Playing College Softball

College softball
College softball

Softball could be a wonderful stepping stone that may help some kids with College.  In this day and age specially in the area (Bay Area)that we live in, if you don’t already have a start-up idea for the next Google or Facebook or a possible cure for cancer, getting into the top schools could just be a dream.  Good grades alone is not enough to get into the top colleges anymore. Do your kids have aspirations to play College softball?  Are they good enough to play college softball?  If they are, then read along.

Here are some abbreviations you may want to familiarize yourself with.

NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, NJCAA, USCAA.

NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the organization that is dedicated to looking into the welfare of the Student-Athlete and they oversee almost half a million student-athletes in 1200 schools.  They support learning through sports.  They have 3 divisions.  Division I, II and III.

What is Division I, II and III?  What are the differences between the 3 divisions?  Among the 3 divisions, NCAA Division I has the biggest student body and manages the largest athletic budgets.  It has around 350 Colleges and Universities as members.   Division I is required to sponsor at least 7 sports for women and 7 sports for men (or 8 for women and 6 for men).  Division I  has scheduling, participant and contest minimums it needs to meet.  When football is part of the college offering then the college also has to meet 15,000 minimum spectators in a 2 year period.  Usually playing in Div I sport is considered as a first step to enter into professional sports.  To read more on NCAA Division I, click on the link.

Here is a list of NCAA Division I schools that play softball organized in the list by region. Check to see if your favorite college is a Division I school.

NCAA Division II has over 300 Colleges and Universities.  Division II is required to sponsor at least 5 sports for women and 5 for men (or 6 for women and 4 for men).  Their funding is scheduled just like other academic department budgets.

Here is a list of NCAA Division II schools that play softball.

NCAA Division III has over 400 institutions as members.  The Division III schools do not offer financial aid.  Focus is more on academics rather than sports and they have shorter practice and fewer game conflicts with academics.

Here is a list of NCAA Division III schools that play softball.

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NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) is the governing body of small athletic programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.  Their core value that they call “Champions of character” are Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, Servant Leadership.

Here is a list of the NAIA member schools.   Click on Softball and then search to see the schools that play softball.

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NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) is a non-profit organization that wants to promote student athletes with a Christian perspective.  Please read more about them by clicking the link above.  Their belief is:

“Athletics are a means to an end, not the end in themselves.
The process is as important as the performance.
The person (student-athlete) is more important than the program.”

Here is a list of NCCAA colleges in the United States.

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NJCAA (National Junior College Athletics Association): NJCCA specifies “The mission of this corporation shall be to promote and foster junior college athletics on intersectional and national levels so that results will be consistent with the total educational program of its members.”

Check here to see if the Junior College in your area is listed as NJCAA member school.

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USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) claims that they exist to provide small colleges the opportunity to compete against like institutions for National championships and student athlete recognition.

Here is a list of USCAA colleges.

Check out these links to see if your favorite school is in any of these associations.  In this day and age when there is so much junk on television, it is a good thing that your girls are interested in softball or any sport for that matter that will keep them occupied and focused on a goal towards college.

I have overheard many 10u kids say that they want to play for Stanford University as that school is very popular in the area that I live in.  Stanford University invites kids from local leagues to come watch games and makes it a fun day where the kids can ask the college players questions and get autographed posters.  If your little girl has aspirations to play for any of these big schools, good luck to them.  It is a good goal to have and it will motivate them to succeed.

As always thank you for reading.

Last Tournament -Summer 2014

Empty fields
Empty fields

Well summer softball is over!  The dugouts and bleachers are empty. We had our last tournament for this summer 2014 (IFA-VTD West Coast world series tournament) at Stockton for our 12U and 14U teams. It was a 4 day event.  This is the first time we participated in an event like this.  The first day was team building events with our 12U and 14U. Our coaches were like the energizer bunnies, even with the temperature over a 100 degrees, they found a “nice” park (you know this is Stockton) where they did an awesome BBQ event.  The coaches and parents pitched in and made this a really special event for our kids.  We had team building games like dodge ball, red-rover etc.   The kids had so much fun and loved it.  It was more like a vacation than rigorous practices and games.

Stockton-Not Fairyland
Stockton-Not Fairyland

The event was made even more special because our entire team stayed at Hilton, Stockton.  They had very nice facility.  Great rooms (unlike my previous stay in another hotel with paper-thin walls) and amenities like a nice big lounge for kids to hang out and a nice pool made the stay enjoyable.  They also had an area where kids could practice with wiffle balls.  I will have a review for hotels separately.

Hilton Lounge
Hilton Lounge

On Friday we had 2 games that was just friendlies and it was fun for all our kids to try out different positions.  They lost both games but they had fun.  It was also one of the hottest days.  106 degrees!!! made everyone melt.  Ice bags were hot commodities around Stockton.  It was impressive that our kids in 2 teams emptied about 6 to 7 -24 to 36 packs of water.

On Saturday the tournament began and we won both our games which were played back to back.  It was impressive!!! We actually had a cold front-under 100 degrees.  woo..hoo!! In the evening, the kids played in the outdoor pool and we had a special celebration at Spaghetti factory.  We have a very nice set of parents too 😉  They cheered for all the kids regardless of how their own kids played.

Sunday was a different story, we had to only win one game to win the championship but we had a bad day, so we had to play the same team again and lost both games.  So we placed 2nd in the tournament.  It was a little sad (I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was sad) to see the girls lose.  Softball is more than just a physical game!  It is a mental game!

I believe, kids at this age group learn more from losing a game than winning, our coaches and kids were really classy regardless of the outcome.  The coaches didn’t yell or curse at the kids.  I will never forget what one of our coaches said at the end of season talk before handing out trophies.  She said that kids are exactly where they are supposed to be as 12 year olds, if they were perfect and played a perfect game then the coaches wouldn’t know what to do with them.  She said that the kids were all very coachable and that was the most important thing for them to keep improving as a player.  The one thing special about the organization’s goal is more about getting the kids to play college softball by highlighting what skills they are good at rather than winning games.  All kids have to have a 3.0 min GPA to be able to play.

Every “A” ball team has their positives and negatives, and I think parents should try out some teams for their kids and give it some time to learn about how the basic organization operates and if the organization goals and attitudes suits their goals and attitudes and their kids goals.  There is not one team that fits all.  I am not sure if my kids will end up playing college softball, but right now it seems like they are willing to put in more effort into practice and play a good ball game!  When I ask, why do you want to play softball, I still get the answer “It is fun.”

Please check out the travel ball teams in your area, a lot of them will have tryouts in the next two weeks for fall ball.  If you kids are interested, please go try out!

While we have a break from games, I am going to try to catch up on hotel and park reviews and add more softball workouts.

As always THANKS for reading and THANKS for spreading the word to others who love softball.  Counting down to 200 subscribers!