As of 2021, roughly 1,678 schools across the United States of America offer full or partial softball scholarships, allowing talented athletes to receive at least a portion of their tuition for free.
Naturally, obtaining a full-ride softball scholarship is incredibly difficult and competitive, but Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida did exactly that. Below, she shares her prestigious experiences with fellow athletes – believing that gaining an edge in competition requires a team effort.
Practice Is Critical
While it may seem like a no-brainer, athletes with an impeccable technical prowess in softball have a better chance of achieving the full scholarship. These role models practice and train hard to get ahead of the curve, increasing their likelihood of success.
Having athletic goals in mind is also helpful, allowing athletes to set benchmarks and develop training routines to help reach them. Many scholarship-wannabes should consistently participate in repetitive practice to hone their skills and show colleges what they’re made of.
List The Schools
Lists are helpful in all walks of life, and that includes obtaining a college softball scholarship. Players should research their top schools, compiling a list of their dream choices. However, their options may need to be more plentiful than they think.
According to the NCSA, athletes should apply to a high number of colleges to increase their odds of success. The college recruitment agency recommends a list of between 20 to 30 schools, breaking it up into three smaller groupings that include:
- five dream schools
- ten appropriate matches for academic and athletic abilities or interests
- five safety net schools the athlete is almost guaranteed to get.
Networking Proves Vital
Attending events hosted by colleges to meet potential coaches and those on the school board is highly recommended. Sending introductory emails to coaches with an attached skills video (more on that next) puts these dedicated athletes ahead of the rest.
Going to off-season camp is another favored method of developing skills and improving adaptability to different playing conditions and team members. However, preemptive research is essential in order to ensure that schools utilize athletes’ time effectively.
Softball travel or club teams are also a great choice as they give players a chance to gain exposure and experience.
Showing Skills Via Video Boosts Players’ Chances
Skills videos give softball players a chance to display their athletic prowess, stand out from competitors, and show coaches their specific skills. Those who take time to shoot eye-catching skills videos reap the rewards of their efforts.
Create a YouTube channel as a “video portfolio.” Uploading compilation videos of skills, work ethic, and practice regimes shows athletes’ commitment to potential coaches and colleges.
It’s important to keep skills videos short though — coaches don’t have the time to watch 20-minute recaps of a potential recruit’s skills – keep the videos to around 3-5 minutes, and even assemble various highlights or skills clips together – its also best to avoid intros, music, and sound effects.
Softball Scholarships: The Bottom Line
Even though obtaining a full-ride scholarship to play college softball can be tricky, the above advice can help student athletes increase their odds. Casting a wide net and even diversifying by applying for smaller scholarships can further boost the chances of getting a full (or even partial) subsidy to the college or university of choice. Work hard, dream big, and good luck!