What Do College Softball Coaches Want-2015?

coach making notes for college softball recruitingThree years ago I looked up the college softball recruiting questionnaires for the then top 12 rated D1 softball programs in the country. The idea was to see what college coaches wanted, or at least appeared to, based on the information they asked from their prospects. This could help players make sure their athletic resumes covered all the important points. And it revealed some interesting tidbits about the schools. So I thought it was time to revisit the topic and see what, if anything, in college softball recruiting has changed.

One thing that didn’t change was that I ended up looking up 12 schools instead of 10 because two schools don’t have any sort of recruit forms available. This time it’s the University of Michigan and Florida State that don’t have any online questionnaires for interested players. Maybe it’s just a way to cut down on the number of players they have to evaluate. For Michigan, this is a definite choice by the softball program since other programs do have questionnaires while none of the Florida State programs appear to.

In general, I found the forms pretty revealing. At the schools I looked at, with the exception of Florida State, it appears that each sport is responsible for posting the recruiting form and deciding which questions to ask. It’s also obvious that there are a few companies that provide applications that allow universities and coaches to decide what to include on the forms. This means you can also see how the schools differ in using the same application.

So what sort of conclusions might one draw from these forms about college softball recruiting even granting their limitations?

Apparently high school softball doesn’t count. There were only two topics other than general contact information that all ten schools requested and one of them was your summer/travel/club coach. This compares to only three asking for specific information about your high school coach.

Guess what the other piece of information that all schools wanted? Position? Nope. GPA? Uh-uh. The other thing all schools wanted to know was your graduation year. Believe it or not, UCLA doesn’t ask for the player’s position.

As for GPA, the University of Kentucky was the only college that didn’t ask about the player’s GPA. The Wildcats are interested in more relevant statistics such as ERA, Stolen Bases, Slugging Percentage, and Running Speed. No questions on test scores, intended majors, or NCAA Eligibility ID. And why should they bother asking for information that most of the players are probably too young to provide?

Given that potential D1 softball players are being recruited before they are even get their learners permit, you have to wonder why six schools even bother asking for the NCAA Eligibility ID (yes, I know, transfers). Yet seven institutions still asked for test scores although two of them did ask test dates as well.

Three colleges want to know some form of “who is the best player you’ve competed against?” Another two would like to know which people will be helping you choose a college or have the most influence over that choice. No pressure here.

Several of the forms remind players about the when coaches are able to actually contact them. Tennessee actually asks if the GPA is weighted which makes sense since the NCAA doesn’t use weighted GPAs.

Some of the things they wanted to know just left me wondering how it related to college softball recruiting. Both Georgia and Baylor are interested in your school colors and mascot. What, they think that if your mascot was lower than theirs on the food chain you won’t attend the school?

I was also surprised at the three schools requesting the name and ages of siblings. Are they looking for some sort of genetic pipeline?

Then there’s the University of Alabama’s general information questions. Favorite color (really), best friend, favorite hobbies, favorite candy, and CMT or MTV are some of the things they ask. So that they know that you can play softball. But they don’t care whether the player bats or throw right or left-handed.

The one I found the most interesting was that the University of Florida doesn’t ask what other colleges you’re interested in like five other schools. Instead, they ask what other colleges are interested in you? They don’t bother beating around the bush, do they?

Based on this incredibly limited sample size, softball players might consider adding the following to their athletic profiles/resume:

  • Parents Alma Mater
  • Guidance Counselor Name/Contact Information
  • Links to video and games schedules and keep them up to date!

Players and parents need to be careful out there–it’s easy to lose perspective

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