Tryouts can be a daunting experience for both players and parents. There are many things to consider before taking to the field such as;
- What level of play is required to make the team
- How do you stack up against the competition
- Are you ready to compete at the next level
- Are you trying out for your own personal ambition or your parent’s
Let’s first consider the different levels that exist within the Australian baseball & softball landscape.
- Local club teams
- Regional representative teams
- State representative teams
- Australian national teams
I believe every player deserves the right to play and compete at the club level. Obviously there are many grades that a player can compete at depending on the club and team they are involved with. At club level, the primary focus is to improve the players on an individual basis and therefore improving the overall quality of play from the team perspective. This provides players with a platform to more to the next level.
What to Expect
When attending a representative tryout, every player must take a good look at themselves and ask the following questions:
- Am I good enough?
- Have I put the work in?
Whether you’re good enough is a rather easy question to answer if you are honest about your ability. Do you possess the physical skills necessary to make team such as arm strength, offense ability, defence ability, and an above average knowledge of the game?
Be realistic about your own abilities. I am a firm believer that you should only tryout out for a team if you honestly believe you are good enough to be on the team, and provided you have put in the hard work to warrant selection. I have seen many parents discourage their kids from trying out because the parent feels that their child will not make the team. If you have worked hard then you must attend. If they have not then you are simply wasting your time.
Standard assessments conducted.
- Speed; typically 60 yards for baseball OR running the bases.
- Velocity; from the mound, shortstop to first base, and right field to home plate.
- Bat Speed: typically hitting off a tee.
- Defence: taking fungo on balls hit right at you, to your right and left, and coming on on the ball.
- Awareness: do you know where to be on the field at all times.
The first 3 points are purely objective. At Diamond Dreams our clients are tested regularly to tract this progress. This holds both the player and coach accountable for the work being put in during our sessions. From this ongoing testing you should know how you reasonable compare against your competition. Possibly you need to put in some more work. Over the years our clients have performed exceptional well at tryouts. They are prepared for the tryout before they even step on the field.
How to Prepare
Knowing how the tryout will be conducted is important. Every player knows the areas of their game that they can improve upon. Simply taking a few swings before the tryout or playing catch is not good enough if you wish to be at your best. And aiming to be the best should always be your priority. If you are a short stop for example, and you believe there are no outfielders trying out, do not try out as an outfielder simply due to the lack of player’s trailing at that position. It doesn’t work that way. Selectors generally take the best athletes. So stick to the position you feel that you perform best at and show the selectors how athletic you can be. Coaches can always move you around the field later on.
Play to your strength’s, not the weaknesses of the competition when in a tryout environment.
How should attend
Who should attend is a question that should be asked more than it is. While younger players cannot be realistically accessed simply by a participating in a trial or game situation, all factors must be considered. Players who show better than average physical skills or players having outstanding seasons are the ones who should attend the tryouts. Parents do not send your child to a tryout simply to fulfil your own personal gratification.
Players who are either encouraged by their coach to attend need be there. Representative competition is not for players who would like to play, it is for those who have worked hard and deserve to play. It is a privilege to play, not a right! Consider it an honour to represent your region, state, and country.
If you are striving to be the best, you need to assess where you rank against your competition. You must have a solid understanding of the physical numbers you are capable of achieving, and if those numbers compare favourably with your competition then get yourself to the tryouts and GOOD LUCK!