Tips For High School & College Baseball Tryouts
Baseball tryouts can be daunting and feeling nervous or anxious is normal, especially if you are trying out for a new team or a new school. But what is important to remember is that you already have the skill and the will to play the game. Otherwise you wouldn’t be trying out.
When talking with coaches, they will tell you that yes, being able to play the game and play it well is important, but there are other factors they are looking for as well. Here are some helpful tips on what coaches are looking for at baseball tryouts.
- Prepare Ahead Of Time
Don’t walk into a tryout rusty. If it has been a while since you last swung your bat or threw the ball around, get some practice swings in or play catch a couple of times before the tryout. If you don’t have anyone to throw to, find a flat wall to bounce balls off of and practice fielding grounders and short hops.
Also make sure you are in decent game-shape. Practice getting good leads off a base and getting quick jumps. Running a couple short sprints a couple days before tryouts can make a small, but effective difference. Check out our training hub for some quick and easy drills you can do to get back in game shape before your tryout.
- First Impressions Are Everything
If you are trying out for a new team or school this year, remember that you will most likely be playing with teammates that don’t know you yet, and a coaching staff that is not yet familiar with you. You might know that you are a baseball player, but your new coach doesn’t. So make sure you not only show up looking like a ball player, but a clean ball player. Come to the tryout in a clean pair of baseball pants, a good practice jersey or athletic shirt, and wear a clean ball cap FORWARDS (there will be time to show off your personality with a backwards or sideways cap after you have made the team).
Make sure you are organized too. Pack up all of your equipment in your bat pack the day before so you already know where all of your gear is ahead of time.
Oh, and most importantly: SHOW UP EARLY. Nobody ever missed out on a chance to play baseball because they were early, but plenty of opportunities have been missed because someone showed up late.
In short: Be Clean. Be Organized. Be Punctual.
- Your Attitude and Demeanor Matter
As we stated earlier, new coaches and teammates don’t know you yet, so it’s important to show that you will be a positive influence on the team.
If the tryout isn’t going the way you want it to, maintain a positive attitude. Did you miss a flyball? Ask the coach for another opportunity. Asked to do some conditioning? You are happy to do it. Coaches will take notice that you were quick to forget about mistakes and quick to jump on what was asked of you.
Also, be coachable. What does that mean? It means maintaining eye contact with the coach when he is speaking to you. It means knowing how to take direction and criticism and not take it personally. If a coach sees you are doing something wrong and talks to you, he is trying to help you better your game. You should take that as a compliment and not a criticism as the coach sees something in you and wants you to be even better.
If you can take direction and advice and use that to take your game to the next level, a coach is most definitely going to notice you and appreciate your work ethic.
- Know Who You Are As A Player
Not everybody is going to be the star of a team. Not everybody is going to be the best home run hitter or the best pitcher. If you are more of a solid contact player, a speed threat, or a defense-first player, let that show in your tryout. Know what your strengths are as a player and let them shine. If you try to be something your not, you end up highlighting the weaker points of your game instead of building up the things that you are great at.
Remember, coaches will take you and play you for what you do well, and they will help you get better in the areas you are lacking. If you know who you are as a player, coaches will know too. And if the coaches know who you are, they can make you an even better ballplayer.
- Have Fun
This one goes without saying. Baseball is a game. And games are supposed to be fun. Coaches want to see your love and passion for the game. And if they see you are having fun working in a tryout, they know you are going to bring your passion to the diamond every single game. So while tryouts can make you nervous, it is not only okay to enjoy it, it is encouraged.
If you can do these simple things, you will easily gain the respect and confidence of any coach.