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Getting Noticed

Athletes that want to play softball at the College or University level need to start preparing early on.  Do not wait for the recruiter to come find you, be proactive and start researching and contacting coaches early in your high school career. Most post secondary schools in Canada do not have the resources to scout players during their high school years, especially if those players are not close to the school. It's up to you to contact coaches - let them know who you are and that you are interested in their team.

At some schools, you may just have to show up to try-outs to be able to get a shot at making the team. However, at more competitive schools, you need to be recruited, or at least make contact with the coach beforehand, to get a chance to try out for the squad.

At large schools, such as those in NCAA Division I, they have almost unlimited resources – they can scout out the top players in the country every weekend. So how are they going to notice you if you’re not a top player? Send in arecruitment package and get noticed.

What skill sets are coaches looking for? The University of Toronto’s tryout outline lists these skills:

 

Offensive: Ability to make contact, Ability to make adjustments, Ability to hit the ball hard (power), Situational hitting (for example, bunting, hitting to advance runners, etc.), Consistency, Base-running

Defensive: Fielding, Hands, Arm strength, Throwing accuracy, Range, Consistency, Communication with other players, Instincts for necessary adjustments/positioning

Pitching (if applicable): Pitch speed, Pitch location, Ball movement, Variety and command of pitches, Situational pitching, Presence / demeanor on the mound, Ability to adjust to game situations, Communication with the catcher and/or other defensive players

 

Recruiting Advice from an NCAA Division I Softball Coach:

In order to get recruited it is important to contact team coaches of the schools you are interested in.  The student should contact the coach themselves, as opposed to having a parent do it for them.

Lori Sippel, associate head coach at the University of Nebraska, recommends sending in a letter of introduction with contact information for both the player and their coach, and high school graduation date; letters of recommendation from coaches; and a 3 to 5 minute recruitment video:

“Short video is still a good way to be seen.  A lot of athletes send video via e-mail or YouTube.  Either works as we generally open it as soon as we see the letter of introduction comes with a video.  The video should be 3-5 minutes maximum and show skill set at a challenging level.  So if [the athlete is] fielding ground balls, [the coach] should not hit directly at them for 5 reps but have them field several different versions of the ground ball and show throw as well.”

“Hitting should be from open side as well as from behind so we can see ball flight. Pitching may take a bit longer so we can be shown mechanics as well as game footage from behind home plate or Center field if you can zoom in.”

“Contact information and Graduation date are a must in a letter of introduction.  [NCAA] coaches may not make contact with an athlete until after July 1st of their junior year. We cannot e-mail [an athlete] until after Sept. 1st of their junior year. Coaches cannot text until the student-athlete has signed [with their program]. So, should they send video and a coach has an interest in the athlete, the college coach may not be able to contact them to let them know. This is why including a club coaches or HS coaches contact information is important as well.” 

“[Including a] tournament or game schedule so a coach can make plans to see an athlete compete would also be very important however, the athlete must understand that there are thousands of games going on every weekend so a coach is not going to make a trip sight unseen.  That is why a video is very important to get in front of them.”

More Resources:

http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/softball.htm

http://www.athleticscholarships.net/softballscholarships.htm

http://www.canadiancollegesoftball.ca/

 

FUN FACT: Did you know Tim Hortons is the title sponsor of our Learn to Play program that introduces children aged 5-10 to softball?