NCAA AND NAIA SOFTBALL SCHOLARSHIPS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOFTBALL RECRUITING AND SOFTBALL SCOUTING. HOW TO APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
Finding a softball scholarship comes down to finding schools that are right for you, giving coaches the opportunity to scout you and managing the college softball recruiting process to maximize your opportunities. There are just over 1,600 college softball programs across the country.
Softball Scholarships by the numbers
There are 286 NCAA DI programs, 264 NCAA DII, 392 NCAA DIII, 205 NAIA and 470 NJCAA softball programs in the United States.
Each NCAA DI program can offer up to 12 scholarships per team, while DII programs have up to 7.2, NAIA programs have 10 scholarships and fully funded NJCAA Softball teams have 24 scholarships per team.
Not all softball scholarships are full rides and the majority of programs split up their scholarships in order to give money to as many good players as possible.
Scouting + Recruiting = Scholarships
College softball scholarships don’t just happen. Generally the process begins when a player starts to get scouted by playing in different tournaments usually with travel teams. After being scouted coaches interested in pursuing you will initiate contact and begin the recruiting process. The recruiting process will typically take a couple of years and involve numerous phone calls, visits and various communication before any official scholarship offer is made.
Position by position break down: How coaches use scholarships
Understanding the college softball recruiting process.
Each softball program uses their scholarship money a little differently depending on the programs needs and financial abilities. Knowing how coaches typically use their scholarship money for each position will help you plan out a successful recruiting game plan.
Every program could always use another dominate pitcher. Pitchers can, single handed, carry a team through a slow patch in the season or win them championships. This is one of the positions where you can expect to get a scholarship coming out of high school as coaches are willing to put promising pitchers on scholarship in order to develop them. Most college softball scholarships aren’t full rides; of the players on full rides the majority are pitchers.
This position is all about stability for a college softball program, if you can handle the pitching staff and be consistent with your at bats you will be in a strong position or a scholarship. Many programs will have two to three girls at this position and the second and third catchers are usually asked to walk on as the scholarship money is used for the number one catcher on the team.
College scholarship middle infielders are extremely well rounded ball players with solid fundamentals in the field and can generally bat at several spots in the lineup. Generally this is not a position where you get a scholarship unless you are starting for your team. One of the ways you can give yourself a better chance of earning a scholarship is to be an excellent batter that a coach would never want to take out of the lineup.
This can be one of the most demanding positions on the field at the college level. Besides having excellent hands and being able to field well you also need to have great mobility to cover the drag bunts and slaps. This doesn’t mean you can just ignore your time at the plate, all scholarship softball players are expected to be able to bat as well. Finding a division level where you can play this kind of role for a team will go a long way in finding a scholarship opportunity.
If there is one position on a college softball team where coaches will recruit a player who isn’t a great all around player it is first base. For several programs this is where the power hitters of the team field and as long as you can hold your own fielding and carry a big bat you can find scholarships at the college level as a first basemen.
Every team needs girls who get on base and can score runs with their feet. Because most programs look for left-handed slappers in those positions in the lineup these girls will also generally be the outfielders. This is generally a position that will have two to three girls for each spot which means unless you are consistently starting it can be difficult to get a scholarship. If you play outfield and want a scholarship look for a division level where you can come in and start right away.