To some I would venture to say the thought of navigating tryouts is a lot to process and to think about in weighing team options. I have shared five thoughts that I feel are important to think about and consider in planning.
- Does the team focus on practice and development? Practicing and training as a team is key and creates a high softball IQ. Teams that practice together perform at a higher level. Going to lessons and taking private instruction is not enough to develop. Teams must practice as a team consistently throughout the year to prepare for higher level softball. Where is the team practicing and what access to facilities does the team have?
- How many players are on the roster? You will want a team that has depth to compete at a high level. Being on a team that is constantly picking up players every weekend is not a stable unit. Having 11-12 players on the roster creates competition and forces athletes to compete for playing time. Competing for playing time makes the team stronger and raises the level of play. Oftentimes young athletes get content by not having to compete for “their position” and their development becomes stagnant. Learn to play multiple positions and learn to compete!
- Is the schedule challenging enough? If your team is winning every tournament you are not being challenged. Playing teams that are talented and competing with them will only raise your level of play and you will continue to learn. Look online at teams websites to see their previous year’s schedule or on Game Changer to research the schedule.
- What is coaches/org’s view on multi-sport athletes? At the younger age groups it’s important to have a balanced approach to athletic development. Young athletes should be able to play two sports as long as they are not in the same season. Having a balanced approach to athletic development decreases chances of burnout and helps with overall skill development.
- What is the organization/team culture like? Can you get a sense of what the culture is like of the team? Is there a high turnover in players within the org? Is it time to move on? As players age up priorities with teammates and friends begin to change. Understanding when the time is right for you to separate from the core group you’ve grown up with and to challenge yourself to move to a higher level team can be nerve racking, but most people that have been through it will agree it was the best decision they made to get to the next level.
If you have questions, need advice feel free to give me a shout. We’re almost halfway through July. Focus on finishing your season strong!