Recruiting

Best Softball Colleges: 2019 NCSA Power Rankings

What do college softball coaches look for in recruits?

When watching potential recruits and reviewing their softball measurables, college coaches try to project how much success they’ll have at the college level. While a recruit might excel at the high school level, playing against college-level competition is another story. The game is much faster. Top recruits need softball measurables that demonstrate college-level strength, speed and fundamentals.

Division 1

There’s a reason so few high school softball players go on to compete at the Division 1 level.The talent level is very high, and the competition is fierce. Those who make the cut are the best players in the country. These players are recruited from a young age and possess ideal softball measurables. If D1 college coaches are in contact with your parents and keeping track of you on the travel circuit, you are getting recruited to play D1 softball. When evaluating athletes, D1 coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 3-4 years on varsity with at least 2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 4-5 years of high-level travel ball
  • Awards: multiple-time All-Conference, All-Area, All-State honors

Division 2

Getting a little interest from D1 coaches but no offers? You might be a solid D2 prospect. In most cases, what separates D1 recruits from the rest of the pack is excellence both at the plate and in the field. D2 softball players tend to be exceptional in one category and above average in the other. Lay the groundwork by building a network of college coaches and testing your softball measurables at camps and showcases. When evaluating athletes, D2 coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 3–4 years of high-level travel ball
  • Awards: multiple time All-Conference, All-Area, potential All-State honors

Division 3 and NAIA

D3 and NAIA recruits receive the lion’s share of their attention from coaches during sophomore and junior year. To stand out, build a network of college coaches and focus on improving your softball measurables at camps and showcases. Playing at the D3 or NAIA level is a great opportunity to plan for your future, so make sure the college you choose is the right academic fit. When evaluating athletes, D3 and NAIA coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 2–3 years of travel ball
  • Awards: All-Conference, All-Area honors

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Best Softball Colleges: 2019 NCSA Power Rankings

What do college softball coaches look for in recruits?

When watching potential recruits and reviewing their softball measurables, college coaches try to project how much success they’ll have at the college level. While a recruit might excel at the high school level, playing against college-level competition is another story.  The game is much faster.  Top recruits need softball measurables that demonstrate college-level strength, speed and fundamentals.

Division 1

When evaluating athletes, D1 coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 3-4 years on varsity with at least 2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 4-5 years of high-level travel ball
  • Awards: multiple-time All-Conference, All-Area, All-State honors

Division 2

When evaluating athletes, D2 coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 3–4 years of high-level travel ball
  • Awards: multiple time All-Conference, All-Area, potential All-State honors

Division 3 and NAIA

When evaluating athletes, D3 and NAIA coaches typically follow these softball recruiting guidelines:

  • High school experience: 2-3 years on varsity with at least 1-2 years as a starter
  • Club experience: 2–3 years of travel ball
  • Awards: All-Conference, All-Area honors

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When do coaches start recruiting softball players?

Division 1 softball coaches often evaluate athletes as young as 7th and 8th grade.  If you’re looking to play D1 ball, you should initiate contact with coaches by the 8th or 9th grade to make sure you snag a roster spot before it’s gone.  Keep college coaches updated as you get older and improve your softball measurables.

In the past, college coaches contacted an athlete’s high school or club coach to set up a phone call at an agreed upon time.  From there, the athlete could call the college coach to kick off the recruiting conversation.  However, according to the NCAA’s changes to recruiting rules in 2018, D1 coaches are now prohibited from initiating contact until September 1 of an athlete’s junior year.

While contact from coach to athlete is much more restricted by these new rules, athletes still can—and should—proactively contact college coaches at any time.  Reach out early to make sure you’re on the coach’s list of recruits by September 1.

D2 coaches start their recruiting slightly later than D1 coaches.  However, the more competitive the program, the earlier they will start scouting athletes and comparing softball measurables.  D3 and NAIA programs start the recruiting process even later, typically contacting sophomores and juniors.  D3 and NAIA programs also tend to spend extra time making sure their school is the right academic and social fit.

Regardless of your age or point in the process, focus on improving your softball measurables and challenging yourself against the best competition available.