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The Basics of Softball Scholarship Recruiting
There are over 1,600 NCAA softball programs throughout the country, 280+ at Division I, 260+ at Division II, 390+ at Division III, 200+ at NAIA, and 470+ at the NJCAA level.
The softball scholarships available per team at each level are: 12 at Division I, 7 at Division II, 10 at NAIA, and 24 at the NJCAA. All of these allowances are subject to any changes by the NCAA or the individual programs. Softball is an equivalency sport which means that the coach can divide the scholarships available to as many players as they see fit.
Play up your position; be aware of the school’s roster when you are talking to a coach. If you find a program that will have a need for your position, make sure you target that school and work with the coach to determine the best opportunity for you. This is a consideration for all sports and student athletes not just softball players.
Dominate Your Position
While college softball coaches like to see well-rounded athletes who are flexible enough to play multiple positions if needed, it is really important for high school athletes to concentrate on a specific position if they want a better chance of being recruited.
Players at this position need to be consistent behind the plate and strong at the bat. Catchers need to have continued stability, and be able to work with the pitching staff while also contributing to the offense. A college coach may have 2 or 3 girls for this position, so it will be important to be flexible and play at multiple spots.
This position often dominates a team’s roster, so it will be important to be able to find a program where you will be able to play and contribute right away. These players need to be quick and able to get on base. Middle infielders should be able to bat in multiple spots in the lineup, and bring strength in their bat at all times. They should also be mastered in the essential skills needed to cover that position on the field.
To play either of these positions, you need to have good hands and great fielding abilities. First bases players generally tend to have strong at-bats but may not be a great all-around player. Third base players are strong, flexible and have a strong bat. They have one of the most demanding positions and need to be able to handle college level play.
This is one of the positions that you can expect to earn a scholarship if you’re good. College coaches are always looking for another dominate pitcher to bring to their squad since pitchers can, and often do, carry their team at the most crucial times.
Playing with Club Teams
One major advantage of being on a softball travel team is the fact that you play a higher level of the game and attend more tournaments. This means that college coaches have a better opportunity to see you play. But, coaches won’t see you unless you have made contact with them first. Coaches only travel to tournaments to see athletes they are interested in, not find them randomly. That’s why being proactive and contacting coaches is such a crucial part of the softball scholarship recruiting process.
Every athlete must register with NCAA Clearinghouse