What to Expect at a Travel Baseball or Softball Team Tryout

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I do my best to respond to all the questions we get from readers. I honestly do. But some weeks there are so many! And I’m still working on my self-cloning project.

Occasionally, I’ll run across an unanswered message from months ago and feel a little bad that someone was left hanging. Like baseball mom Anne who, last July, sent a list of questions on what to expect at her son’s upcoming travel team tryouts. A few days later, she wrote back and said “never mind; I got the answers on another site.”

Sorry about that, Anne. But since you brought up the topic of team tryouts, albeit seven months ago, here are some basic expectations, plus answers to other tryout questions we often get from parents.

Lee Everett, veteran baseball coach and co-owner of Richmond Baseball Academy (RBA)West, addresses Anne’s questions and shares his standard tryout procedures below. While his methods are pretty typical, these events can vary as widely as the coaches who host them. For instance, some coaches are talkative and share a lot about their teams, while others communicate very minimally.

1. What are the main skills evaluated in tryouts? 

-Speed
-Physical strength (hitting)
-Arm strength
-Defensive ability “It varies by age really here. Younger guys, you see if they can catch consistently, older guys you look for footwork and mechanics more.”

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget body language, attitude, maturity and manners.

2. Should any info be handed out with background of the team? Many of us go to these not knowing enough about said team. Expectations, team fees, coach’s names, number of planned tournaments, etc….

LEE: “We have one of our owners talk to the parents at the beginning of the tryout while other coaches are working with the kids. We discuss our program, costs, tentative schedules, coaching, our expectations and basically all of the ins and outs of how we do things. We’ll also talk about our tryout process and how long before teams will be formed. We normally don’t address parent behavior or anything like that until after players have made the team. At least not in depth.”

3. Should parents be addressed at the end of tryout? 

LEE: “We talk to them after it’s over, just thanking them for coming and reminding them of the timeline on when the teams will be set.”

4. How should parents hear back from the coach on whether “your child made it / didn’t make it”?

LEE: “We tell them that we will be in touch either by phone or email. If we do send players an email they always have the option to call us with any questions. We keep stats on each player so a lot of times we end up with parents/players that want to call to discuss their stats so they have a goal of what to improve on. We normally contact the players that make it first, make sure they’re fully committed then move on to the players that did not make it. That way we don’t tell them they got cut, then call back a week later because a player backed out.”

Editor’s note: If, at the end of tryouts, the coach hasn’t explained how he’ll notify parents whether their kid did or didn’t make the team, don’t hesitate to ask him. He should give you an idea of what to expect.

5. Should my player wear his/her current travel team jersey to a tryout to show coaches that they’ve had previous travel team experience? 

Editor Response: The general consensus is that coaches don’t really care either way. They’re looking at the kid’s skills as a ball player, not the logo on their shirt. Whatever your kid decides to wear, he or she should dress neatly, like a ballplayer – shirt tucked in, ball pants, cap, belt, shoelaces tied, etc.

Unless a kid is already a member of the team he/she is trying out for, they shouldn’t wear that team’s attire to tryouts. It’s just kind of tacky and comes across as sucking up.

Read 22 Team Tryout Tips from Veteran Baseball Coaches and Instructors

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Angela Weight

Founder and publisher of Travel Ball Parents.com, Angela Weight is still a little shocked to be running one of the most popular youth sports parenting sites on the web. Click the ABOUT US tab to read her story.

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