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As we approach the New Year, many teenagers will already be thinking a few months ahead and making New Year’s Resolutions to do whatever it takes to make their high school baseball team.
Depending on the state in which the player lives, he may have more or less time to bring this resolution to fruition.
In some states, high school baseball tryouts take place as early as late January, and in others, they don’t happen until March.
Let’s take a look at not only when a high school player needs to be ready for tryouts, but also what he should expect out of the typical high school baseball tryout.
Start Dates for Different States
As mentioned earlier, each state is different when it comes to tryout dates. On this list by Maxpreps, each state’s start and end date for the high school baseball season is listed. The start date is the date that teams are allowed to start playing games.
Most states allow teams to host tryouts about one month before their first official game.
By checking with your state’s high school athletic governing body, you can know the official date that teams in your state are allowed to have tryouts. You can also check with your school’s baseball coach who is likely to know the exact date.
When Should a Player Start Preparing for Tryouts?
It is important to be able to take some time off from baseball activities in the offseason, especially when it comes to throwing. With that being said, a player must be actively working on his game leading up to tryouts in order to put himself in a position to succeed.
High school baseball players should start preparing for tryouts about 4-6 weeks before the tryout date.
This gives the player enough time to shake off the rust and be ready to hit the ground running when tryouts begin.
The most important part of this period is getting the arm back into shape. Coaches don’t expect their players’ arms to be in midseason form during tryouts, but they do want to see an accurate showcase of the players’ throwing capabilities.
The 4-6 week time frame gives the player enough time to ease back into throwing shape in a healthy manner.
What Should a Player Expect to Do at High School Baseball Tryouts?
Like with any sport, different coaches run their tryouts in different ways, but just about all of them will want to see how well players can perform the fundamentals of the game.
High school baseball tryouts often consist of opportunities for players to showcase their abilities to throw, hit, field, and run. While this seems simple, there are a few specific drills that are fairly universal across the baseball world for which a player can prepare.
One of the most popular ways to do this is what is known as a pro-style workout. A pro-style workout consists of these drills:
- 60-yard dash – Players run a 60-yard sprint and are timed from their first movement to when they cross the finish line. Some coaches like to allow two players to run at a time as many believe that making players run against each other causes them to run faster.
- Infield play – All infielders take ground balls at the shortstop position and field the ball and throw it across the diamond to a first baseman. This allows coaches to evaluate a player’s fielding form and his arm strength. The ground balls consist of routine ground balls, backhand and forehand plays, and slow rollers.
- Outfield play – All outfielders line up in right field and field fly balls and ground balls and make throws to third base and sometimes home plate. The throw from right field to third base is the longest throw an outfielder will make, so this allows coaches to get a feel for a player’s arm strength.
- Catcher pop times – A catcher gets in his squatting position and prepares to receive a pitch thrown by a coach usually at batting practice distance. After catching it, he throws it to second base as if a runner is stealing second. Another coach uses a stopwatch to record what is called a “pop time”. The timer starts when the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt and ends when it gets to second base.
- Batting Practice – Coaches are different about how they run batting practice, but most of them give their hitters a certain amount of swings during batting practice to allow them to showcase their swing. During this time, they are normally evaluating the hitter’s swing mechanics more than the result of his swings.
There are many ways to go about evaluating a player’s ability to throw, hit, field, and run, but the pro-style workout is one of the most common ways to do it.
How many players usually tryout for a high school baseball team?
The number of players that tryout for a high school baseball team depends mostly on the school. Some schools barely have enough players to make a team while other larger schools sometimes have to cut as many 20 players after tryouts.
What can I do if I don’t make my high school baseball team?
If you don’t make your high school team, the best thing you can do is ask the coach for an honest assessment of why you did not make the team. If you are a young player, you can take his assessment and work on the things he said you need to work on to prepare to make the team next year. If you don’t care about playing and just want to be part of the team, you can also ask the coach if you could be an equipment manager.
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