What to expect – How to Prepare – Who should attend?
Tryouts can be a daunting experience for 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 I stack up against the competition, am I ready to compete at the required level, and lastly am I trying out for my own personal ambition of my parent’s?
Lets first consider the different levels that exists within the Australian baseball & softball landscape.
- Local club team
- Regional representative team
- State representative team
- Australian national team
Let me start by saying that every player deserves the right to compete for their club level team. Regardless of the player’s ability, at the club level it is the responsibility of coach and player to work hard and improve the ability of every player in order to improve the overall quality of his team. I would like to focus this article at those players who wish to play above the club level in their sport.
What to Expect
When attending a representative, state, or Australian tryout, every player must have a good look at themselves and ask the following questions:
- Am I good enough?
- Have I put the work in?
‘Am I good enough?’ is a rather easy answer if you look at the facts of your game. Do I possess the physical skills necessary to make team such as; arm strength, offense, defense, and a required 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 have put in the hard work to warrant selection. I have been in this game long enough to know there are many parents who will not encourage their child to try out because the parent holds the belief their child will not make the team. If you have worked hard then you must attend, if they have not then trying out is simply as waste of everyones time.
Standard assessments conducted at most representative tryouts
- Running speed (typically 60 yards for baseball) or baseline
- Throwing velocity off the mound, across the infield, and from the outfield
- Bat speed most often taken hitting off a tee
- Defensive ability including making routine plays and more difficult plays
- Game awareness: does the player know where to be on the field at all times
The first 3 points are purely objective. At Diamond Dreams, all players who work with us over an extended period are tested regularly to tract progress. This holds both the player and coach accountable for the work being put in during our sessions. This also allows the player to realistically compare themselves to their competition. Many of our clients can anticipate just how well they will perform at the tryout even before the step on the field.
How to Prepare
Knowing how the tryout will be run is important. Every player knows the areas of their game they can improve upon and what level is required in order to make the team. Simply taking a few swings before the tryout or playing catch is not good enough if you wish to be the best. 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 players trialing at that position. It does not work that way. Selectors generally take the best athletes. So stick to the position you feel you perform the best at and show the selectors how athletic you can be. Coaches can always move you later on. Play to your strength’s, not the weaknesses of the competition 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 must be considered. Players who show better than average physical skills or players having outstanding seasons are the ones who should attend the tryouts of the next level of representative competition. Parents, do not send your child to a tryout simply to fulfill your own personal gratification. This happens far too often.
Players who are either encouraged by their coach to attend and have been as specifically 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 be noticed. It is a privilege to play, not a right! It is not your right to be selected for a representative team but an honor. The honor comes with hard work, dedication, and the piece of mind knowing you worked harder than the rest of your competition. If you have failed in this way you should not attend.
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 favorably with your competition the get yourself to the tryouts and GOOD LUCK!