The recruiting process can be confusing and the landscape is constantly changing. The information and links provided below are to help you navigate this ever-changing process and answer a lot of your recruiting questions.
The recruiting process continues to start earlier and earlier each year, but keep in mind – it is never too early or too late to pursue your dreams. Being realistic in the programs you pursue, achieving and maintaining the best academics possible, and exploring all options before making a decision – are the most vital things to keep in mind as you go through the softball recruiting process.
The answer to this truly comes down to you and your family's financial situation and what is to gain from walking on. Most invitational walk ons in college softball are based on the premise that the athlete will be 100% responsible for covering their tuition until their junior and sometimes senior year. Most will agree that it is better to find a program that will invest athletic money in you - be it 10% or 20%. Their investment will motivate you as an athlete to make a stronger connection and grow deeper into their program and coaching philosophy. The walk on option again, is one that is individually specific and should be heavily discussed between the athlete, parents, and the coach.
Since the high school softball season overlaps the college softball season, and with diminishing recruiting budgets at the collegiate level, travel softball serves as an easier means for college coaches to see more prospects that they need to evaluate at one ballpark on one weekend. In addition to this, the travel tournament is more likely to close the higher levels of talent, and for the most part, will be constructed of girls who have tried out and made this team as well as spent more time in developing and polishing their skills. In addition to this, if a coach only has a particular number of recruiting days to use, he or she will be better served in visiting a travel tournament where several upper-talent athletes can be evaluated at one time.
A sometimes controversial topic, but it comes down to personal decisions. If playing high school softball could potentially be a detriment to your performance, academics, or your recruiting, then you, your coaches, and your parents, need to sit down and analyze the situation in order to determine what is going to be the best for you.
Most will agree that you should register with the NCAA and NAIA clearinghouses at the beginning of your Freshman year, after receiving your first report card.
With softball being such an under funded sport, the student must come before the athlete. With 24 to 28 softball athletes on the college roster - and at the NCAA Division I level there only being 12 athletic scholarships to go around, not to mention less scholarships athletically to go around at the other divisions - academics serve as a primary source of tuition funding. Not to mention that some universities have higher minimum GPA and ACT scores for admittance. In addition to that, academics are 100% necessary in order to make the NCAA sliding scale academic requirements. Needless to say, academics are more than half the battle when it comes to college softball recruiting.
Depending on the college softball coach, size may or may not. It's not one factor of the athlete that is a deal breaker for the college softball coach, it's the overall combination of factors of what does this athlete bring to the table that can benefit me and my program. Size on certain positions are obviously appealing. However, an undersized athlete may also be a record-setting sprinter with a strong, accurate arm, therefore her size still matters but not in the fashion many would assume. The important thing to keep in mind is if size is one of your strengths, this is definitely something you want to portray to the coach. However if size is not one of your primary selling points, the size does not necessarily matter.
While growing up, playing multiple sports increases athleticism. However, playing multiple sports after the ninth grade has the chance to interfere with your softball showcasing and thus interfere with your recruiting. This is easily one of our most asked questions, and it merits a very important discussion between you, your parents, and your coaches.
It's never too early or too late to begin the college softball recruiting process. However there are particular elements of the athlete that must be present which indicates she's ready to begin the college softball recruiting process. Contrary to common belief, and athlete's maturity is the most important element necessary for her to begin the college softball recruiting process. In young athletes, it often supersedes talent or ability.
If you look at the numbers - considering an average of 25 girls on a college softball roster - rounding down to 1,600 college softball programs. That alone tells you that 40,000 girls at any given time get to play college softball. This is, of course, an average not to include other factors such as some programs carrying 28 or 23, or that some NAIA programs are beginning to carry a JV program. However, the most important number to remember is 2%. Only 2 to 3% of high school softball athletes get to play college softball.
There are many factors that go into developing a successful softball pitcher. In evaluating pictures, the personality, likes, and dislikes of each college coach will come into play. Some coaches look for high, some coaches look for speed, mechanics and leg drive, some will look for movement and command, some are most concerned with spins, and in reality some are looking for a variety and combination of all of those elements. The most important thing to remember is just because one coach says that you don't fit what he or she is looking for, doesn't mean the next coach won't feel like you're perfect fit for what he or she is looking for.
Because of contact rules and guidelines, college softball coaches must rely on you to be proactive in contacting them. How you go about contacting these coaches can be a large factor in the end result of your recruiting being a success or failure; using a combination of phone calls and emails, but understanding due to your graduation year that the college softball coach may not be able to respond.
This is a very controversial topic. However, until there is a rule enforced, it still comes down to personal belief and safety. The main thing to understand with wearing a mask at third base, first base, or as a pitcher, is although it may be something you've always worn and feel comfortable with, there's always a possibility that this coach or that will not like it. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that there may be a coach who is recruiting you that wants you to play without a mask. But if removing the mask is something you're not comfortable with doing, this coach and you may need to have that conversation and if not seeing eye to eye, this may not be the program for you.
Almost 100% of the time, a softball athlete will NOT receive a 100% athletic offer. In most cases, when a softball athlete receives 100% tuition, this is the case of a particular percentage being covered by an athletic offer, academic money, as well as other grants, if possible. Depending on the division - whether the program is fully funded and many other factors - a standard athletic offer for a softball scholarship could include anywhere from 10% to 60% athletic. The remainder of tuition is covered by a academics, packaging, or stacking if the university allows.