Whether this is your first or fifteenth time selecting players in a baseball or softball tryout, it's worth taking a few minutes to brush up on the basics of evaluating players so you can be sure to focus on what's most important. We've broken the evaluation down into 4 categories: hitting, fielding, athletic potential, and intangibles. If you pay close attention to each individual, you should be able to collect enough information in all four areas to make an educated assessment and to decide on whether or not they are a good fit.
• Approach - how do they approach the plate?
• Comfort level - what is their presence like?
• Mechanics - do they exhibit good hand-eye coordination? Are they making contact? Do they have a good swing?
If the player is lacking in any of the above areas, are they coachable? Can the swing flaws be corrected? Remember, you have about 1 month from tryouts to the first game, so you want to be able to help them improve in that amount of time.
• Presence - do they look and act like they want to be out there?
• Awareness - do they stay down and move their feet to get to ground balls? Are they able to get their body under a fly ball?
• Fundamentals - are they using 2 hands? Do they have good throwing mechanics? Are their throws accurate?
Based on what you've seen, does the player exhibit athletic potential? Do they have natural strengths that can be built upon to contribute to the success of your team? And can their weaknesses be impacted in a month of coaching?
As a coach, it is your responsibility to facilitate learning and growth, so it's important to select athletes who exhibit passion and desire. Just because an athlete is quiet, or not a natural leader, doesn't mean they don't have the passion and desire to be there and to work on their game. Sometimes, it's the more timid individuals you can have the greatest impact on. So be sure to examine players on more than just their physical performance.