Tips for a successful tryout

High school tryouts are coming up in a few short weeks, and with them often come a lot of nerves. (Also a lot of sore muscles as many schools seem to be obsessed with trying to run the not so serious players out of the program before they contaminate the rest of the players).

Sure, you want to show well in a tryout. Who wouldn’t? If you’re an incredibly talented player with monster skills, odds are you’re going to show well no matter what. For the rest, however, you need to put a little extra effort into standing out above the crowd. That’s what this post is about — some ways to make your tryout a little more successful. There are no guarantees, of course, but at least you’ll know you took your best shot.

  1. Hustle everywhere, all the time. Think of how most players are. They drag themselves from station to station, doing what’s required — and no more. If you hustle everywhere, you’ll look more like a player, the type the coaches can work with and who will find a way to make a contribution.
  2. Show 10X enthusiam. Ok, I admit I stole that one from Dale Carnegie, via my friend (and Carnegie trainer) Mary Eggert. That doesn’t mean you have to jump up and down and act like a fool. But it does mean paying attention when the coach talks, giving your all with each repetition, encouraging other players, and generally looking like you’re happy to be there and love the game. If it comes down to a choice between a player with 10X enthusiasm and one who’s moping around, which one do YOU think the coach will take?
  3. Show all your skills. Let’s say you’re hitting, and the coach says to start with a few bunts. Lay down three or four, and then ask if he/she would like to see your slug bunt, or drag bunt, or push bunt, or whatever other bunt you can do. If you’re swinging away, demonstrate your bat control by saying you’re going to hit to the opposite field now, and then do it. Pitchers should always show the pitches they can throw, starting with the changeup. Sure, at a lot of high schools they just line everyone up and pick the fastest one. But you never know — you may leave an impression that helps for the future. Having skills but keeping them in your pocket does you know good. Demonstrate your versatility, and perhaps the coach will see the possibilities adding you to the roster brings.
  4. Say hello to the coaches. Most players, especially high school age ones, tend to be very tight-lipped around the coaches. So a simple “Hi Coach!” can help you stand out without looking like a big brown noser. Despite what people think, coaches are people too. They might keep you around just so they have someone to talk to on the bus.
  5. Do something memorable. That doesn’t mean drop your pants or anything like that. But if you’re in a scrimmage situation, look for an opportunity to make something happen. Laying down a surprise bunt, or better yet pulling off a slug bunt, is a good one. If you’re on base and can do it, steal a base. On defense diving for a ball always looks good. Just make sure you’re diving to give extra effort, and not because you were late going after the ball.

Those are my ideas. How about you? Do you have any tips to add for players? I have just one more piece of advice. 

Think of tryouts as an opportunity to succeed rather than to fail and you’ll do just fine. Especially if you get some practice time in before the actual tryout date. Good luck!


About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on February 5, 2011, in General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I would like to add – Be prepared. Don’t stay up all night at a sleep over, if you have try outs the next day. And don’t be late.Check your ball bag. Cleats? Glove? Bat? Water? Do you have your ball pants, belt, hat (if you are male) visor or way to tie your hair back, (if you are female)?Turn your cell phone off. Take off all jewelry.And make sure not to leave, until everything is carried to the coach’s car.


  2. The first things I look for; being ready. If practice starts at 3, dont be getting your equipment out of your bag then. Be on the field ready to go at three. Better yet, be on the field stretching, preparing to practice. Have your gear with you or close at hand. Most important – be motivated. Ken sent me a Yogi Berra quote once when I asked him his view on motivating. “I don’t motivate players, I pick motivated players”. I can’t tell you how true that is. Picked a player once because I remembered her from a team we had played. She was clearly motivated, she hustled, worked at a task, was ready to go. She has been a gem.


  3. Great article and comments. Agree with them all.


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