Softball Factory is privileged to work with programs from every level of college softball. We strive to educate and guide our players when it comes to choosing the right school. The more information a player knows about a school, coach and program, the better. Recently, our staff interviewed Ricci Woodard, the head coach at Texas State University. From the recruiting process to her use of video to the new facility, Coach Woodard gave some insight into the outstanding program she’s developed in San Marcos, Texas.
How long have you been coaching? How long at Texas State University?
I coached five years of High School softball and four years as an Assistant Coach at the University of Oregon. This is my 11th year at Texas State University as Head Coach of the program.
Who are some of your mentors or coaches that you look up to and why?
I really look up to coaches that think in the long term and have built from the ground up. To me it is important to build a strong, lasting program. Mike Candrea of University of Arizona and Pat Murphy of Alabama are two coaches I look up to because of their success in the long term.
What is the first thing about your school that you’d want a recruit to know about?
Texas State University is a big university in a small town, and at times people forget that. We have over 30,000 students here. Academics are not easy, and we expect our players to do their best on and off the field. Being a good student is what comes first in our program.
Tell us about your new facility? How does it compare to others in your conference?
We by far have the best facility in our conference, and when we move conferences in two years I still think that our facility will be at the top. The facility holds 1,700 people and 400 of the seats are now chair backs. A third of the seats are covered and we added two box suites. New batting cages were added as well.
How has video helped you in the recruiting process?
I think video has created a basis for us to start the recruiting process. It creates the first impression to start with, and if we see what we like then we go watch the player [in person].
When do you start seriously looking at a player during the recruiting process?
We look about two years out as a program. As of right now, we have finished our recruiting for 2012 and have some of the 2013 recruits committed. Summer is when we do a lot of recruiting, and then we try to bring our prospective players to the campus in the fall.
Do you recruit from Junior Colleges?
I have recruited from Junior Colleges. We have had about four or five players come from Temple Junior College, which is only about two and a half hours away. Most of our recruiting comes from players out of Texas, since there is a great amount of talent.
Can you break down your fall practice schedule? What do you try to accomplish?
In the fall we do about four to five weeks of individuals at about two hours each week. After these weeks are over we mix in team practices, individuals, and play about eight ball games. Our goal at this point is to make sure we have all of the fundamentals down and gage where we think we are going to be in January.
Do you have a strength and conditioning coach?
Yes, we do have a coach devoted to the strength and conditioning of the players.
With everything that has changed with baseball bats, what is your stance on how softball bats affect the game today?
This is a really interesting topic in the softball world right now. At the end of the season there will be mandatory bat testing and I think that if the bats are hot we will see changes. On the other hand, if the bats are just so-so I think that rules will stay the same for now.
Are there any big games or trips that stand out in your schedule for next year?
We have a trip to Arizona State planned. They are ranked as number one, so the trip will prove to be a great challenge for us as a team.