Getting a softball scholarship is becoming more and more competitive as the number of softball players increases. There are a number of factors that can help you get a softball scholarship to a school that is right for you. However, in order to get a scholarship you must be seen by coaches and scouts. The more you are seen by college coaches and scouts the better your chances are of getting a softball scholarship.
There are just over 1,600 college softball programs across the country.
Softball Scholarship Stats
There are 286 NCAA DI programs, 264 NCAA DII, 392 NCAA DIII, 205 NAIA and 470 NJCAA softball programs in the United States.
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.
Not all softball scholarships are full rides and the majority of programs split up their scholarships in order to give money to as many good players as possible. More competitive positions often get the most money, this includes catchers and pitchers. However, just because you play a supporting position does not mean you can’t get a full ride.
Scouting + Recruiting = Scholarships
It would be a mistake to think playing in High School, and winning your section is all you have to do to get a softball scholarship. In fact, it is extremely rare for college coaches to visit and watch High School games. College softball scholarships don’t just happen. To kick start your softball scholarship path, make sure you are playing traveling softball. Playing for a team that is competitive and has a track record for producing college athletes is your best bet. I highly recommend the California Grapette’s softball program Sorcerers,if you are located in California. They have a great track record of producing college scholarship athletes. After playing traveling softball and being seen by coaches and scouts, scouts who are interested in you will start pursuing you and will initiate contact and begin the recruiting process. The recruiting process will typically take a couple of years and involve numerous phone calls, visits and various communication before any official scholarship offer is made. However, if you are being recruited late into your Junior and Senior year this process could be accelerated. Just because your not signed by your Junior year don’t give up hope!
Position by position break down: How coaches use scholarships
Understanding the college softball recruiting process.
Softball scholarships are an interesting thing, each scholarship amount, and details depends on the college and their financial abilities. Each softball program uses their scholarship money a little differently depending on the programs needs and financial abilities. Knowing how coaches typically use their scholarship money for each position will help you plan out a successful recruiting game plan. Scouts are often looking for a specific position to fill on their team, make sure your traveling team posts your position and academic information at tournaments, and on their website. This will help scouts quickly figure out who they should be watching on your team. This is also a great reason to learn multiple positions to increase your chances of getting a scholarship.
Pitchers are like gold for most scouts. If they see a dominate pitcher that they know can bring a winning season to their team then they will find the money to recruit them. This is one of the positions where you can expect to get a scholarship coming out of high school as coaches are willing to put promising pitchers on scholarship in order to develop them. If you are a pitcher who experiences great success, and gets results on the mound you can often expect to a full ride or at least a partial scholarship. However, this depends on the tournaments and scouts recruiting you, and your abilities.
If you want a college scholarship as a softball catcher you have to put in some work. This position demands authority, stability, reliability, and smarts. It’s up to you to handle the pitching staff, know how to call pitches, know how other positions and how to direct them during plays and hits. Many catchers are also known for their dominate bats and RBI’s. Many programs will have two to three girls at this position and the second and third catchers are usually asked to walk on as the scholarship money is used for the number one catcher on the team.
If you are a middle infielder you should be able to bat in multiple positions and show diversity in defensive position experience. You will often be competing with other middle infielders and depending on your abilities may be moved or converted to another position. If you are chosen to as a first string or “starter” middle infielder it is likely that you will receive a softball scholarship. However, if you are considered a back up middle infielder you might have to walk on. To increase your chances of receiving a college softball scholarship as a middle infielder it is imperative that you bring a big stick. If you hit, and produce offensively it will be hard for a coach to take you out of the lineup.
If you are aggressive, and can field a range of offensive tactics then you will go far in this position. Third baseman are known to be aggressive in fielding bunts, slaps, drags, line drives, and hard hits down the line. They are also the last line of defense before home plate. They must keep all throws to their base in front, because if one throw makes it through it often results in a run against their team. If your goal is to get a scholarship as a third baseman it will be important for you to work on your hands, mobility to field, and quickness. You will need a short throw that has velocity so that you can throw out slappers and other lefties as well.
First baseman’s are often a place for big hitters. If you are a big hitter but aren’t exceptionally quick this is the place for you. Increasing your skills in digging up short or bad throws is valued, and keeping the ball in front is necessary. If you are a catcher or third baseman it is also wise to learn how to play first base. This will give you more options and opportunity during recruiting. Not to mention coaches like the skills of a catcher and third baseman in their first baseman.
Are you fast? Can you slap, bunt for a hit, or hit line drives? If yes then you are perfect for an outfield position on a softball team. Every team needs girls who get on base and can score runs with their feet. Because most programs look for left-handed slappers in those positions in the lineup these girls will also generally be the outfielders. If you are consistent, and show blazing speed you have great chances at getting recruited for a softball scholarship. Focusing on your speed, tracking the ball, and offensively placing the ball will take you great places and make great strides in achieving your goal of a softball scholarship. Keep in mind that this position often has three or four girls fighting to start, and you must show that you are a well-rounded offensive and defensive player to start.
I encourage every young girl to write down your goals, and keep track of the steps you need to take so that you achieve your goals. Don’t give up, just because you don’t have a PAC-12 Scholarship lined up, you can still go to a quality school and get your education paid for at a lower division. Keep a good attitude, look forward, and forgive yourself for errors. We all have them, the important part is learning from them and using them to make us a stronger and more dangerous softball player. If you work hard, play hard, and show heart you will succeed, it just takes work and dedication. I promise it’s worth it!
If you have any questions about getting a softball scholarship, playing in college, or anything related to softball please add to our comments. We love hearing from our readers, and always love helping softball players achieve their goals.