Meredith Nelles | Assistant Coach | Softball | Binghamton University

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

Our program is looking for student-athletes that are coachable and self-motivated. We find it extremely important that student-athletes be able to listen and watch instruction and then implement adjustments based on what they have been taught. Athletes that are coachable are good listeners, ask questions, and are willing to try new things even if they are uncomfortable. These students understand that the sports world is always changing and the way they know how to do things, may not be the best way to do it anymore. This type of player not only is successful in our program, but would be successful in any program, which would transfer over to the work world. We find it important to possess qualities as a student-athlete in college, that will transfer over to the real world upon graduation. Secondly, we look for student-athletes that are self-motivated. It is very difficult as a coach, even as a coaching staff to be the type of coach that can reach each of their players. Some coaches are constantly on a high and some coaches are always even-keeled. We look for a student athlete that feeds off of self-motivation to do well, so they do not have to rely on someone else’s emotions to jump start their best instructional or playing level. These types of students are not only self-motivated as practice, but they work out additionally on their own. These student-athletes also get it done in the classroom, without having to be monitored each step of the way. Self-motivated people, are important to our program, because they care about the team’s success over their own success. They know that what they do on their own is a benefit not just to themselves, but to the entire team.

Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled? 

I currently have a player that has greatly exceeded my expectations. We voted on team captains at the beginning of the year. This person was not voted as a team captain, and we appointed the 4 players who were. Now that we are halfway through the season, it is apparent to the entire team, that we are lacking leadership. Over the past few weeks, this person – who was not voted a captain, has stepped into a natural role of a leader. Although, she does not have the title of captain, she is performing duties that a typical captain would name. The team overall has difficulty holding each other to high standards, for fear that the other member’s of the team will take the constructive criticism for not reaching these standards as dislike and a personal attack. This one member of the team, has set high expectations for our team, and holds each member accountable. I am so taken aback by this particular student-athlete because she noticed the need for someone to lead on our team, and it means enough to her to be that person. She doesn’t need the credit, but she wants the reward of what the accountability will produce for our teams success.