An awful lot of softball players want to play college softball. We talk a great deal about recruiting and even offer an online recruiting seminar to guide players and their families through the process. That is a great guide that will really help and even includes a section on preparing to become a college player.
What does it take to be a successful college player? Let’s take a look at some very important things that you need to do.
1. Learn to compete!
I tell people all the time that the travel ball world of everyone plays is killing many softball players careers before they even begin. You are not going to college to play college softball, you are going to college to help a team be successful! There is a huge difference!
You will need to compete to get in the lineup and stay there. You have to compete to help your team win. You have to compete in the classroom to insure that you stay eligible to play. These things don’t just happen and no one cares about excuses. If you can’t compete, you won’t play.
2. Overcome adversity!
This game is designed to humble you at every turn and now you are facing players who are determined to make your life as miserable as possible. Pitchers work very hard to humble you. Hitters work very hard to ruin your day on the mound. Coaches hold you to an incredibly high standard where you are constantly being evaluated.
Classes will be much harder.
Workouts will be much harder.
Travel will be much harder.
Work on developing the skills you will need to handle adversity. Developing your work ethic, challenging yourself now, asking your coaches to push you harder and hold you to a higher standard. These are all great places to start. At the end of the day, it is up to you to get tough and grind it out, period!
3. Do the work!
And this means the extra work you need to do — not what your coaches are already asking you to do, or suggesting that you do. This means doing all the work, you know deep down in your heart, you need to do. Extra hitting, extra workouts, eating right, getting your rest, sleeping to recover, study hall and tutoring are all examples of the work you need to do. You are competing with the toughest competition you have ever faced. Do the work!!
4. Grow up!
Your parents still love you, but they will not be there to do things for you anymore. You are now responsible for everything that you need on a daily, weekly and forever basis. You got used to your parents doing a lot for you, but they aren’t there to help you anymore. Things like laundry, studying, shopping, cooking, getting a tutor and planning your schedule are all examples. Get ready to become an adult. That’s sort of what college is for, anyway.
5. It’s not about you!
You have gone from being the best, or one of the best, players on every team you ever played on. Now you are a part of the team and, depending on a lot of things, maybe a big part or maybe a small part, but you are only a part. Learn how to be a good teammate. Learn how to accept a role within the team. Learn how to handle conflict with teammates. Take care of your business in the classroom.
Being a college softball player is an amazing thing, but it requires a great deal of work and sacrifice. Get a head start on the skills listed above and you are well on your way.
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.