Apr 12, 2023 • 6 min read
Softball season is here and that means that tryouts are right around the corner. For many of our young players, making their youth softball team is a top priority.
Every coach and league manager is interested in hosting a successful tryout. And one way to accomplish this is by preparing each and every athlete involved. Here are 10 tips to share with your incoming group of athletes to help them show off their best skills at tryouts. This should be provided to registrants in the days or weeks leading up to the big tryout day.
Providing incoming athletes with early guidance is also a great way to indicate to parents and coaches that you’ll be running a league that cares about every member involved.
Preparation is key. There’s a saying, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” That certainly can hold true at tryouts. One of the best ways to prepare is by loading up on training before the day of tryouts. On the day of, you want to be well-versed in what is expected of you, how many spots are available, and what the coaching staff is looking for. Another thing that falls into adequate preparation is getting your mindset ready for a long day of evaluation.
On the day of tryouts, you want to make sure you arrive early enough to get signed in, given the appropriate apparel and rundown. It’s not a good look to ever show up late, but on a day based on evaluation, don’t leave your commitment and accountability up for question. Leave enough time to travel to the location. Showing up early can help you take a few moments to collect your thoughts before showtime.
If you are trying out for a sport that requires certain apparel and equipment, like softball, make sure you show up looking like a softball player! That means a softball jersey or athletic shirt, softball pants, socks, appropriate shoes (or cleats if outside.) Other pieces of equipment include a batting helmet, bat, softball glove, most likely an extra softball or two, plus water. Softball requires certain equipment given the position, so make sure that if you are a catcher you are fully ready to play that position.
Coaches want to coach players who are eager to learn and give 100 percent effort. Be coachable on the day of tryouts. Take the information the coaches are giving you and run with it. Ask questions if necessary and work as hard as you can. Coaches look for hard work and effort. Players that put their heads down and do the work are incredibly coachable.
It’s easy on the day of tryouts to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Don’t let the atmosphere take you out of your own game. Focus on the skills that you are great at and show them off. Even if the pace is different, the players are new, and everything feels slightly foreign, try to find moments that feel familiar to you. If you play your game and give your all, that’s all anyone can ask for.
There may be moments throughout the tryout that are distracting. Many athletes talk about the coaches with clipboards or the parents if it is an open tryout. Try to demonstrate focus and confidence during the entire duration of the tryout. Focus can look like making eye contact with the coaches when they are giving directions, focusing on the game or drill happening, and being on your toes ready for anything. This shows coaches that you are committed and serious about the sport.
Showing good sportsmanship is essential on any team or sport. Be a good sport when you’re at softball tryouts. Even if a play doesn’t go your way, keep your head up and get the next one. If you lose a game, congratulate the other team and move on. It is perfectly OK to care about winning and your performance, but don’t get so lost in the moment you forget how to be a good teammate. Coaches are looking for players that encourage others, lead others, and handle adversity admirably.
Having fun is one of the most important parts of tryouts. Even though the day is filled with pressure, you should still try and have a good time. Players that have fun at tryouts typically play better because they are less in their own head and more so playing with their heart. Coaches and tryout organizers should also continually stress this on the day of the tryouts, making the entire day more productive for everyone.
Even if you miss a big catch, strike out, or a ground ball rolls through your legs, remain positive. Having a positive attitude is infectious and coaches and other players will likely catch on. Demonstrating a positive attitude is a skill in itself and at tryouts, it is key. Coaches want players who bounce back from difficult moments and smile. It’s certainly fine to show frustration at moments, emotions are part of the game, but keeping a positive outlook is a sign of maturity and a leadership quality coaches look for.
A 3-second memory means acknowledging something didn’t go your way, but not letting it linger and affect the rest of your ability. Many of the best athletes in the world have trained themselves to have a 3-second memory. This helps them focus on the next move, the next tackle, the next throw, and forget about what didn’t go right a few seconds ago. On the day of softball tryouts, not everything will go 100 percent to plan. Don’t let that get you down, instead keep on moving and get the next play.
“By working on your mental game, you will heighten your physical game and take you (as it has done for me) to the next level as a whole.” – Valerie Arioto, USA Softball
Learn more about how TeamSnap for Clubs & Leagues can help you set your youth sports organization up for success from registration to tryouts to gameday. Want to learn more about how to get started with TeamSnap for Clubs and Leagues? Join us in a conversation here!