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Six-Year Softball Recruiting Plan

VarsityFastpitch: An athlete’s guide to playing college softball
Our Mission: To help high school softball players find their way through the complex and confusing maze of identifying careers, finding colleges that are a good match, and navigating through the recuiting process.
Elaine started her senior year a few weeks ago. She’s a good softball player but does not have a college commitment. What’s worse, she doesn’t know what she wants to study or what schools she’s interested in. She knows she wants to play softball in college and she wants to go to a school in the northeast. Elaine thought that her club coach was going to find her a college to go to. The realization that this wasn’t going to happen only occurred towards the end of last summer when Elaine completed her junior year. Suddenly, Elaine realized that in a few months her softball career might be over! What would her life be without softball? She identifies with being a softball player. Softball is part of who she is. To not have softball in her life is a scary thought for Elaine. She doesn’t make new friends that easily and softball has always provided her with a built-in group of friends. Softball has been a part of her since she was 6 years old! It’s now October of her senior year and there are no prospects for college commitments. This situation has led to lots of stress for Elaine and her family. She hasn’t even applied to the local community college as she always assumed that she would have a place to play softball and go to school. It’s now crunch time for Elaine. What mistakes did Elaine make and how can you avoid the same ones? The main issue and the one that is most obvious is that Elaine waited too long - way too long. Softball players who are planning on attending college need to start thinking about the recruiting process as early as possible. How early is reasonable? The process should start in seventh grade! Can you start the process earlier? Sure, but you probably won’t gain much. Can you start it later? Yes, but the timeline can only be compressed so far. How much later, depends on the player’s goals. For example, Players interested in Division I schools should start the process early. Players interested in Division II schools may have a little more time. Players interested in Division III schools can start later. Pitchers and catchers should start early as college coaches often recruit for these positions first. Below is a breakdown of the activities and milestones that should be achieved in each of the six years of the NCAA recruiting process. The milestone dates are approximate and can be changed to suit your timeline and schedule. As you can see, there are a lot of activities in the recruiting process. The earlier you start on them the less stress you will have later on. The activities and milestones listed are not the only way to get recruited, but they capture the major recruiting activities most players go through. You can optionally hire a recruiting service to advise you on the process, make connections, and handle much of the leg work. If you can afford this route and prefer to have someone do most of the work, then this is a great option. Had Elaine started on this process in seventh grade, she would probably not be scrambling now close to the eleventh hour to find a softball program and school. If you are a softball player in tenth grade and you haven’t started this process, you need to kick into high gear and accomplish all of the tasks listed in seventh through ninth grades in a very short time and then accomplish all of the tasks required in tenth grade. Much of the recruiting preparatory work occurs in tenth grade so you can start interacting with coaches in eleventh grade. If you are currently in eleventh grade and have not started this process, you can still get it done but you will need lots of help doing so. Either enlist the help of your parents or hire a professional. If you are in twelfth grade and you are just starting this process, don’t waste any more time. List the tasks you haven’t accomplished already and put together a realistic timeline to get them done. If you can’t get them done within a few weeks, hire a professional.
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