Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prepare for Youth Tryouts

This one is probably worth a repost this time of year. From 2-23-12....

Little League tryouts are this weekend for several youth organizations in our area. We call them "skills evaluations" because there are no cuts - everyone is placed on a team. It just might not be a Major League team.

For someone like me that has gone through the tryout and draft process as a coach for many years, this article by Chris Sullivan of Seattle's KIRO FM is a fun read. His account of the Mill Creek Little League tryouts is pretty similar to the way things are in our league.

I love tryouts. Baseball is back, and as the saying goes, hope springs eternal. But it can be a nervous time for the kids. So here are some thoughts on how to approach tryouts:
  • Shake off the rust before tryout day. If you want to do your best and show what kind of player you really are, don't let tryouts be your first day playing baseball since last season. Practice hitting and fielding especially. Work out the kinks ahead of time.
  • Dress the part. Show the coaches, many of whom don't know you, that you are a ballplayer. Wear a hat, baseball pants and baseball cleats if possible.
  • Arrive early and warm up - the legs, the arm, maybe even take a few swings in the cage. You don't want to be tight when you're trying to show how athletic you are or how strong your arm is, etc.
  • Be prepared to see coaches with clipboards in hand, sitting all over the field, watching your every move. They are scoring tryouts so they can choose players. Try to ignore them and focus on your game.
  • Coach yourself. As you wait for your turn to perform an activity, remind yourself of what you've been taught about that activity - head down, two hands, bend the knees, close your shoulder - whatever the case may be.
  • Relax. Tension prevents you from being quick, flexible and mechanically sound. Remind yourself to breathe. Shake out the tension. Remember that it's just a game. Dress warmly so you're not shivering with tension.
  • Have fun, but don't goof off. Waiting in line for your turn can be boring, but coaches notice the kids flipping hats and not paying attention. Don't be a hat-flipper. Be a ballplayer.

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