Coaching Baseball: Tips For Baseball Tryouts

The spring season is just around the corner and baseball tryouts are looming. You or your player has prepared all winter and now it’s time to think about tryouts. So what are coaches looking for at tryouts? What should you be prepared for? In this post, I will dive into some of the less obvious things that we look for when we are selecting a team for high school or even middle school & travel teams. But first…

Be prepared

  1. Wear appropriate clothing. In most parts of the country, baseball tryouts take place toward the end of winter when it’s cold and wet most of the time. Dress in layers with a breathable base layer like Underarmour. You may start the tryout at 3pm when it’s 50 degrees but by the end of the tryout day it can be just above freezing when the sun is low.
  2. Make sure your gear is in check. The last thing you want to do is leave something at home and have to scramble to get it.
  3. Eat and Hydrate. Proper nutrition is needed for optimal performance. Many kids will eat lunch at 11:00am and will not eat anything else till they get home from tryouts at 6pm. Pack a second lunch for after school or at least a cereal bar to hold you over.
  4. Make sure your paperwork is up to date. Many schools/programs require physicals. I hate having to turn kids away because they do not have a physical. Happens all the time.
  5. Talk with an older player. Ask them how this particular coach runs tryouts. Have an idea of what you’re in for.
  6. Train. This is the obvious one. If you know in your heart of hearts that you trained/practiced harder than everyone else, you will compete, you will win. Your confidence will beat the guy next to you.

Baseball Gear Button

On the field intangibles

  1. Be early, be seen. Shake the coaches hand, look him in the eyes and thank him for the opportunity. Be the last one to leave the field.
  2. Look the part. You are a baseball player, dress like a baseball player. Do not show up in shorts or short sleeves. Be sure to wear baseball pants with shirt/jersey tucked in and hat forward.
  3. Hustle. You’ve heard the saying, “It doesn’t take talent to hustle”. Make sure you run (not jog…RUN) to each station, be the first in line to take ground balls, hit, take fly balls, etc. Make it obvious that you want to play more than anyone else.
  4. Get dirty. Lay out for the ball.
  5. Be helpful. Offer to set up and clean up. Most baseball programs are lucky to have one or maybe 2 coaches. They cannot do everything and rely on players to help.
  6. Show positive sporting behavior. Be upbeat, root on the other players and compliment others on good plays or hits.
  7. Be Coach-able. Be willing to make a change in your mechanics or move to a position where the coach feels you may better help the team.

On the field measurables

  1. 60yd Dash. Most baseball programs will use a 60yd dash as a measurable test for running speed. This is a long distance. You should definitely train for this test. But make sure you run in a straight line and run all the way through the finish line. I see many kids veer off the line and slow down by the finish line. Run with your head up. An above average time for a highschooler is 7.2 sec or less. The elite sprinters will run a 6.8 or less and may find themselves stealing bases at the college level.
  2. Throwing. If the test is for arm strength then take a bit more time to transfer and set your feet to make a good strong throw. Throw with back spin on the ball and keep your momentum going toward the target.
  3. Hitting. Driving a ball or two over the fence is definitely impressive. But chances are this will not happen. Be consistent with your swing. Square up on the ball, hit line drives up the middle and show you can hit to opposite field too. Do not try to over do it. Show that you have good mechanics and a solid base. By that I mean a swing that is balance without too many unnecessary moving parts.

What happens when you bobble a ball or drop a pop up?

Failure is a part of the game. As coaches, we look for players that can control their emotions and move on.

It’s tough to watch a player that boots a ground ball then proceeds to take his hat off in disgust with himself. There’s another one coming so be ready! This relates directly to in-game situations. The best players are able to have short memories. They put a mistake behind them, learn from it, let it go and move on.

Are you a coach with a tip for players on baseball tryouts? Share your thoughts below in the comment box.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.