Now that “Fall Ball” is gearing up, kids and parents around the country are hitting the tryout circuit in search for their next travel ball families for the coming season. Unless you’re blessed with a solid, close-knit team from the previous year with plans on sticking together, you could use some reminders for what’s most important during the tryout process.
- Don’t Talk Bad about Your Past Team(s)
Some families join new teams as “Travel Ball War Vets” with post traumatic travel ball issues that stem from daddy ball, team drama, playing time disputes and the like. Don’t plague your new prospective coaches and parents with every sad story from all the past teams you’ve been a part of. If anyone asks why you’ve moved on, just keep it brief and let them know that it just “wasn’t a good fit” or that you’ve decided that your family wanted to try something different. Negativity, in any form, doesn’t leave a good first impression.
- Parents Can Make or Break a Kid’s Chances
Some coaches won’t admit it, but players can and will often be judged based on the behavior of their parents. Even the remote possibility that you could be “one of those parents,” could be enough to get your kid’s name X-ed from the tryout list. If at the tryout, you’re the one standing by the fence, barking instructions to your kid the entire time, you probably are “one of those parents.” It’s not a good look. Believe me, when the coaches gather to discuss the assemblage of the team, the possibility of your antics being a major disruption during practices and tournament games can and will be held against you.
- Don’t Mistake Good Recruiters for Good Coaches
Not that you can’t have both. There also is absolutely nothing wrong with being a good recruiter of families. However, some parents are under the impression that because a team is assembled with great talent, that the coaching must be top notch or what their player needs to get to the next level.
Unfortunately, some programs or teams are “name brands” that attract many who want to play for them. Don’t confuse a team that’s good at marketing, with a team that will help in the development of your player. Remember: no high school or college coach will ever ask about how well your team did in your youth travel ball career. It simply doesn’t matter. They only care if you know the game and if you can help them win.
Some parents will forfeit playing with a great coach who will teach their kid the game the right way for the hotshot team across town…the one that has figured out a way to gather a bunch of talent to put them on the field, but doesn’t have as much to offer from a coaching standpoint. Some coaches are smooth-talking and charismatic with parents and can convince darn near anybody to join their squad, but who you like isn’t as important as who will help your child get better. If you can find a great coach who is also great at recruiting, then you’re blessed.
Check back next week for more essential tryout tips from guest blogger, Michael McCree. His book GameChanger: The Baseball Parent’s Ultimate Guide, can be found on Amazon.com.
Michael McCree, a former collegiate baseball player, has coached hundreds of youth baseball players through private and team training and continues to have a widespread impact on players and parents alike. He currently coaches in Atlanta, Georgia and other surrounding areas. With a Master’s of Science degree in Sports Administration, his main focus in athletics is geared toward the development and achievement of youth athletes. His work is attributed to his strong belief that youth athletic involvement is an essential tool in the refinement of character.