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How to get recruited for women’s college softball

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For a chance to compete at one of the over 1,000 four-year institutions that offer college softball, you’ll need to first know how to properly manage your recruiting process. You may think you understand the college recruiting process, but do you know how to research prospective schools, when college coaches can contact you, what college coaches look for in recruits, when to schedule unofficial and official college visits or the details of the NCAA eligibility center?

These are just a few of the things that you and your family need to understand as you enter the recruiting process. To help answer these questions, NCSA experts have created a complete guide to college softball recruiting.

NCAA Softball Recruiting Rules and Calendar

In 2017, the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) conducted a study on student-athlete’s recruiting experience. The study found that early recruiting had become prevalent in college softball, with 78 percent of recruits reporting their first recruiting communication occurred before junior year. To prevent the further growth of early recruiting, the NCAA released new recruiting rules in May 2019 that prohibit communication between college coaches and student-athletes until September 1 of the recruit’s junior year.

To review a comprehensive list of the new NCAA recruiting rules across each division level, visit our guide to the NCAA softball recruiting rules and calendar. 

Softball Recruiting Guidelines

Talent at the Division 1 level is so high, that very few high school softball players make the cut. Those that do earn a roster spot on one of these teams are considered the best players in the country. When evaluating potential recruits, Division 1 coaches typically look for athletes that have three to four years of high school varsity experience, with at least 2 years as a starter and four to five years of high-level travel ball experience.

But college coaches look for more than just playing experience. Visit our softball recruiting guidelines to see what softball measurables coaches look for in recruits in each position across all division levels.

The Recruiting Process

Don’t wait until September 1 of your junior year to start the recruiting process. While college coaches are scouting potential recruits prior to the start of the NCAA contact period, you can take the following steps to kickstart their recruiting process:

  • Research softball programs: There are more than 1,500 college softball teams spanning five different division levels: NCAA Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA and NJCAA. Identifying which programs you are most interested in the best fits your academic, athletic, financial and social needs.
  • Build a recruiting profile: College coaches start their recruiting process by searching for prospective athletes on recruiting databases, like NCSA. Build a strong recruiting profile with relevant stats and a recruiting video that coaches can review while searching NCSA network of softball athletes. Create your free NCSA recruiting profile here,
  • Create a recruiting video: College coaches don’t have the budget to travel across the country to watch recruits compete. As a result, the first time a college coach will see you compete is likely while watching your recruiting video online. When creating a recruiting video, be sure to include highlights of the position-specific skills outlined in NCSA’s softball recruiting guidelines. Learn how to create and share your video.
  • Attend field hockey camps: To increase your access and exposure to college coaches, attend clinics, camps or showcases where college coaches will be present. Find a softball camp near you.
  • Contact college coaches: Reach out to coaches at your prospective schools to introduce yourself and express interest in the program. While coaches can’t respond until after September 1 of your junior year, it’s important to be proactive and get on the coach’s radar. Learn how to write an introductory email.

Read more: How to Get Recruited for Softball.

Scholarship Opportunities

As an NCAA equivalency sport, fully funded Division 1 and Division 2 college softball teams are allotted 12 and 7.2 full-ride equivalent scholarships, respectively. When a program is not fully funded, college coaches must find a way to stretch their smaller scholarship budgets. In these cases, most coaches will resort to awarding partial scholarships, rather than full rides. Student-athletes who receive a partial athletic scholarship are able to combine alternative forms of financial aid to cover costs.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know about Softball Scholarships.

Top Ranked Women’s Softball Colleges

When your researching prospective colleges, your looking for a school that meets all of your athletic, academic, social and financial needs. To make this search easier on you and your family, NCSA developed an annual Power Rankings list that ranks the top colleges and universities with softball programs based on factors, such as cost, size, location and academics. View a complete list of colleges offering softball.

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