SOFTBALL RECRUITING TIPS

If playing college softball is a high priority, there is a place for every athlete. Finding a “good fit” is key for a rewarding college experience.

It is an active pursuit. Understanding the landscape, which is ever changing, can appropriately guide your approach and actions.

The Myths and Rumors – These 5 things are not true

  • If you are good enough to play at the college level, college softball coaches will find you.
  • Only blue chip or elite level softball athletes play at the college level.
  • College coaches don’t want you to contact them.
  • Grades don’t really matter if you are a really good player.
  • I will be recruited if I play for the best Gold Team on all the right fields at the right showcases.

A proactive approach to recruiting will yield optimal results. Optimal results occur when you find a “Good Fit” which has the highest probability of resulting in a rewarding college experience on and off the field. Some important steps to take in order:
1. Know thyself. Understand your after college goals and aspirations, be realistic about your ability and determine priorities.

 

  1. Goals and aspirations – what do you want to study, what to want to be after college, start right away, play a specific position . . .
  2. Be Realistic – am I a D1 player (size, skill, experience, heart, dedication), Am I on the right club team, can I get the exposure I need . . .
  3. Your Priorities – Big School, Private school, Weather, close or far, gender of coach, facilities, costs, top ranked team, football team . . .

Find the Common Space of your Goals, Abilities, Priorities and School’s needs = “Good Fit” or Adjust your Goals & Priorities to match Abilities & School’s needs to find a “Good Fit”

Other factors to help determine the potential for a “Good Fit” include:

 

  • Examine college rosters for athletes like you – size, where they come from (geography & club team)
  • What are the age & position of current players – will they need a player like you?
  • Does the coaches style work for me?
  • Will the coach still be around?
  • Do they really want me – will I be an important part of the program?

Find the Common Space of your Goals, Abilities, Priorities and School’s needs = “Good Fit” or Adjust your Goals & Priorities to match Abilities & School’s needs to find a “Good Fit”

2. Make a plan

 

  1. Make a list of schools (D1, D2, D3, JUCO, NAIA) based on the intersection of your goals, abilities & priorities – cast a wide net. Don’t limit yourself here.
  2. Where should I play club ball – who in your area gets consistent results, who will be my advocates, who do I want to play with during the summer. Athletes should play with and against the same competition they expect to see in college.
  3. What camps should I go to? Face time with coaches on campus or at local camps/clinics can go a long way to help demonstrate interest and getting noticed.
  4. How can I get noticed – communicate, play in the right events on the right teams , attend college camps
  5. How do I continue to improve my game and get the right experiences – work hard away from the field, lessons, play in the right events against the best competition

 

3. Work the plan

 

  1. Be the best athlete/player you can be
  2. Begin to communicate with schools on your list the summer between your 8th and 9th grade years – Cast a wide net.

    1. Letter of introdction
    2. Summer ball schedules
    3. Player profiles – prepare profiles (do not include stats except HR’s & K’s)
    4. Questionnaires – fill them out. Leave what you don’t know blank – it isn’t a test
    5. News paper / internet articles (any sport)

     

     

  3. Be an athlete coaches can honestly promote – be a good student, have a team attitude, be hard working, improve, be coachable, have good supportive parents.
  4. How can I get noticed – communicate, play in the right events on the right teams , attend college camps
  5. Continue to communicate to coaches throughout – once a month, whenever another newspaper article comes out, schedule change, updates to profiles, etc.
  6. Maximize Exposure – play the right tournaments, go to college camps. Exposure = Quality Teams+Quality Competition+College Coaches or College Camp+College Coaches (if you are in the right group of athletes). “Quality” is in the eye of the college coach.
  7. Go watch college softball – observe coaches, talk to players, talk to coaches, understand the challenge and speed of the game
  8. Respond to every school that shows interest or communicates to you until you. Run down all leads until you find a “good fit” and commit. Be honest and open, but relentless.

Some key Dates

  • Early freshman year – Begin to communicate with schools
  • Beginning of sophomore year through fall of junior year – The Big School/D1 recruiting/commitment window
  • Sept. 1, Junior Year – college coaches can communicate directly to athletes (email, not calls)
  • July, 1, Senior Year – communication from coaches is open – they can call (no text messages)

Things to consider…Questions to ask

  • Can I see myself living here for 4+ years?
  • Do I like the coach?
  • The coach might not be the same person that recruited me
  • The coach will not be the same person that recruited me
  • Do I care if my parents can come watch me play?
  • Do I care if I can go watch my kid play?
  • What happens if I get injured before I get to school?
  • What happens if I get injured while I’m at school?
  • What happens if I loose my scholarship?
  • Where will I live? Year 1, Years 2-?
  • Potential Red Shirt?
  • How many athletes who got scholarship finished 4/5 years?
  • If you are getting academic aid (out of state tuition waived), what GPA do I have to maintain to keep it?
  • Who will be my roommate?

More Specific Myths and Rumors . . . none of these are true

  • So and so said that they are moving faster and faster
  • I should have a video on the internet of my kid for recruiting as a 9th or 10th grader
  • I have to be on the field to get recruited
  • If I mess up while coaches are watching they won’t recruit me
  • My coach will get me a scholarship

Playing at the right level is important – don’t rush to get exposure before ready

References

Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level (Cathy Aradi)
www.athleticscholarships.net
www.fastpitchrecruiting.com
www.nfca.org
NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly NCAA Clearing House)

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