What’s your plan?
Whether it’s showcases, recruiting camps, or talent combines make sure you know the secret to getting a softball scholarship.
If you’re like most softball players out there, then you’re dying to get a college softball scholarship. No doubt, you’re playing both school and travelball, playing fall, spring and summer softball as well as hoping your team goes to as many showcases as possible. And the reason for all this non-stop softball is for as many college coaches as possible to see you play.
All that sounds great! It seems like a great plan – your goal is to get a college scholarship so you practice and play softball as much as possible and then you hope or assume someone will see you play and give you an offer. If this sounds like you then you’re not alone. In fact, right now, as you’re reading this article, hundreds of thousands of young girls, just like you are reading and thinking the exact same thing.
So what can you do to make sure you’re the one that the college coaches want? What’s the secret? Fortunately, there is something you can do to almost guarantee that a college coach will want YOU to play on their college softball team. That “something” is to answer this one, simple question: “WHY YOU?” That’s it, that one little question can be the difference between you playing college softball and simply going to college, between knowing early where you’re going to go or sweating it out until the very last minute.
Being able to answer Why You? will make a huge difference in your future and here’s why. As a softball player you naturally are concerned about YOU. You spend your time worrying about your friends, your grades, your family, your team, your teammates, your softball, etc… Your thoughts all revolve around you. I don’t mean that in a selfish way, you’re a softball player and it’s only natural for players to think first about themselves. In fact, in order to be a good teammate, or sister or daughter or student you need to think about yourself, about your actions, about your behavior and about your comments. All these things will of course impact others and being a good person you certainly care about others, but you’ve got to first be responsible for your own behaviors and actions. So basically what I’m saying is – as a player it’s natural that your thoughts are about your future – specifically your softball and educational future.
Now, let’s look at this softball scholarship issue from the college coach’s point of view. As a coach, she/he is responsible for others. Their first thought is about their team, what their current team needs to improve on, and what players they need in the future to make their team better. So players are thinking about softball from one perspective while coaches think about it from quite another.
Now let’s go back to our important question – Why You? The reason this question is so important to your college softball future is because colleges usually have rosters of 17-19 players but on any one year, coaches only need about 5 to 8 new recruits. Only 5 to 8 players, and they can get them from ANYWHERE in the world! 5 to 8 players from anywhere in the world! So the question they are always asking themselves, whenever they go out recruiting is – Why Her? Why You? So the more answers you can come up with the more likely a coach has no choice but to pick YOU.
Let’s look at some things that are very important to college coaches when deciding which select few players are special enough to become a part of their team. Let’s look at Why You:
- Are You a Good Enough Student?
- Remember that you want to be a “college” softball player so grades matter. You don’t have to be Einstein but you do have to be able to get into their particular school and also show the coach that you have the discipline to do the things that you might not like doing, but know you need to do.
- Remember – that LONG after your softball career is over the education that you received will turn into a fabulous career for you…or not. Go after that house and car and career of your dreams by taking advantage of your educational opportunities that softball might be able to provide you!
- Are You a Good Enough Teammate?
- Coaches watch how you interact with your teammates and coaches and if you give an attitude to your current coaches they know you’ll try to give them an attitude so they move to another field. Coaches don’t want backtalk, they want results. They don’t want attitude, they want desire. They don’t want pouting, they want improvement. Coaches see what you’ll be in the future by what they see you being right now.
- Same goes for how you treat your teammates, and not just when you’re playing good, but especially when you make a mistake. How you handle adversity is what a college coach really pays attention to.
- Are You a Good Enough Daughter?
- Believe it or not, how you talk to and treat your parents is a HUGE deal to college coaches when they’re out recruiting. They watch and listen to see if you boss your parents around telling them to go get you a Coke, or do you say “please” and “thank you”. Attitude matters and again, if you treat your own parents this way you’re telling a college coach that you’ll probably treat them the same way, and they don’t want that behavior on their team.
- Are You a Good Enough Player?
- Hustle, Effort, Attitude, Determination, Desire, Cooperation– All of these categories are HUGELY important to college coaches and they can tell within the first 5 minutes of watching you play how much of all of these you have. The more you have of each of these the more important you become to that coach.
- Resiliency – Big word that simply means how good are you at bouncing back after a mistake. College coaches know you’re going to make mistakes when you get to their school so they want to see how you handle them. Do you pout and give excuses and blame other people, or do you quickly work to bounce back and improve on the next play. When coaches sit down at a field to watch you play it’s not your mistakes that will turn them off but the fact that you quit after making them, or pouted, or blamed someone else. Take responsibility by owning your performance – by being resilient and bouncing back!
- Physical Fitness – This is without a doubt, the area that changes the most between travel or school ball and college softball. You’re going to run and lift and sprint and jump more in one week than you might have in your life up to that point, so be ready for it because college coaches are also judging you on how they think you’ll be able to handle it all. Get in shape now instead of waiting for Boot Camp to start in college. Show college coaches that fitness is an important part of your game and that both physically and mentally you can handle the toughness factor, and that you ARE the toughness factor!
- Adjustability and Versatility – Chances are that whatever position you’re playing right now, you won’t be playing in college. At least not exclusively. College coaches try to get the BEST 5 to 8 players every year and with a few exceptions (usually pitcher), players have to learn a new position in order to actually “play” in college instead of just practicing all 4 years. So work hard to show coaches how flexible and versatile you are by playing multiple positions, or being open to instruction, or doing anything you can to show you can fit into a place on their team. Remember – why you?
- Skill – I put this last because it’s an obvious one, but it’s also the most common. There are tons of good players out there, but when you take all those good players and first grade them on the list we just covered, that pool shrinks down considerably. College coaches can find good players anywhere, they’re looking for those special qualities that separate good from special – so be THAT player. Be special! Practice your guts out, do what your parents, your teachers and your coaches say, be a good teammate and a good person and then when that college coach shows up at your ballfield – it will be obvious to them why it should BE YOU!
Good luck and remember that somebody is going to get that college softball scholarship so work hard and make sure it’s YOU! Good luck!
For more help with making your softball dreams come true, check out the following:
- Drill Manuals:
- Book: The Complete Book of Pitching
- Drill Manuals:
- Fielding eSkills
- Throwing eSkills