The offseason for a college softball player is the fall semester August – December. When a freshman sets foot on campus, her life is about to greatly change when it comes to time management, responsibility and number of hours you are working out/playing softball. The different things you have to time manage for in the fall are:
- Study hall hours
- Lifting weights/conditioning
- Hours you go to class
- Hours you are studying on your own outside of study hall
- Softball Practice
- Social Time
- Recruits coming in
Every university is different. I’ll give you a little insight as to what my schedule was like when I played at Texas A&M.
Coming into the fall season, right when school begins, most schools have a conditioning test to make sure that the players were doing work over the summertime. It’s usually a pretty big deal, as it’s the first glimpse at the team to see who put in time and effort over the summer to become better. I feel like during the conditioning test you learn a lot about your team; you even learn who are going to be the leaders. Not only did we have a conditioning test (ours was called the Gasser test), but we also had to get tested on our bench press max, vertical max, agility time, squat and deadliest. For the freshman, the first time you get all these numbers, it is used as a baseline. For the sophomores, juniors, and seniors, this number is used to monitor and compare to make sure you’re getting stronger, and once again, to make sure you worked out over the summer. For those sophs-seniors, if they did not come back in shape and pass all their tests, then they had to go to what we call Club Del Ray (our strength and conditioning coach’s name was Ray). CDR are extra workouts during the week first thing in the morning in the fall to get you BACK into shape…preparing you for season coming up in the spring.
As a freshman we were required 8 hours of study hall a week. This study hall takes place usually at night between the hours of 6-10. Those were the most popular hours athletes were getting in their study hall time. Athletes of all sports – football, basketball, volleyball, etc. You go, check in, get work done, check out and leave. The way you get out of study hall hours, is to keep a high enough GPA. At your freshman year, if your GPA is high enough, you will no longer be required to go to study hall on an hourly weekly basis. If your GPA drops at any time during your 4-5 years playing softball, then you’ll be required to go back.
As a freshman, we were required to live on campus. When I was there, we had to live with someone from a different sport; I lived with a golfer. Now, the girls at A&M generally live with another softball player their freshman year, and they still live on campus.
A typical “full time” course load is 12 hours. As a general rule, 3 hours = 1 class. So in any given semester, you’re taking at least 4 classes. Some players will take 15 hours (5 classes) depending upon how heavy the classes are and knowing how much required work will go into them.
Softball practice is a little different in the fall. During the fall, you will have about a month (the coach can decide when this takes place) of team practice. This means that the team will practice every week day from certain hours, say 3-6, and everyone gets to be out there together. Other than that month of team practice, you are doing what is called Individuals. Individuals are much more limited, as every player is allowed only 4 hours with the coaching staff per week. This is tough, especially for pitchers who hit, because you have to split up 3 things during that 4 hour week: hitting time with coaches, pitching time with coaches and defensive time. Now remember, the team practice time and individual time are limited based on the coach requiring you to be there. Outside of that required time, you can, and are encouraged, to get more work on your own.
Typical day of individuals:
6:30-7:00 – Wake up, eat breakfast
8:00-12:00 – Going to 2-3 different classes on campus, eat a snack before lift
12:30 – Weight room lift
5:00-6:00 Hit/Pitch on your own
Go home, regroup
6:00-8:00 Study hall
Home for dinner, then sleep
OR maybe it looks like this…
Typical day with Team Practice:
6:00 Team lift/Run
Eat lunch, go home, relax, maybe study a little more, run any errands
3:00-6:00 (0r 7:00) – Team Practice
Go straight from team practice to study hall
7:00-9:00 Team Practice
So that is just a basic schedule for a freshman, and everyone’s will vary based on class times during the day. The weekends in the fall are generally reserved for recruits to be coming into town (you hang out with the recruits as a team) and also reserved for football games! In that 1 month I told you about in the fall where you have team practice, you will also played around 10 games. Could be a little less or more. These games could be against anybody – Blinn Junior College or Texas State University. They will vary. They generally will be games with teams that are from close by to limit travel since and also teams that are not in your conference.
What’s your biggest worry about playing softball in college? What do you get most excited about when it comes to playing softball in college? Do you have any questions for me? — go ahead, ask below!