Of all baseball tryout tips, this might be the most important (and nobody else is talking about it)
There are a lot of good tips out there for how to make the team during a tryout.
Quite a few coaches have put out lists that include things like:
- Be early
- Hustle everywhere
- Look the coach in the eye and say thank you afterwards
- What to wear to baseball tryouts
And these are all important things to remember.
But one of my biggest tips for baseball tryouts is something that I don’t hear many people mention… but if you mess this up, it’s one of the fastest ways to ruin your chances of making the team.
When there’s a lot of competition, coaches are looking for reasons to scratch you off the list
Most of the “tips for tryouts” lists out there are actually more about how to not ruin your chances of making the team.
And that’s very important.
So let’s start by assuming you have the talent and the baseball skills to play for the team.
Here’s the thing…
where players run into trouble is that they forget to look at their performance the way a coach would.
Think about it, if a player is going to be a “cancer in the club house”
…if he doesn’t respect his coach, his teammates or the game…
…the coach will probably decide they’re not worth the trouble.
True, each coach is different in how strongly they value character, and if they’re willing to overlook character flaws to have top talent.
But with so many players out there competing for the same spot, typically the coaches have plenty of players to choose from. In this case, they are searching for reasons to eliminate you. Every player they can cross off the list makes their choice easier.
So, are you unknowingly giving them reasons to draw a red line through your name?
In my experience, this often happens in ways you wouldn’t expect.
And here’s one of the biggest ones that players never think about…
HOW DO YOU HANDLE FAILURE?
Making a mistake can get you cut during baseball or softball tryouts… but probably not for the reason you’re thinking of right now.
It’s so, so, SO important to watch your body language – at all times of course – but ESPECIALLY after you make a mistake.
Baseball is a game of failure.
It just is.
And the way you handle that failure will tell the coach (and scouts) a lot about your character.
After my 16th professional season, I retired from playing and became a pro scout for the Colorado Rockies. I did that for 2 years before I took another position with the Rockies. But I’m so grateful for that time because I learned so much about evaluating players. I spoke to scouts who had been in the business for decades, and I learned a ton.
Here was one of the top tips those experience scouts gave me…
Once a coach or scout is interested in you, they WANT to see you when things aren’t going perfectly…
Because watching how you act after you’ve made a mistake tells coach/scouts a LOT about your character.
To a coach, these are VERY important questions. They will be watching players during the tryouts to see…
Can they mentally handle failure? Can they rally and get the job done? Or do they fall apart?
Can they compartmentalize the failure and not let it affect other aspects of their game? For example, if an infielder makes an error, does it turn into 2 or 3 errors? (Click here for 2 tips to mentally recover after an error)
Or does that fielding error carry over and affect his hitting?
Are they in it for the team or just for themselves? So you’re having a bad day… can you still cheer for your teammates? Or is it all about you?
Or the reverse… you struck out for the 3rd time. Can you still go out to the field and get your job done with confidence? Or at least with professionalism?
Sulking, pouting, slumped shoulders, getting angry at yourself or at teammates, or losing your concentration and letting it affect other parts of your game… these things are all massive red flags to a coach or scout.
So watch yourself. Even when things aren’t going your way, don’t lose your cool. Keep your head up. Keep those shoulders back. Be a good teammate.
We all tend to be hardest on ourselves (myself included). That’s why I wanted to give you this warning. Don’t let one mistake get you cut because you forgot people were watching and you gave them the impression that you can’t bounce back after a mistake.
To your success in baseball,