By Eric Johnson
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. They’re going to think that everyone will be a little rusty. Surprise them. Ideally, you’ve already started your workouts. If not, get in the gym. Get stronger and faster. Call your friends and start getting live hacks in. Pitchers, get on the mound and throw to real hitters. Hitters, 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 a game face. 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.
- 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, don’t try to hit the long ball. Understand what you’re good at, slap the ball on the ground, and show off your raw talent. If you’re a finesse pitcher, don’t try to throw the ball as hard as you can. Stick to your game. Be disciplined and pitch, don’t throw. Don’t forget who you are as a player. Take a deep breath, slow the game down, and play.
Best of luck with tryouts!