If you're an aspiring college softball player, you are faced with one or two different problems about your pursuit?
1) TOO MUCH HELP
2) NO IDEA WHERE TO START
This post is intended to help you with both. I want to streamline the process for you (cut out all of the bull) by focusing you on what's important.
1: HAVE A PREFERENCE - Make a list!
It's not enough to just say, "Oh, I want to play college softball."
Know where you want to play - why you want to play there - what they have to offer you and not just what you have to offer them.
Your list should be of at least a half dozen schools and ideally it should be bigger.
Don't relegate yourself to a certain division or level of play.
Have some geographic flexibility.
Approach the process with an OPEN MIND.
2. UNDERSTAND THE COMMITMENT - How much do you really love the game?
Okay, you've been playing softball every weekend for as long as you remember - YOU LOVE IT. But ask yourself - "just how much?"
The majority of softball athletes playing beyond high school relate their experience to having a job. You will have responsibilities, schedules, and consequences for poor decisions.
So, ask yourself, "Is this what I want?"
I hope the answer is YES - but this whole thing gets easier, if you have the right approach and know what you're getting into.
3. IT'S GOTTA BE THE SCHOOL - Do Not - I repeat - Do Not choose a school based solely on the coach.
So, Coach T understands you, she's cool, she get's it. That's great - BUT - Coach T is an employee of the University. Coach T may lose her job. Coach T may take another job. Coach T is NOT the reason for you to choose a school.
The point is, coaches come and they go. Can you be happy with the school, what it offers you, and how you fit in with the campus - even if Coach T isn't there?
4. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SOFTBALL? For most, you'll need to find a J-O-B.
So, you love the coach, love the school, it's in a beautiful location, you have friends there, and you even love the team colors - HOWEVER - it doesn't offer you a field of study.
You'll spend the majority of your life, if you live an averagely-long life, doing something other than playing softball. There will be bills to pay, you'll need other pursuits to help pay those bills.
What do you want to be when you grow up? And, how can the school you choose, help you be that.
5. PLAYING TIME - Who wants to park it on the bench for four years?
Be REALISTIC - understand your skill level - understand your potential to play.
It's GREAT to believe in yourself. Just make sure the coach is going to believe in you as well. Like most competitors, you want to play. You don't want to do months of 6 a.m. workouts, mandatory study halls, and 20 hours of practice each week, just to watch everyone else play. Then, when YOU think your time might arrive, the coaches have recruited a PGF All-American to play your spot.
Playing Time has to be a consideration.
6. MONEY - MONEY - MONEY - How much is this going to cost you and your family!?
If you've dreamed of playing college softball and have aspirations of doing so on a full-ride scholarship, you're truly just dreaming!
ALMOST every individual on any given NCAA D-I or D-II roster is on a partial scholarship.
Each NCAA DI program can offer up to 12 scholarships per team, while DII programs have up to 7.2, NAIA programs have 10 scholarships and fully funded NJCAA Softball teams have 24 scholarships per team. NCAA D-III - do not offer athletic scholarships.
Divide the total number of scholarships by the roster and you'll understand how the money is allocated. And, it's not a fair and balanced system. Pitchers will get more than other positions.
In closing, know that there are 286 NCAA DI programs, 264 NCAA DII, 392 NCAA DIII, 205 NAIA and 470 NJCAA softball programs in the United States.
THERE IS A PLACE FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE who wants to play. Keep these simple and practical ideas in mind when making your choice.
If you found this post helpful please share it with others!
All the Best, Jerrad