Year after year the competition for softball scholarships grows fiercer. You play for a good team, take batting lessons, fielding lessons, along with speed and strength training, but is that enough? The short answer is no. While having a great skill set is important, if no coaches know who you are then that skill set will not help you when seeking your collegiate path. The coaches of top college softball programs are getting hundreds of emails a week from players who are seeking a future spot on their team, if you are not reaching out to them then they do not know who you are. From a survey of players conducted by FastPitch Scout, they found that the number one recruiting plan was to attend showcase tournaments with hopes of being discovered, the second most common plan was to attend college softball camps. Both of those options are flawed. While going to showcase tournaments and attending camps do have their place in the recruiting process you must first do your prework before attending either one if you hope to be successful. To learn what you need to do visit the What to Expect From a Showcase Tournament and Should I Attend Softball Camps sections.
As you embark on your recruiting journey you need to develop your recruiting plan. This plan should start with asking yourself why you want to attend college, is the reason you are going to play softball and get a basic education, or are you looking to get a great education where you will set yourself up to be successful when you graduate? This is an important question because it will help in determining what schools you should start to reach out to. You may ask why does that matter? For many of the top softball programs you are there to play softball and your education is secondary. As an example, if you are looking at a career in something like nursing, many softball programs would eliminate you as a potential recruit because that career is time demanding and would take away from your softball priorities. Another important item is taking a realistic view of your softball skills, take off the rose color glasses, and take a clear honest view. At what level does your skill level sit. All too often we see players who are adamant that they will only play for one of the top softball programs yet their skill set doesn’t much that level of play. Players with that mentality almost always become part of the 97% of players who do not get recruited. There is no harm in shooting for the top but it should not be your only option.
Once you have a clear view of your educational needs and a realistic view of your skillset you can begin to research schools that meet those needs. There are ~800 colleges with 4-year programs that offer athletic scholarships. Do not get stuck into only reaching out to the “TV” schools. Those schools make up .025% of the scholarship options available to players. If you are looking for a tool that can help with finding schools,FastPitch Scout is a great option. Their program allows easily find and reach out to all schools that give athletic scholarships, along with giving you the ability to research those schools to see if they are a good fit for your educational goals. They will help guide you through the recruiting process and ensure you understand what steps to take to be successful.