Junior Olympics Players Association-Recruiting Information

Valuable information for the college-bound softball athlete.

NCAA Eligibility Center Page For all current academic and recruiting guidelines

www.eligibilitycenter.org

 

National Letter of Intent For information–including signing dates–about the National Letter of Intent.

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/nli/nli

 

NAIA Home Page For all NAIA guidelines, regulations and other relevant information

http://www.naia.org/

 

ACT.org A link to online ACT registration and review.  http://www.act.org/

 

FAFSA on the Web http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (where all financial aid begins

 

CAL GRANT on the Web http://www.calgrant.org/

Information for California residents on aid programs for good students from low and moderate income families.

 

CollegeBoards  http://www.collegeboard.com/testing/

NJCAA Home Page For junior college team guidelines and information (excluding California & the NW.)

http://www.njcaa.org/sports_news.cfm?sid=28&divid=1&gender=w&slid=14

 

NCAA Schools That Sponsor Softball

HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE

FRESHMAN:

  • Get settled in high school.

  • Concentrate on a solid high school curriculum.

SOPHOMORE:

  • Continue striving for academic success.

  • Research NCAA academic requirements.

  • Make sure that you are “on target” for all course requirements.

  • During summer between Sophomore and Junior years prepare your athletic resume.

  • Start investigating colleges and their admission requirements.

  • Prepare to send out your initial contact letters.

 JUNIOR:

  • Send out athletic letters now, if you have not already done so.

  • Request the ACT/ACT test scores be sent to the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.

  • Now is the time for you to join the clearinghouse.

  • KEEP UP WITH STUDIES and once again review the NCAA requirements.

  • Send out updates as your season closes.

 SENIOR:

  • Do not let up on academics.

  • Review your core class requirements with your counselor.

  • Again, send out your team schedule as soon as possible to all schools you are interested in.

  • Always play to the best of your ability, and remember you’re a “student athlete”…

SAMPLE LETTER

Date

School
Address

Attn:  name of softball coach

Dear Coach (last name)

My name is _________________________ and I am a Junior/Senior at (name of your school, City).

As my high school career comes to a close, I am looking ahead to attending an excellent college and would like to participate in your softball program.

I have completed some preliminary research on your school, but I would like more detailed information on your academic requirements and athletic program.

I am currently playing for the (name of summer team) and will send you a schedule of games when I receive one.

I invite you to view some of the games this season.  Also, I am hopeful that we can discuss my participation in your athletic program in the immediate future.

Best regards,

Name
address
phone number

Make a skills video.  Have a parent or coach videotape you in action.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, or done by a professional.

VIDEOTAPING YOUR SOFTBALL SKILLS

Colleges want to see everything you are capable of doing. If you play several positions, show footage of different skills. Please keep in mind, though that they receive hundreds of videotapes each season and simply don’t have time to view excess and unneeded footage. Here are some guidelines as to what they want to see and how many repetitions they would like to see. In what order you perform the skills makes no difference.

It is recommended to use the zoom feature rather than moving in a position you may disturb the fielder or hitter.

 The entire tape should only be approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

HITTING
View from beyond opposite batters box, facing the batter as they are in their stance, close view. Full swings in this segment, if you have full swings from both right and left side, please show both.

BUNTING 

Sac Bunts: View from pitching circle, left and right sides, if applicable. 
Bunt for Hit: View from pitching circle, left and right sides, if applicable. 
Drag Bunt: View from pitching circle, left and right sides, if applicable. 
Slap Bunt: View from beyond opposite batters box, left and right side, if applicable.

THROWING AND CATCHING
(All Positions) 
Fielding ground balls, some directly at you, some to your right and left. 
Balls to your right and left should be approximately 15 to 20 feet each way. 
Show the throw to a base. (Note) Always have an angle to show the throw.
DO NOT follow the ball with the camera. 

CATCHERS: (Full Equipment) 
Block ball in dirt, some right at you, some to show lateral movement. 
Field bunts and throw to all bases. 
Pickoff, show throws to 1st and 3rd base. 
Steals, show throw to 2nd and 3rd base, with the fielder on the move to cover the base. 

CORNERS: 
Field bunts, throw to 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases. 
At 1st base, taking throws in the dirt. 
At 3rd base, taking throws from the outfield, making a tag.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS
Double play, pivot and footwork. 
Double play, feeds. 
Shortstop, covering second on a steal. 
Second, covering first on a bunt. 
Fly balls overhead, Texas Leaguer.

OUTFIELDERS
Fielding fly balls, some directly at you, some to your right, left and forward. Show the throw to 2B, 3B and home. Right field also show throw to 1B.

PITCHERS 

Two Angles:
•    From behind pitcher.
•    From side of the pitcher.
Show 5 to 6 of each pitch you have from each angle. 
Fielding grounders and bunts, throwing to all bases.

BASE RUNNING
Home to first, after you swing. 
Home to home, after you swing.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR OUR COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS

I’ve heard that if you’re a good softball player, the college coaches will recruit you.  Is that true?
Any college coach or recruiter will tell you that being good doesn’t automatically giv a player an edge in being recruited or being offered a scholarship to play college softball.  There are thousands of good softball players who go unnoticed and unrecruited every year.

The coach or recruiter first has to know about you to be able to recruit you.  In addition to talent, coaches recruit players based on a number of important factors including experience, grades, work ethic, team needs, and the player’s ability to adjust to the demands of college softball.

How many players get “full-ride” scholarships?
Very few players get a “full ride” (100% of college costs).  It’s important for players and parents to know that colleges are allowed to divide scholarships.  With an average roster of 18 players per team, there’s not enough scholarship money for every player on the team to get a “full ride.”  Most college teams award half or three-quarter scholarships, in order to stretch their funds as far as possible and still be able to recruit quality players.

Which players get “full rides”?
When available, full-ride scholarships generally go to top-notch pitchers, catchers, and hitters.  Prospective college softball players should expect that scholarship offers will range along these lines:

  • Pitchers, 80-100% of “full-ride”
  • Catchers, 50-80%
  • Infielders, 30-70%
  • Outfielders, 20-50%

Versatility, hitting ability, and team needs can make a player more valuable, and a scholarship offer will be adjusted accordingly.

What are my chances of being awarded a four-year scholarship?
No matter what any player, parent, coach, or recruiter might tell you, there is simply no such thing as a “four-year scholarship” to play softball.  Scholarships are awarded on a year-by-year basis only.  The name of the game is performance.  The best way to insure a “four-year scholarship” is to exceed expectations from each “one-year scholarship” to the next.

Will going to a recruiting camp or tournament guarantee that I’ll get recruited?
Just attending a recruiting camp or tournament is no guarantee that you’ll be recruited.  A college coach might never recruit some of the better players at a recruiting camp, or even get a chance to watch them play.

How can I improve my chances of being recruited at one of these camps?
The best chance any player has of being noticed and possibly being recruited as a result of a recruiting camp is based on two important factors:

  • Parents and players must do their “homework” and marketing preparation, including letters, “Player Marketing Package” “described in detail in the book), phone calls, e-mails, and so on, to the coaches who are expected to be at the camp.
  • You must perform up to the expectations while the college coach is looking at you.

Coaches don’t just show up at these camps and tournaments looking for players to fill any old position on their rosters.  They go to the camp with a list of names of players they want to evaluate, and a list of positions that they need to fill.  The players on a coach’s list are top-level players who are well known to coaches, players who the coach has seen before and wants to watch again, or players who have contacted them directly.  Unless a coach knows about you, chances are that he/she won’t be looking at you.  The way to get a coach to look at you is, first to tell them that you’ll be there, and, secondly, to ask them to take a look at you.

When should I start my scholarship search?
Searching for a scholarship is only part of the college selection process.  Your first goal should be to find a school that’s a good match for your academic abilities and interests, and to find a team that’s a good match for your softball skills.  Then you can start thinking seriously about the scholarship search.

NCAA schools can’t begin actively recruiting players until their junior year.  That doesn’t mean, however, that you should wait until your junior year to beging the college selection process or start your marketing efforts.  There’s nothing wrong with getting a head start on your college selection process in your freshman or sophomore year.  It’s a simple matter to log on to a college’s web site, and find out all the information you need to know.  If you start narrowing the field of prospective colleges early in your high school career, you’ll be well ahead of the game (and ahead of other players) by the time your junior year rolls around.

RECRUITING DEFINITIONS

CONTACT
A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.

CONTACT PERIOD
During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.

DEAD PERIOD
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.

EVALUATION
An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.

EVALUATION PERIOD
The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college’s campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.

OFFICIAL VISIT
Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses:

  • Your transportation to and from the college;
  • Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
  • Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.

Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE
You become a “prospective student-athlete” when:

  • You start ninth-grade classes; or
  • Before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.

QUIET PERIOD
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.

UNOFFICIAL VISIT
Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.

VERBAL COMMITMENT
This phrase is used to describe a college-bound student-athlete’s commitment to a school before he or she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. While verbal commitments have become very popular for both college-bound student-athletes and coaches, this “commitment” is NOT binding on either the college-bound student-athlete or the school. Only the signing of the National Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is binding on both parties.

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE RECRUITING

California Community College recruiting is very unique.  California JC’s do not offer scholarships or athletic financial assistance in any way.  Cal JC’s have a certain high school district that they can freely recruit from.  If a student-athlete is interested in a certain college and they are outside of the college’s district, the student-athlete must initiate the first contact by calling or emailing the college representative or coach.  What makes Cal JC recruiting interesting is a lot of the college districts overlap each other.  Basically each coach has to sell what their program or college offers that may be special or different that other colleges such as: academic support system, tutors, scheduling, winning, travel opportunities, graduation rates, matriculation to a four year school, skills training, coaching staff, athletic support from college, facilities, location, tradition, reputation just to mention a few recruiting angles. Excerpts from the following can be completely retrieved by going to the Commission on Athletic web site at www.coasports.org

Athletic Recruiting as defined by the governing body of California Community Colleges the Commission on Athletics or COA.

Athletic recruiting is defined as any solicitation of an individual, a member of her family, legal guardian, or coach by a college staff member or by a representative of the college’s interests to encourage enrollment in that institution for the purpose of athletic participation.  The following are allowable activities for recruiting within a college’s recruiting area:

  1. Initiating or arranging first contact with a prospect, family member, legal guardian, or coach whether in person, by telephone, or by correspondence.
  2. Providing transportation to the campus.
  3.  Visiting a prospect, family member, or legal guardian.
  4. Providing information regarding employment opportunities, matriculation, housing, financial aid etc.
  5. Any for of correspondence sent to a prospect, family member, or legal guardian; such as email, letters, memos, news releases, or newspaper articles.
  6. Arranging or providing for a meal or meals during a campus visit.

First Contact
First contact is defined as an unsolicited inquiry.  A college’s employee and/or representative may make an unsolicited inquiry of any prospect who resides in that California Community colleges recruiting area.  However, any student who is not currently enrolled and actively attending student or another California community college, regardless of residence, shall not be athletically recruited.

  1. A districts “recruiting area” is defined as the district itself and its contiguous districts as defined by the COA.  You may find out the districts by contacting your local community college.

Permissible out of district recruiting:
The only permissible response to an inquiry from a student living outside a districts recruiting are is to provide information.  Any aspect of the college’s programs, including athletics, as well as any other pertinent information, such as housing, employment opportunities, financial aid, registration procedures, etc., may be provided to the prospect.  Continuing communications, by phone or mail, may exist between the coach and the prospect, but person-to-person dialog may only take place within the district’s recruiting area.  At no time may athletic recruiting activities take place outside a district’s recruiting area.  If an “incidental contact” initiated by the student athlete occurs, the coach shall:

  1. Be courteous
  2. Provide only h/her name and the college address and office telephone number of the head coach.
  3. Request the athlete to make contact during business hours.