parents free of charge at any time. Printable and electronic profile sheets will be available for distribution at exposure events and in direct marketing efforts by the staff.
     
Comprehensive Web Site   A comprehensive recruiting web site modeling professional sports sites such as Major League Baseball providing player news, accomplishments, statistics, game broadcasts, feature stories, player spotlights, game highlights, weekly coach's webcast shows, and other items designed to promote participants to college coaches has been developed.
     
Coach's WebCast   Regular WebCasts featuring individual players will be broadcast throughout the season and available at any time on demand. The emphasis of the Coach's WebCast will be to highlight specific players and their accomplishments.
     
Video Highlight Reels   Extraordinary plays, impressive rallies, clutch performances will be edited into highlight reels designed to catch the attention of college coaches and published regularly on the web site.
     
Direct Promotion to College Coaches   Over the years, our success in promoting players has come through direct contact with college coaches - phone calls, email, newsletters, and in-person conversations. We will continue to do all of these things for each participant, including regular updates sent directly to college coaches through "mini-newsletters" to promote our players, to allow coaches to become familiar with them, and to constantly keep our players on the front burners.
     
Recruiting Seminar and Guidance   Parents and players will be able to attend recruiting seminars free of charge. Regular guidance and assistance will be provided to all players to enhance their abilities to market themselves properly and effectively to college coaches.
   
     
Frequently Asked Questions    
     
Q: Are you making any guarantees that players will receive college scholarships?    
A: Absolutely not. We conduct several recruiting seminars every year for parents and players. Within the first few minutes of every seminar, we stress that the only person who can guaranttee a college athletic scholarship is a college coach who provides a player with a National Letter of Intent or formal scholarship offer. We routinely warn players about travel coaches who make guarantees about scholarships in order to recruit players onto their teams. At no time has any Jack City representative made any guarantee about the receipt of a college scholarship for any player, and at no time in the future will any Jack City representative make such a guarantee.    
     
Q: Are you doing this to "ruin" middle school softball    
A: Absolutely not. The program is limited to a relatively small number of players. That amounts to a very small fraction of the thousands of players who participate in middle school softball across the state. Any one of a dozen recreational leagues throughout middle Tennessee have far more middle school eligible players participating in their leagues during the spring season.A number of middle schools do not have softball teams. This program allows those players to participate in a quality program while many of their travel team teammates are playing in the spring. Other players need more than what their school is able to offer to them through their middle school teams. Middle school softball is a wonderful experience for many student-athletes and school ball meets their needs and expectations. We fully support school athletics but understand that there are some players who need or desire something different than what is currently being offered to them. We are simply offering an alternative to a very small number of players who believe that they need something different than what is currently offered to them.    
     

Q: Why is this program during the spring instead of summer or fall?

   
A: We seriously considered summer and fall programs. During those seasons, however, players have a plethora of options available to them. There are literally hundreds of travel teams throughout the area and state playing during the summer and fall. Players have the option of playing with teams from other states. Many of those teams make college exposure a high priority. Many of those teams do an outstanding job developing players. While there may be many travel teams which are not very good options, there are more than enough viable alternatives for players seeking something more. Many players are fortunate enough to be zoned to a school with outstanding coaches who do a great job of developing their players and work hard to provide them with recognition. Some, however, are by rule locked into a school program where those aspects are not present. Their options are extremely limited, and they have no control over their situation. They are either forced to participate in a program where they believe their needs as a student-athlete are not being met or take the entire spring off, neither of which are beneficial. The Spring Program provides these players with a viable alternative that doesn't require families to sell their homes and move into another school zone. .    
     
What is the cost?    
We will keep the player fee as low as possible. No Jack City program is designed to be a "money maker." We take the total cost (tournament fees, insurance, uniforms, sanctioning fees, and balls) and divide it by the number of players to arrive at the total per player cost. Without the additional video and server storage costs for video necessary in the High School Program, the cost will be significantly less for the Middle School Program, and will be approximately the same as moderate travel team fees. We have made every effort to make this affordable as possible and are continuing to pursue some sponsorships to further reduce the costs. We will also provide some fund raising opportunities and payment schedules to assist players if families are interested. We are planning to roll out an easy, but effective, fund raising opportunity in September designed to offset or completely eliminate all player fees.    
     
Q: You won't guarantee scholarships. Are there things you will guarantee?
A: We are willing to make a number of guarantees:
   
  • We will guarantee a consistent and concentrated emphasis upon developing advanced individual skills and a thorough knowledge of the game for EVERY player. We strongly believe that each player who participates and puts forth a reasonable amount of effort will progress significantly throughout the season and become a much better player. Every player will get the same number of repetitions and same amount of attention in practices, games, and pre-game warmup, regardless if they are the strongest or weakest player in the program.

  • We will guarantee that EVERY player will be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. Your daughter will never be subjected to obscenities, much less ones aimed at them. She will never experience being grabbed or yanked by her face mask or any other piece of equipment. She will not be subjected to clipboards or other objects being thrown or broken in fits of rage. She won't be yanked in the middle of an inning and forced into a perp walk to the dugout simply because she made an error.When she makes a mistake, she already knows it. She doesn't need to be told she made a mistake orhow or how badly it hurt the team. She already knows that. She needs to be taught how to avoid making that mistake again.

  • We will guarantee that we will not try to control anything beyond what happens on the field. We will not attempt to control yuur choice of travel teams. We will not tell you who you can and cannot use as a pitching, catching, or hitting instructor. We will not attempt to change what the instructor you have selected and are paying to develop your skills is teaching you. In fact, we make a point of knowing what various instructors are teaching so we can support that training without confusing players by introducing concepts that run counter to what they are being taught in their weekly lessons. Conducting drills at practice to force rotational hitters to take the knob to the ball, wristing, downward angle swings, and other linear style mechanics is not only counterproductive, it has a devastating impact upon hitters.

  • We will guarantee that our schedule for practices and games will be more appropriate for middle school student-athletes, providing far more time for studying, doing homework, and participating in school, church, and other social activities. Being on the field four or more hours a day, six and seven days a week is counterproductive for most athletes. It brings on fatigue. It increases the chances of serious injuries. It has a negative impact upon school work and grades. It leaves no life outside of softball. We will get on the field, aggressively take care of business without any standing around or wasted time, and go home. Practices will be 90 minutes to two hours, and we will get more done than most do in several weeks of four hour practices combined. Off days during the week will allow them to rest, recover, and have a life.

  • We will guarantee that politics, daddy ball, and favoritism will not be present within the Spring Program. We have designed the program to provide every player with equal benefits and to eliminate time spent on the bench. If they aren't getting repetitions in practices and playing in games, they won't improve. We have even set up some checks and balances to eliminate subjective judgment. For example, we have developed a specific formula based upon performance and results to determine the batting order for each game.

  • We will guarantee that the coaching approach will be entirely focused upon bringing about success through training and building your daughter's confidence. We don't believe that "breaking" young athletes down, or humiliating and embarrassing them has any value in the development of their athletic abilities. Through years of experience we have learned that confidence brings success... which brings more confidence... which brings more success. Our philosophy is to teach them to do things properly and effectively and provide the support and confidence to allow them to believe that they are capable of accomplishing those things. When those things happen, a player's ability to successfully execute is significantly increased.
   
     
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Jack City Softball