Thursday, June 14, 2007

Baseball Tryout Drills

Every coach needs a good selection of baseball tryout drills that allow each prospect to demonstrate their abilities both on the field and at bat. This will allow the coaches to fully evaluate each prospect's skill set to see if it indeed is strong enough for their team. It also allows coaches to build a team that will be able to work together, playing off each other's strengths and covering up for the weaknesses.

I like to start each of my baseball tryouts with arguable the most fun part of the game: hitting. Since hitting can make or break a team, I run a number of hitting drills at each of my tryouts. The first of the baseball tryout drills to see which are the Babe Ruths and which are merely mediocre is this one which rewards players with the ability to control their hitting.

Throw pitches at players one at a time. As the pitch sails towards the player call out what type of hit you'd like them to perform: line drive, pop fly, foul ball, grounder. Make sure to tailor the pitches to help players make the right hit. Try to remember which players have already hit what type of pitches so you can see every player attempt to perform every type of hit.

The In's and Out's of Fielding

To maximize productivity, while half the players hit, employ to other half to demonstrate their throwing and catching skills, using these baseball tryout. I like run a different set of drills for infielders and outfielders, since each position requires more finely tuned skills in different aspects of throwing and catching.

For my outfielders, a classic long toss drill helps determine which players will be able to make crucial long throws from deep center and which haven't quite built up the necessary arm strength to be protecting the far corners of the field. Another great outfielder drill has players partnered up and throwing each other a variety of pop-ups, grounders and line drives. This exercise will gauge players' interactions with others as well as their fielding skills in a medium-pressure situation.

For infielders, I like this drill that rewards quick thinking infielders. Stand at the place with a bat and a bucket of ball. Start batting towards the players one at a time, making sure to vary your hits and the players fielding the ball. While the ball is being batted, call out a situation for the players to follow. For example, hit a line drive towards shortstop while yelling "runner on 1st, two outs" to see how the player would react in that situation. Run this drill for at least 5 minutes, giving each player a variety of scenarios before switching the infielders and outfielders.

The Importance of Scrimmage

Baseball tryout drills can only go so far. To truly gage a player's performance on field, the coach must witness them in action during a game scenario. I always end each baseball tryout with a short scrimmage allowing each players at least once chance in infield, outfield and at bat.

For the batting team, always watch players both while they are at bat and how they act when they are idle. Think twice before selecting players who goof off constantly or intentionally distract their fellow prospects, since they may become a handful and difficult to control at practices and during games.

1 comment:

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