It’s that time of year that all of us in baseball dread…TRY OUT WEEK! I can attest that no one involved with travel baseball actually enjoys this time of year.
As a coach, it is extremely difficult to base decisions on players from just a few reps in a showcase setting. Also, with so many more options for players out there these days, it’s often difficult to get players to commit to a team in timely manner, which creates a lot of moving parts.
As a parent, you can never get the amount of information on a program, team or coach that you’d like to before making a commitment. You have to do your best digging, but ultimately you’ll have to take the coach’s and organization’s word on their philosophy and how your son or daughter fits into it.
As a player, a showcase tryout can be a harrowing experience if you’ve not gone through it before. With many kids competing for a small number of roster spots, it’s understandable to feel pressure.
I’ve been asked a lot of questions leading up to this week, so I wanted to share with you a few tips for both parents and players.
Travel Baseball Tryout Tips for Parents:
- Write down a list of criteria that matter most to you in order of importance. These can be things like coaching philosophies (i.e. equal playing time vs. playing time based on performance, etc.), organizational philosophies (i.e. practice and development focused vs. game and tournament heavy focus, etc.), or team atmosphere (i.e. serious, extremely competitive vs. fun, loose environment, etc.).
- Cast a wide net, and try out for several organizations. This will take some pressure off your son or daughter, and will also give you more opportunities to find a team that is a close match to your criteria above.
- Find out as much as you can about each team and organization that you are trying out for. Reach out to parents and players within the organization or who have been a part of the team in the past. Most teams require current players to try out for the following year. This may be a good opportunity to ask questions of the parents.
- Nothing will shape your son or daughter’s experience more than the coaching staff. There are many travel ball organizations out there that offer a lot of great resources to their players like training facilities, off-season workouts, and assistance with college recruiting. All of this is fantastic, and should help you in your decision, but NOTHING will have a greater impact on your son or daughter than the coaching staff of the team they choose. Choose wisely!!!
Travel Baseball Tryout Tips For Players:
- Understand what coaches are looking for. Yes, they are looking for raw talent, that is true. They are also looking for players who have great attitudes, hustle on and off the field, and come prepared. Be the player that jumps up first when asked to do something. Make yourself stand out and be noticed.
- Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to a coach and tell him or her why you want to be a part of their team or program (when opportunity presents itself).
- Stay loose, and be ready when it’s your turn. Depending on the amount of players at the tryout, you may be waiting a while before your chance. If you need to do some extra stretching, running or take some dry cuts to stay loose, make sure you do that.
- Leave it all on the field. You only get a few chances to show a coach what you can do, so you might as well give it all you’ve got! Run as hard as you can, hit the ball as hard as you can, and throw the ball as hard as you can. Tools are what coaches want to see in this format.
- Don’t get down on yourself if you make a mistake. If you boot the first ground ball to you, it’s not the end of the world! Show positive body language and act like you want another ball and want to make the next play. Errors and mistakes happen, but coaches want to see how you react to them, and if you have the mental makeup to bounce back from them.
- Last, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!! If you’re genuinely having a good time out on the field, you will play better and you’ll project confidence and coachability to the decision makers.
Good luck to all of the Indianapolis area baseball players trying out over the next couple weeks!!! If you have any other questions on trying out or would like some help in getting prepared, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.