While baseball tryouts might be held over a few days before each season, planning and preparing for evaluations can be a year-long process.
Board members, directors, and coaches need to address team goals, roster size, organizational issues, and staffing during the offseason. This can all impact tryouts.
By the time teams get to the evaluation sessions, organizations should know exactly how the day will be conducted, the scoring methods, drills, and staffing.
Here are our tips for running successful youth baseball tryouts.
Hold Planning Meetings
Before tryouts are scheduled, team administrators should hold regular planning meetings to establish team goals, tryout formats, registration information, and dates.
Clubs should first determine team goals and budget. Those goals can help determine what types of baseball players they are looking for, how big the roster will be, and what registration fees athletes will incur.
Once those are established, the group should determine the logistics around tryouts. This can include: when and where to hold evaluations, what drills to run, what scoring method will be used, and how many staff members and volunteers are needed.
Secure Fields and Equipment
In order to run successful baseball tryouts, fields and equipment should be secured as far ahead of time as possible to avoid conflicting with other clubs. Reserving the baseball fields as soon as possible allows teams to book the area for their specified dates and times. This also helps clubs determine if there are additional costs to using the field that would need to be covered in registration fees.
Communicate Information to Parents, Players
Communications should be sent to prospective players and their parents as far in advance as possible to inform them of the tryouts and registration information. These communications should include tryout dates and times, location, fees, registration deadline, and equipment needed for evaluations. Teams can also include examples of skills that will be tested to help players prepare, information on how many teams will be formed, if cuts are expected, and any other information teams feel athletes and their families should know before evaluations.
Secure and Train Staff and Volunteers
Next, clubs need to ensure they have enough staff and volunteers to successfully run baseball tryouts. Teams should determine what positions they need to fill and the time slots for each task. Once organizations know how many people are needed, they should schedule their staff members and start recruiting volunteers. Giving prospective volunteers exact times and positions they need to fill will help with recruitment.
Once staff and volunteers are secured, clubs should make sure everyone is properly trained on their duties before the actual tryouts. If teams are using player evaluation software, staff members working registration should know how to use it. Inform them on how to check-in players and how to record player scores. Evaluators should also be trained on the scoring method used to grade players, and what skills to focus on for each drill.
Keeping the check-in process organized will also help to run successful youth baseball tryouts. Teams should ensure registration table to properly staffed to check-in athletes quickly. Speed up the check-in process by having registration forms and numbers organized and separated by
Before tryouts begin, teams should ensure all players have enough time to warm up and stretch to prevent injuries. Conducting warm-ups is also a way to help players relax and relieve some anxiety. Teams can keep warm-ups simple and easy, such as jogging around the bases a few times and playing catch.
Keep Drills Organized and On-Time
It’s important for tryouts to begin and end on time. To accomplish this, clubs need to be organized in determining how long each drill will take. Teams should try to keep groups small. Organize each group’s rotation to account for longer drills in order to prevent a back-up.
All staff members conducting drills should be made aware of the overall schedule and try to keep on-pace without rushing athletes through the skills.
After the drills have been completed, athletes should be taken through a formal cooldown to ensure they have a chance to stretch before leaving. This will help prevent injuries and muscle stiffness. Running a cooldown will also give players a chance to reflect on their evaluation session before heading home.
Clubs can also use this time to talk to the players and their parents about next steps. This provides teams with the opportunity to address if there will be cuts and when roster placements will be posted. Letting players know when to expect results will help prevent parents from calling the organization for roster updates before they are completed.
After tryouts, teams that use player evaluation software can email individual evaluation results to players. This will show athletes how they were graded during tryouts and will let them know what scores the club is looking at when forming the roster. Here are some tips on how to communicate player cuts.