Athletes Unlimited Scoring System Makes Way To College Softball
The individual-based scoring system brought to the world by Athletes Unlimited this summer was a hit within the softball community. It was such a hit, in fact, that several college softball programs have started to implement it into their fall seasons.
Due to regulations around COVID-19, college programs have had to change their fall softball plans and only have scrimmages to play within their own teams. But, playing against one another every day brings only a pinch of the competitive fire typically seen within players during normal times.
How have some college coaches brought back that level of competitiveness? By using the unique scoring system debuted by Athletes Unlimited this summer.
University of Florida head softball coach Tim Walton loves the values of winning games and innings that the scoring system presents.
“I just love the idea that we can engage our people for longer in our scrimmages, as opposed to just playing orange and blue (games), you have a winner and a loser,” Walton told Softball America in a phone interview. “One would say that now players might become more selfish potentially and do things for themselves. But again, the value of winning is still in this Athletes Unlimited concept.”
Meanwhile, Beth Mullins has seen a new side to her Troy University softball team after bringing the Athletes Unlimited scoring system to her program's scrimmages. Mullins brought the idea to her players and they were all in after seeing it this summer on TV.
“It’s trying to be creative and keep your kids competitive,” Mullins said. “You try to bring that out in practice as much as you can, but there’s nothing really like competing against somebody on an opposing team. We had our first scrimmage and it was awesome. It was the most competitive I’ve seen our kids in the fall in years.”
Walton and Mullins have each added to the scoring system and put more emphasis on certain aspects of the game in how they score things. Walton was able to use Morgan Howe, an Athletes Unlimited player and Florida manager, as a resource for the things she preferred in the scoring system. Mullins has always focused on pitching and defense with her teams, so she’s included more point categories related to those parts of the game.
Even when regular fall seasons return, Mullins thinks the influence of Athletes Unlimited is here to stay within her program.
“It’s a small sample size, but our scrimmages have opened my eyes,” Mullins said. “When you get these kids to compete, that is the ultimate goal. That competitive spirit came out from them, and that was great to see. I think this is something that’s going to stay around awhile.”