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How College Coaches Use Analytics for Softball Recruiting | Rapsodo®

How College Coaches Use Analytics for Softball Recruiting | Rapsodo®

March 29, 2024

Softball and Analytics: How College Coaches Use Analytics for Softball Recruiting 

The world of collegiate softball is fiercely competitive, and to continue drawing in the top talent and winning championships, scouting and recruitment strategies have had to evolve. Beyond mere intuition and raw talent evaluation, advanced analytics have become the backbone of recruiting at all levels.  

The University of Oklahoma softball team—16-time Women’s College World Series champions—have transformed their approach to scouting and recruitment. Assistant Coach JT Gasso, when discussing Oklahoma’s softball recruiting tactics, said, “Rapsodo has become a vital part of our recruiting strategy. We rely heavily on Rapsodo data and video to gauge our recruit’s level of performance.”  

However, Oklahoma isn’t the only collegiate program to adopt sports analysis technology and data into their processes. Continue reading to learn more about how softball flight monitors are revolutionizing recruitment and development at all levels of the game. 


The Evolution of Recruiting in Softball 

After the COVID-19 lockdown and significant technological advancements, the process of scouting and recruiting talent in collegiate softball has greatly evolved. Traditionally, scouting relied heavily on in-person evaluations, where coaches attended games and tournaments to observe players’ skills, athleticism, and game intelligence. This approach, while effective, was limited by the subjective nature of human observations, practical constraints of travel and time, and eventually, the worldwide quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When the pandemic restricted travel and sporting events, high school players had to rethink the recruitment process for college-level ball. What started as emails to coaches and updates on social media quickly evolved into at-home flight monitors to collect advanced data. Technologies like Rapsodo’s softball flight monitors allow college coaches like JT Gasso to evaluate players from anywhere in the country, giving them accurate, objective metrics to make their decisions. 


How College Softball Coaches Use Analytics 

The detailed data that sports analysis technology provides has changed the way softball is practiced, played, and coached, and Oklahoma isn’t the only program using it to their advantage. College coaches across the country are using Rapsodo flight monitors to recruit prospects, improve player development, and make game-time decisions.  


Analytics in Softball Recruiting 

After the COVID-19 shutdown, SEC softball coach Samantha Ricketts integrated Rapsodo data into the recruiting practices at Mississippi State University; “It’s an objective measurement for us and a way to compare, especially when we can’t see these kids in person or have them on campus, at camps, or whatever it might be.” At the University of Illinois, pitching coach Lance McMahon uses Rapsodo data to give recruits a number to shoot for, not only assessing their ability to improve but also their willingness to adapt to coach feedback. 

A data-driven approach to scouting allows coaches to assess a player’s potential with greater accuracy and efficiency than ever before. Advanced metrics such as swing speed, pitch velocity, and spin rate provide a more comprehensive picture of a player's abilities than what can be discerned through observation alone. This shift towards analytics has leveled the playing field, giving coaches access to a broader pool of talent and a more objective way to evaluate players.  


Analytics in Player Development

Once part of the team, coaches use advanced analytics and data to help players improve specific parts of their game. When asked why the Mississippi State team uses Rapsodo technology, head coach Samantha Ricketts gave a specific example of how they use analytics to track growth in their players; “The first week, we’ll do an assessment period where we’re screening them on everything from mobility to bat and ball metrics. We’re trying to get a baseline average to help us plan for the next three weeks on what we want to attack. From there, each hitter is going to get an individualized KPI. With the Rapsodo in the cage, it creates a little bit more of a competitive environment and definitely a more focused environment for our hitters.” 

To hear more about how college coaches are using analytics for player development, check out the full webinar featuring Samantha Ricketts, JT Gasso, and Lance McMahon. 


Analytics in Coaching Tactics

Technology like Rapsodo’s can help more than just the players; with advanced metrics at their fingertips, college coaches are finding that they have been able to develop their skills alongside their players. JT Gasso, Oklahoma’s Assistant Coach, said, “Technology has definitely helped hold me accountable. I think moving forward, technology and data will help coaches create better relationships with their players and help them with their development because there will be no guesswork with coaching.” 


While you shouldn’t rely on the numbers alone, Rapsodo data can help coaches determine specific areas for their players to focus on, ensuring that every practice is productive. Patrick Murphy, Head Coach at the University of Alabama, sees analytics as a vital coaching tool, stating, “The data doesn’t lie. With the ease of use of Rapsodo, it is easy to jump in. I recommend it to anyone coaching. If you don’t use it, you may want to start thinking of another career, or people are just going to run you over.” 


The Impact of Analytics on Future Softball Programs

By using the HITTING 2.0 and the PITCHING 2.0, college softball programs can provide instant feedback to their players to improve specific aspects of their game. 3-time National Champion Tiare Jennings said, “I’ve gained a lot of insight from Rapsodo’s data and instant feedback that the hitting monitor provides – it has helped me improve my hitting game immensely.”  


The integration of analytics into softball is not just a fleeting trend—it's reshaping the future of the sport. As technology advances, even more sophisticated data analysis tools can offer deeper insights into player performance and potential. Future softball programs are likely to see a more personalized approach to training, where analytics inform individualized development plans, injury prevention, and game strategies. Analytics will likely become key differentiators during the scouting process, and more coaches will look to the objective insights that technologies like Rapsodo provide to make recruitment decisions. 


Recruit and Train Champions with Rapsodo 

The University of Oklahoma is a perfect example of the game-changing power of Rapsodo analytics. After COVID-19 ushered in new technologies and sports analytics advancements, the Sooners won back-to-back-to-back Women’s College World Series titles in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Plus, Oklahoma has been able to enhance their scouting process, going from the 5th to 2nd best recruiting class in 2020 and 2021, respectively. With real-time data to inform the current players’ training and the potential of future players, teams using Rapsodo can refine their game and their recruiting strategies with unmatched precision.  


To learn more about how Rapsodo can improve your softball game, explore our industry-leading softball flight monitors.. Whether you’re a seasoned pro looking to hone your skills or a coach looking to enhance your recruiting class, Rapsodo provides the ultimate tools for any softball enthusiast looking to take their game to new heights. 

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By Rapsodo Softball

With an unwavering passion for the game and data-driven insights, we're here to inspire and elevate your Softball journey through articles that help you find improvement and excellence.