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6 Tips for Tryouts

Blog Cover - 6 Things to Look at During Tryouts
  1. Cost: Softball, in general, is an expensive sport due to the amount of equipment required for the sport. Looking at playing on a travel softball team can be overwhelming when looking at a budget. Expenses for a season can really depend on how much fundraising a team does or their connections. Teams may also want to travel, which can have an effect on the financial budget. Finding a team that fits your family financially is a critical factor during tryouts. 
  2. Level of Softball: Everybody wants to make the best team they can, and they should strive to be their best self, but sometimes making the best team isn’t always the answer to improving their skills. It is essential to find a team that reflects the talent level of your athlete, especially if coaches don’t guarantee playing time. The hard truth is that a season sitting on the bench on a good team doesn’t guarantee your athlete will reap the benefits to be a better player from just practice. However, on the opposite side, it’s better to push your athletes to make the team grow and find success. Find a team where you see your athlete fitting in and blending with the other talent. 
  3. Coaching: Understanding the culture a coach brings to a team and their style is essential when attending tryouts. We all know the coaches that yell, and at times it may be necessary, but if your athlete can’t handle that kind of coaching, then it may be better for them to find a different team. It’s important to dive into a coach’s softball history as well, meaning their accomplishments and knowledge of the sport. There are a lot of parents that coach travel ball teams, and maybe you want your athlete with a former player, which is usually female. 
  4. Schedule: Travel softball can be a considerable time commitment. It can be challenging for parents with other kids in sports to juggle it all. If you have an only child, this may be easy, but parents have to commit to a team which means being at all the practices and games. Ask about how often practices are and how many tournaments they play a year. This should give an idea of how big a time commitment can end up being. 
  5. Parents/Team: It’s safe to say if you’ve been around youth sports, there can be some rough times between players or parents and coaches. This is nothing new, and coaches can’t make everyone happy. Still, it may be beneficial to understand the team’s chemistry and culture before accepting a position. Are parents cheering on other players besides their own? Are coaches’ kids getting a lot of unearned playing time over another? Do the girls on the team all get along, or is there drama amongst them? These are some of the most complex questions to answer before getting on a team because they’re usually things that aren’t observed until you’re actually on the team. You can talk to former players from the team but understand that coaches can’t make everyone happy, which sometimes means players leave teams on a sour note. You can’t always trust this source because it will always be one-sided unless you ask the coach.
  6. Position/Playing Time: At tryouts, for an established team, a coach is most likely looking for specific positions to finish out their team. For example, if your athlete is a pitcher, you’ll need to look for teams that need a pitcher, or you might find yourself on a team where your athlete may only pitch 1 or 2 games a tournament. This can encourage them to work harder or discourage them, making them feel inferior on a larger team. At the elite level, not all coaches will play your athlete just because they’re on the team, and they may feel players should earn playing time. If this coaching style is what you think your athlete will respond best to, then go for it, but many parents feel that if they are spending the money on the sport, their athlete should be playing as much as they can. This is something you may want to consider.
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