What It's Like To Transfer From The JUCO To NAIA Level
Sidney Smith started her college softball career at Cisco College, a small junior college in Texas, before transferring to Bethel College in Kansas to play at the NAIA level.
Softball America spoke with Smith about her journey in college softball thus far and why she chose to go from the JUCO level to the NAIA level.
See below for SA's full interview with Smith.
Softball America: What experiences did you have at Cisco that were beneficial to your college career?
Sidney Smith: I consider my two years at Cisco some of the most important years of my life so far. Being a junior college athlete is not an easy task and I learned that very fast. Being at Cisco taught me to work hard no matter the circumstances, to always be kind because you never know what others are going through and to leave it all on the field.
SA: What decisions contributed to you deciding to play NAIA softball at Bethel College?
SS: Bethel College was the first four-year school I visited in my recruiting process. I had other visits lined up down the road, but I just fell in love with the school. The campus itself is beautiful and the school has an excellent psychology program. Another big deciding factor was a former teammate. The only reason I am at Bethel is because I have a former teammate who helped me get in contact. Now I get to play with a former teammate who is a really good friend and I found my home.
SA: What are the differences and similarities between the recruiting process at a JUCO versus an NAIA school?
SS: The biggest difference between my two recruiting processes would be technology. When I got recruited by Coach Prickett (Cisco College), he found me at a local tournament, introduced himself and the rest is history. However, with Bethel, I had to advertise myself online to coaches. There was a lot of film being posted and emailing of different coaches.
SA: In your experience, what are some of the major differences between JUCO and NAIA softball?
SS: The rules are the biggest difference between being a JUCO athlete and an NAIA athlete. JUCOs do not have very many rules on practice periods or how many hours a week you can practice or workout. However, in NAIA there are many rules. Our fall season is six weeks of instruction. So after those six weeks, we as individuals and as a team are responsible for our practices. We are also expected to lift and condition on our own during this period. It is a very interesting contrast to coming from a JUCO because we were practicing and working out almost 24/7.
SA: What has been your favorite part about getting to play for multiple schools?
SS: I think my favorite part so far has been the connections I have made. I made some of my best friends at Cisco and I thought I would never have relationships like that again. I was so wrong. I have made so many more meaningful relationships and connections at this school. I love being able to call up my old teammates to talk and catch up.
SA: What advice do you have for high school athletes aspiring to play college softball?
SS: Be able to play as many positions as possible. Do not let any coach make you specialize. I cannot tell you how many positions I have been asked to try in college. I came in as a pitcher only, ended up playing a lot of second base and even spent time in the outfield. Be athletic and be consistent.