5 Reasons Why DIII Might be the Perfect Fit for Your Softball Player

Before you read this, let me tell you about the author. Hope Johnson just graduated from Lynchburg College and finished her softball career with over 300 strikeouts. She truly is one of my favorite people ever. She has a sweet personality, the best attitude, and is fiercely competitive. Hope could have pitched at any level, but she had priorities that helped her make the right choice for her. Enjoy the article-Denny

1. Academics
First and foremost, regardless of the number behind the D, we are student athletes. Academics are priority when venturing off to college in the first place, so when choosing the school to attend, this may be the student athlete’s deciding factor. Personally, I knew what I wanted to study before I graduated high school, which I was blessed to already have a plan. I also knew that my ultimate goal after college was to attend graduate school at Lynchburg College to receive a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Lynchburg College undergraduate had the best route in order to get me to my ultimate goal, which is where my final decision came into play. Now that I have finished up my softball and undergraduate career, I can reflect back on that decision with much gratitude that I chose an institution with such a wonderful health sciences department. Being an Exercise Physiology major, academics became my job, and for the Division I athlete, this can seem near impossible at times. Although tutors are available and they make it work, there are girls like me who need to sit at home and diligently study in order to succeed in academics. This is why academics is the number one reason why DIII might be the perfect fit for your softball player. Academics come first, and for some girls like me, we get to have our cake and eat it too by getting an excellent education while playing the game we love.

2. Competition level
This may be the one area that I get the most comments about. “Oh you play DIII? So your team isn’t as strong or competitive as DI” is just one type of comment I hear about DIII athletics as a whole. Sometimes I lose my cool at these comments, because if people could see the caliber of athletes that play at this level, that comment would not be uttered again. Because student athletes these days are taking other factors into account when making their decision (like academics), the competition level has grown immensely in the Division III level of athletics. This is why competition level is number 2 on my list of 5 reasons why DIII might be the perfect fit for your softball player. Not only can she accomplish the goals she has outside of softball, she can also experience high levels of skill and competition at a Division III school.

3. Location
Location, location, location. This is a HUGE factor when deciding where to attend college. Whether it’s in-state, out of state, close to home, or as far away as possible, choosing to play at the Division III level allows for a little more wiggle room in this situation. Because athletic scholarships are not offered at this level, athletes can seek out programs they are interested in first, and then hopefully the coaches take interest in them as well. The recruiting process has a lot to do with the location of school, and coaches use this as a recruiting tool. For example, the thought of being able to play softball at a school in my hometown was very appealing to me. The location of Lynchburg College was just one added bonus to choosing to play softball there. This is why location is number 3 on my list of why DIII might be the perfect fit for your softball player.

4. Size
If your daughter is anything like me, then the thought of attending a school to be one of 30,000 students can be quite intimidating. When it was time to make my ultimate decision on which school to attend, school size played a huge role in this. I didn’t want to be just a number. I wanted to go to a school where classroom sizes were 15, not 1500. I wanted my professors to know my name and be available to help outside of class. At the Division III level, we are lucky to be able to have the smaller class sizes and develop relationships with faculty and staff at our schools. There is a hum that resonates throughout campus for athletics at my school, and our small size does not match our huge amounts of pride and support we share for our teams at LC. I am proud to say that I got to be a Hornet for 4 years. To have experienced small, private college life, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is why size is number 4 on my list of why DIII might be the perfect fit for your softball player.

5. Love
Softball was my first love. I fell in love with it the second I could hold a ball. I knew that one day, somehow, I would play at the top level of competition that every little girl dreams about. I also knew that it would be extremely difficult. I had been told the odds were not in my favor in regards to statistics of actually playing at the college level, but I was not going to let that stop me. However, I had to make a choice, and that choice was something that throughout my high school years I thought would have never happened. I chose LC. I never in a million years saw myself going there, let alone playing there, during my high school years of dreaming and goal-setting. But after a long, moaning and groaning car ride home from one of my visits to a small DI school, I agreed (to please my parents) to visit Lynchburg College. We pulled into campus and every step I took during my tour I kept trying to come up with reasons why I could never go there, but those reasons were dwindling. I fell in love with it. My recruit visit was just the same. I knew, without a doubt, it was it for me. So what would you call it? Some would say fate, but I would call it love. Because I love my parents, I agreed to go visit. Because I love my hometown, I wanted to stay here. Because I loved the game, I knew that was where I would spend the last 4 years of my softball career. And this is why love is number 5 on my list of why DIII might be the perfect fit for your softball player. Sometimes it’s just a feeling you get when you step foot on campus. And I am grateful every day for that choice I made 5 years ago.

***Speaking of college camps, Denny will be at the UNCW camp in North Carolina next month. For more information: www.seahawksoftballcamp.com
In July he is at Lynchburg College in Virginia, http://athletics.lynchburg.edu/information/camps/softballcamp

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