Things Coaches Look For at Softball Camps and Showcases



By Jason Smith, Head NCSA Recruiting Coach

What exactly is a college coach looking for at a softball camp? What’s on their to-do list at a showcase?

In-person evaluation is a key step in the college softball recruiting process. Coaches travel all over the country to gauge prospects in person at recruiting camps, showcases and tournaments. While every coach has a unique recruiting method, most attend these events with four main goals in mind. So, what are coaches really up to at a recruiting event?

Scouting softball players who contacted them in advance

Just like the real world, people skills and good communication can pay off in your softball recruitment process. A recruiting event can draw hundreds or even thousands of prospects to one place. To spend their time as efficiently as possible, softball coaches often arrive with a pre-planned schedule, ready to check out athletes who reached out ahead of time.  Even before softball recruiting season officially begins, most coaches still read emails from potential recruits. Before the camp or showcase, research coaches’ contact info and shoot them a brief, attention-grabbing email to introduce yourself. Consider a call or a tweet to cover your bases.  Reaching out ahead of time is always a smart move.

Read more: How to Email College Coaches

Tracking as many softball players as they can

During peak recruiting season, softball coaches often spend eight-hour days scouting and watching games, sometimes several days or weekends in a row. They’re constantly on the road. Regional and national showcases, camps and tournaments make life easier for coaches. Coaches are able to observe hundreds of softball players in one place. On the flip side for recruits, it’s difficult to stand out in this kind of hectic environment. While coaches are always on the lookout for student-athletes showing signs of next-level talent, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Always remember–goods impressions are made both on and off the field. Make sure to introduce yourself to coaches in person. Be confident–don’t send your parents to do the job for you!

Looking for coachable softball players

In addition to evaluating on-field performance, college softball coaches are looking for players who are coachable. They’re not only watching the game—they’re also observing the sidelines and watching you interact with your teammates, opponents, coaching staff and parents. As an athlete, what is your game-day attitude? Are you high-fiving and supporting your teammates? How did you react when the coach pulled you out of the game? Are you still paying attention to the game when you’re on the sidelines? Do you look like you’re having fun and displaying proper fundamentals, or are you pouting and getting frustrated at the plate and on the field? Coaches are looking for student-athletes who listen and engage, show passion for their sport and have a positive influence on their team.

Hoping to find softball players flying under the radar

While every coach has a shortlist of top prospects they hope to recruit, they don’t expect to convince every athletes on their list to commit. Coaches need to fill a roster. This means they need to discover new softball players to extend their shortlist.

Coaches are on the lookout for athletes who can thrive in their unique culture. They’re looking for athletes who play well with others and improve the team. Always endeavor to play the right way, support teammates and exhibit class and a level of maturity. While coaches are busy scouting specific players, they always have one eye open. Put in the extra effort and you could end up grabbing the attention of a coach. And you know what’s a great way to show extra effort? Following up with coaches after the event. Share what you learned at the softball recruiting event and showcase your enthusiasm. It just might be enough to win over a coach!

Read more: The Ins and Outs of Camps, Combines and Other Events

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