1) Get a copy of the NCAA’s Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete. 2) Plan your high school academic course load so that you’re taking required NCAA core courses. This will include at least 3 years of math; 4 years of English; Science/Lab Science; History/Government; Language; and so on. You will need to complete at least 10 NCAA core courses by the end of your junior year.
3) Purchase and read Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level to help you plan your college search!
4) Play the most competitive travel ball you can.
5) Whenever you have the opportunity, visit college campuses to see what the collegiate experience is all about.
Optional: Create and send out a postcard introducing yourself to coaches at colleges that interest you. Optional: Attend college camps or clinics, however, be sure you understand that the actual number of players recruited for a given graduation year from a given college camp will be extremely small--perhaps 1 or 2 and sometimes 0. There is no guarantee you will be considered a top prospect simply because you attend a camp and are interested in the college. But camps can be a great opportunity to see coaches in action and to familiarize yourself with college campuses.
6) Check in regularly with your travel coaches to be sure they know you’re staying on track and doing what needs to be done.
7) MOST IMPORTANTLY…NURTURE YOUR LOVE OF SOFTBALL! (College ball is not fun at all if you don’t love what you’re doing.)
NOTE: Recruiting timelines vary tremendously from Division I to Division III and NAIA schools. Since 75% of all players will compete at the D-II, D-III or NAIA level, keep in mind that while coaches at Top 25 D-I schools may be scouting freshmen and sophomores, (as well as juniors), the majority of college coaches are more likely to be focusing on juniors and seniors.
For most athletes, this process is a marathon, not a sprint, and you may have to continue to contacting coaches into the fall or even the winter of your senior year. By staying on track from the beginning to end of your high school career, you will hopefully find the school that can offer you the collegiate experience you’ve been dreaming of!