What Coaches Look For At Baseball Tryouts
Baseball Tryouts Are Stressful
Trying out can be an overwhelming experience for young players. Often times they are trying out for more than one team over the course of several days and/or weeks. Each coach asks them to perform a different set of tasks and then judges them on their performance. This can be taxing on young players emotionally with the added pressure to succeed.
Not making a team can sometimes crush a player’s ego and take away from their desire to play the game. Coaches know this but unfortunately there are only so many spots on the team. Coaches also have the responsibility to fill the roster with players they feel will give them the best chance of success.
This post is designed to relieve some of that pressure for players trying out for Eclipse Baseball Club and hopefully help them with any other baseball teams they tryout for in the future.
Types Of Things Coaches Look For
There is no “cookie cutter” set of skills that will help you to make every baseball team. Each coach and each team will have a different set of skills they are looking for in a player at try outs. There are several types of skills coaches may be looking for and I will go over a few below.
Positional Skills: Some teams are looking for a certain set of skills such as to fill a certain position they have open. An example of this would be if a team needs a Catcher. They would be looking for the skills that would make a good catcher such as blocking balls, receiving pitches, and a hard throw to Second Base. Players should review positional skills they are trying out for and work on these skills before hand.
Current Ability: If coaches are not looking to fill a certain position they may be looking for overall baseball skills. This may include things like throwing velocity and swing mechanics. It may also include game IQ and knowledge of the game. Players should work to ensure their mechanics are good.
Non Coach-ables: You know that saying: You can’t coach 6’5, yeah it’s something like that. Some coaches (especially at the older age groups) will be looking for player size, strength, and speed. Not much you can do to change these but it’s good to be aware of. As players get older they should begin strength training and speed conditioning.
The best thing you can do as a player is to contact the coach before the tryout and ask them what types of things they will be looking for. This will give you an advantage over the competition that is coming in without that knowledge. It will also put you a notch above in the coaches book as someone who is serious about playing for them and willing to work toward your goal. Coaches love a player who goes the extra mile.
What Eclipse Coaches Look For
Eclipse Baseball Club looks for a very unique set of skills in our players. We are at the current age group (8 and 9 year olds), that their baseball skills are not super important. Most of the players are still learning the basic mechanics and rules of the game as they go. We feel that at this age group baseball skills are not the most important thing to look for as most of the kids have not been taught the proper way to do things yet. If players have had good coaching in the past it is a big plus but we feel it is our job to teach players the proper mechanics. To make our team, you do however need to posses a basic set of baseball skills that we can build upon.
Catching: Players must be able to consistently catch a thrown ball. Players must be able to move to a ball thrown off target and make a catch.
Throwing: Players must be able to throw a baseball with power and accuracy. Players must be able to make a throw across the infield and hit their target (baseman).
Fielding: Players must be able to field a basic ground ball. Players should show the ability to move to a ball and stop it. They should finish the play with a good throw. If play is not made cleanly, players should stick with it and finish the play.
Hitting (Contact): Players must posses the ability to hit the ball. Strike outs kill offenses and coaches are looking for players that will get their bat on the ball. Hitting line drives is a plus.
So you are probably wondering if we are only looking for basic baseball skills than what are we looking for? There are quite a few things that we will test and are looking for specifically. Players who posses these skills will do great in our baseball tryouts.
Speed: We will test players for quickness. Usually this means running to a designated mark and back while being timed. This tests your ability to start quickly off bases and change direction in a base running situation such as tagging up. Top speed is not a big concern and we will get to the reason we time players later.
Mobility & Agility: The ability to move in any direction quickly and athletically. We test this by throwing a ball in several direction and letting the players move to the ball. This simulates game type situation in both infield and outfield.
Improvement: The reason we always give players 2+ tries at each drill is two fold. One is because players may be nervous a bit so the first time through loosens them up. Also coaches will give the player a chance to do better the second time through. If one of the coaches gives you a tip to work on they will be looking to see if you implement it the second time through.
Attitude: Along with improvement a second time through shows a lot about a players attitude. If a player was unsuccessful the first time coaches will be looking for player to remain positive in his second try. Giving up is something you never want to do in a try out. Remain positive, ask for another rep if you think you need one and can do better. “I’ve got this coach, give me one more!”
Competitiveness: Coaches are looking for players that want to win and like, no love to compete. We want on our team, players that not only want to improve to beat themselves and the last rep they did but also want to learn and improve to be the best on the field. This is the reason we time players in addition to tracking improvement. I love it when a kid asks me if he’s the fastest afterwards and usually the kid asking is the fastest!
Tips To Help You Make Any Baseball Team You Try Out For
- Practice – You shouldn’t ever show up to a tryout cold and if you do, don’t expect to do well. You should practice catching, throwing, hitting off the T a few days before. Then practice again a hour or so before on the day of if possible. Then get to the try out early and warm up right before try outs.
- Go Hard, Always – It’s better to go hard to that bad hop and knock it down but not field it cleanly than to sit back and wait on the ball. Coaches like to see players “Hustle” and work hard every play. Be aggressive in everything you do on the field.
- Arrive Early, Leave Late – Sometimes this has more to do with the parents and their schedule than the kids work ethic at this age. However arriving early shows the coach that you’ll probably be on time to practices and games in the future. Afterwards stay a moment and talk to the coach. Don’t ask how you did especially in front of other players. This puts the coach in an awkward position. Instead, ask him what you think you could improve on. This will show you are serious about your game and respect the coach’s opinion. It will also help to establish a personal connection by making the coach recall your at bats, etc. and will help re-enforce a positive memory of your performance as coaches will often times tell you something you did well with their advice.
- Try Again – If you don’t make the team, try out again! Usually teams hold more than one try out per season. If you don’t make the team the first time, you can work on the things you think you need to improve and come back looking better the second time.
I hope these tips will help you make the team whether it is with us at our Eclipse Baseball Club Tryouts or with another baseball team!
Coach & Manger