Time seems to have flown by. Just a few weeks ago, winter break stretched out ahead of you with a whole month of sleep, plenty of time to hang out with friends, and a well-deserved physical and mental vacation from school and baseball.
But break time is over. For most of you, high school tryouts are right around the corner. No matter if you’re trying out for the freshman team or varsity, you’re probably starting to get some butterflies. Here are a few tips to help you be successful during tryouts:
- Show up in mid-season form. Tryouts are not the time for you to be taking your first cuts of the winter. No coach is going to expect you to be game-ready, but you should be in shape and able to hit the ground running. They’re going to think that everyone will be a little rusty. Surprise them. Ideally, you already started your workouts and conditioning long ago. If not, get in the gym ASAP. Get stronger and faster and make sure you can handle all the running coach may throw at you with ease. Call your friends and start getting live hacks in. Pitchers, make sure you are working towards getting back on the mound with a planned throwing program. Ideally, you should be doing 1-2 weeks of band work and throwing for 4-6 weeks before setting foot on the mound. You don’t want tryouts to be the first time all year that you throw to real hitters. Hitters, try to pair up with a teammate who needs to throw to hitters live and use that opportunity to get your timing down. On the day of tryouts, be as close as you can to the top of your game.
- Know that coaches are watching everything you do. That means absolutely everything, on and off the field. They’re going to watch the way you show up and get ready. They’re going to watch how you warm up and if you’re joking around in the dugout. They’re looking for guys who are ready to compete. They’re looking for someone who takes the tryout seriously and is ready to go. Don’t ever let negative emotion show. You can be frustrated, but don’t take it out by throwing your helmet or glove. If you hit a pop-up in a scrimmage, run hard to first and then head back to the dugout with your head held high. If you give up a homer, keep your chin up and get ready to throw the next pitch. Don’t show defeat. Coaches do not want a pouter or a quitter. They want a gamer and someone who shows they can handle adversity.
- Play your game! This is the most important thing you can do. Tryouts can bring out the best or the worst in people. You will bring out your best if you emphasize your strengths. Tryouts will go badly if you get carried away trying to impress people. If you’re a speed guy, let them see that tool. Have a good arm? Show it off. If your strength as a pitcher is your breaking ball, make sure they come away knowing that. Understand what you’re good at and put it on display so the coaches know that will be an asset to the team. Coaches will be looking to put together a complete team, not a bunch of clones, so stick to your game. Don’t forget who you are as a player. Take a deep breath, slow the game down, and play.
Best of luck with tryouts!