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Every spring season, youth leagues, middle schools, colleges, and even the professionals have baseball tryouts. Tryouts are designed to evaluate players from previous seasons as well as newcomers. The coaches use the data from tryouts to help form leagues and rosters on teams. Coaches have the players hit, field, throw, even run the bases to get an overall sense of that player’s ability. It is an exciting, yet stressful time for the players and coaches, no matter what level you play at.
If your youth baseball player has attended a tryout in the past few years, you should be aware of the format and what to expect. But if your son or daughter has never tried out before, here are a few things to know about what goes on at a baseball tryout and some tips on how to get the most out of your player’s tryout.
- In the weeks leading up to tryouts, evaluate your baseball gear. Some players haven’t picked up a bat or glove in months. Kids grow out of uniforms and gloves. Youth baseball leagues on the national level have rules changes for helmets and bats. It is smart to be prepared with the proper gear prior to tryouts. Check with your league for what you need to bring to tryouts. Some leagues provide bats, helmets, etc. so all you need to bring is your glove.
- My advice is to show up 15 to 20 minutes prior to your time slot. Leagues post times on social media, email marketing, their websites, etc. Get a sense of what the different tryout segments are by watching other players hit, field, throw, run, etc. Get into a baseball mindset for your turn. By the way, being nervous is perfectly normal.
- The coaches will have a clip board with everyone’s name on it that is trying out. There are columns for hitting, fielding, throwing, maybe athleticism and running. Each league differs as to what they are evaluating but the main ones are hitting, fielding, and throwing. The player’s name is called and they enter a batting cage or designated fielding area. Then, the player is scored based on their skill level.
- Players are evaluated on hitting in a batting cage with either live pitching or a pitching machine. Usually, the player gets 5 to 10 swings to show their ability to hit. Encourage your player to make good contact with the baseball. Don’t overswing to impress the coaches. Coaches are looking for swing mechanics, bat speed, and contact. They honestly don’t care how far the ball goes.
- For the fielding segment, the coaches will hit or toss ground balls and fly balls to the player. They are looking for good fielding technique, fielding the ball cleanly, then an accurate throw to the coach. Physical errors happen all the time in baseball, so don’t feel like one error will doom your chances. Just do your best. If you miss one, shake it off and get the next one.
If your son or daughter is trying out this spring for a Rhode Island baseball league, I wish them the best of luck. Be prepared with your baseball gear. Try your best. Compete against yourself, don’t try to do more than what you are capable of. Make good contact in the hitting portion. Hustle to the next station. Be baseball ready. Coaches are looking for physical skills as well as those intangibles like hustle and attitude. And if your tryout doesn’t go as you thought it would, use it as motivation for this season. Improve on what you need to work and continue to get better as a baseball player. Once again, good luck to all those trying out this Spring.