We talk about recruiting all the time. It’s a big reason why the game of fastpitch softball has grown the way it has. A kid’s dream is always to play at the highest level and for most players, college softball is that highest level.
The dream of a softball scholarship motivates both player and parent. The thought that you are going to be recognized as a player worthy of a scholarship is a mighty strong incentive for many players. Parents, who are investing a tremendous amount of money into travel ball, school ball, lessons, camps and so on are hoping to see their financial investment pay off.
Once upon a time there were enough spots on college rosters, and barely enough players chasing those spots, that almost every player who wanted to play in college could find a spot. Remember though, everything that starts with “once upon a time” is a fairly tale.
Unfortunately, the idea that there are a ton of softball scholarships available for every player who wanton is also a fairly tale!
Recent statistics show that there are almost 400,000 softball players playing high school ball. Now I understand that many of those high school players do not aspire to play college softball so let’s just say that 100,000 high school age players want to play college softball. Pretty fair?
Then you when you look at college rosters, there is a total of about 30,000 college softball players across all levels from Division 1 all the way to Junior College. That means there are ab out 70,000 more high school players than there are college roster spots. And about 70% of college roster spots are at schools that do not offer athletic scholarships.
So the odds of a player making any college roster are set at about 12 to 1. The odds of her making a Division 1 roster are about 65 to 1. And her odds of getting any softball scholarship money are about 100 to 1. And the vast majority of those scholarships are partial awards that reflect pretty small amounts of money.
Pretty daunting odds, I know. It doesn’t mean that a player shouldn’t chase the dream of becoming a college player. It just means that we need to be realistic about how competitive it really is and what we are really investing our time and money to pursue.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.