Tryout Advice

  Long time lurker, glad to be posting for the first time.

I am looking for advice I can pass along to my son (and frankly, assuage my own nerves) for his 9th grade tryouts.

Summer of ‘18, he started swimming for our community swim team to continue to build endurance and strength. He enjoyed it, and in the fall as a freshman, we urged him very strongly to join the high school swim team. He protested, saying that he only wanted to focus on making the baseball team. We said that he could still work toward that while he swam. Plus, few other sports could provide him the conditioning that swimming would. And if he has the misfortune of injuring himself to the point he couldn’t play baseball anymore, then he’d have another sport to engage in (he is very competitive and loves the idea of playing for his school).

All goes well. He plays fall ball for his travel team, also plays for a rec team (long story), and his baseball season ends just as swim starts. Coincidentally, his growth spurt really starts kicking in this year and he’s a long and lean 6 feet, 155, with size 15 feet by Dec 31, a 5 inches and 34lb jump in 12 months (and he’s still growing). Swim kicks off, and he has done really well in it. He has throughly enjoyed it and has thanked us for pushing him to join. 

During this entire time, he’s also doing weight training with the high school baseball coach in school (he took health & PE during the summer so he could get in there as a 9th grader). He’s also doing focused workouts once or twice a week in the evening to hit on some areas that swim/weight class doesn’t hit. Plus, since Dec 1, he practiced 2-3 days a week in hitting & fielding for 2.5 hrs. On top of 90 minutes of swim practice each weekday, while maintaining a 4.0. Forgive my pride in the young man. All this to say, he ramped up to be ready for tryouts this month. 

The issue is: we found out in late Dec that he can’t participate in any of the 2 weeks of “voluntary” workouts that the rest of the 9th grade prospects are participating in until he completes his swim season (which should end 2 days prior to officially tryouts). He and I are both concerned that he’s going to step in at the end after all the decisions have been made (mainly regarding his primary position).

He is incredibly enthusiastic player, a hard worker, a team player (never sits on the bench always  cheering his teammates), and, knowing nearly everyone else trying out, has a stronger work ethic than all but 2-3 of the other potential players. But how does he ensure that this all comes through in the 2-3 days of tryouts, after the rest have had 10-12 days of facetime with the coaches? 

Is it just as simple as doing his best, be the young man that he is, and let it all fall in as it may? He read the “making the team” threads years ago and knows them (and lives them). Any other ideas?

Thanks for reading this far, and for any advice. 

Original Post

I think any HS coach would drool over that size and athleticism for an incoming freshman. Plus his work ethic and “teammate” skills.

Worrying is just part of it. I could tell you to relax and everything will work out as it should, but you will still worry. 

Relax, everything will work out as it should. 

And welcome to the board!

Agree with GO44.  I'm sure the same would apply if he were playing basketball, or any other winter sport, and the baseball coach has experience with this.  I assume, your son has some rapport with the coach after summer workouts, so maybe he could reach out to let him know.

So, as I read this he is going to miss voluntary workouts as he does his winter sport.   As others have pointed out this is probably not something new to the baseball coach.   As long as he is communicating his schedule conflict and desire to play on the high school baseball team, I can't think of anything else he needs to be doing except keeping his grades up (which he is doing).      If he has a great relationship with his swimming coach, it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask him to give the baseball coach a call to tell him what a hard worker he is, great teammate & student.   It can't hurt.

Welcome to the Board, and best of luck to your son at tryouts.   We've all been there, and we know what you are going through.   So don't be shy and wait so long to post any questions you might have.

My Advice would be to tell him to hustle the whole time. Be respectful.  Show good body language.   Basically be the type of player a coach wants in the dugout.   That's all the player can control.

Does the swim coach talk to the baseball coach?  Kid might be getting some support that you don't know about already.  Coaches talk.

Thanks for the replies and words of advice & encouragement , everyone!

The swim coach and the baseball coach do have a relationship, I forgot about that. Great advice about having our son talk to the swim coach. And as the swim coach played baseball as a youth and has coached high school baseball, I think it would a very productive talk. 

 

You've gotten the positive feedback that you should get (and sounds like needed to get ).  Once he gets to the tryout date, yes, it is in many ways "as simple as doing his best, be the young man that he is, and let it all fall in as it may,"  

I will, however, offer up the other side of the coin that may or may not apply to your son.  All of the great attributes you describe are fantastic.  But, at the end of the day, the baseball coach is looking for the players with the best skill set and/or potential skill set.  Yes, if there are two comparable players, he will most likely choose the kid with the best attitude and work ethic.  But, if, for example, your son is at a large HS with a large pool of good players, attitude and work ethic may not be enough to put him above the cut line if the skill set doesn't measure up.  Also, choices have consequences.  If a player chooses multiple sports in HS, his immediate development in one specific sport can be affected by the simple math of less time put into practice, sport-specific workouts and games.  There are many pieces to the puzzle.  

Personally, I am a proponent of multisport participation and it sounds like your son is putting in the extra work to assure continued progression of his baseball skills.  In fact, I would guess that he is doing more than most who are baseball only.  I also love the idea of swimming for conditioning (although you may hear some negatives along the way with regard to throwing arm health).  But, there may come a time when a choice must be made if the proper commitment  can't be met in order to reach attainable goals.  There may come a time when one coach isn't happy with the inability to fully commit due to participation in the other sport.  There may be an instance where being in front of the coach for 10-12 days of tryout is more beneficial than 2 days.  There may come a time when your son decides he wants to be fully committed to one sport or can only handle the rigors of one sport while trying to maintain his excellent academic standing. These are all case-by-case scenarios that you and your son will have to monitor for his particular set of circumstances.  As others have mentioned, most HS coaches are accustomed to the overlap of HS seasons and providing adequate tryout opportunity to those kids coming in late due to participation in a preceding sport.

You made comment about concern "mainly regarding his primary position".  I would suggest that the best attitude he can have going in is that he is 100% ready and willing to fight for making the team, not making the team at his primary position.  You say he is working hard on hitting and fielding so I assume his primary position is not pitching.  A player who is really valuable to a team is capable and more than willing to play any position.  This allows a coach to better put his best nine on the field.  If the team has 2 or 3 great SS's or CF's or C's and they are all very capable at other positions, then they can all find a spot in the lineup and the team is better.  This may or may not apply to your son at this school right away but if he continues forward in the game, it will be a factor at some point.  As example, it is often noted that many colleges recruit largely the best shortstops they can find and put them at various positions in the field.

Your son sounds like a great kid.  Bottom line - He has put in the work.  He is ramped up and ready for tryouts.  Yes, he should simply do his best, be the young man that he is and let the chips fall where they may.  

And then, get back to work and face the next challenge.  Best of luck to him.

 

Does your son want to be on the swim team? I don't want to come off as a pot stirrer but my son wanted to do wrestling this winter, only to work out with the team and not for playing that sport. I told him no and kept him in a training program specific for his off season strength and conditioning. Why train for another sport if you really do not want to compete in it

@cabbagedad, great advice, thanks. He is a primary C, but has seen time at nearly every position through the past season or two, and has always tried to balance practice time at places other than behind the plate, (30/70ish during team practices, and I break out the fungo when he says he wants more grounders). He attends one of the 3 largest schools in the state, with a championship-contender team, and he knows from older players that he needs to be ready to play where they need him. He will always take playing time at his least favorite position over the bench (or the bleachers). He wants to play, period. In whatever form that takes.  

@cabbagedad & @2022NYC, he does like swimming a lot, but it’s definitely his 2nd choice. His aversion to doing it was due to his concern that it wouldn’t allow him to work on baseball. We promised him that if he was willing to put in the time after school and swim, he would have the opportunity to work on the baseball skills. As of today, he’s happy with his decision (aside from the aforementioned issue of missing workouts), and he says he wants to swim again this summer and next fall. And he’s talked about wanting to find a college where he can both swim and play baseball.  But if he ends up having to make a choice, he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.

 

And as for throwing arm health, he is excelling at backstroke, so we have concluded that he’s unwinding each pitch and throwdown slowly but surely  😜!

In all seriousness, he is no stranger to arm injury, as a 13U coach once had him catch a full game, then throw 125 pitches in the next game, resulting in a case of LL elbow (yes, this was back when we were even more clueless than we are now, and no, we will never play with that guy again).  We have both read tons and tons about it, and are trying to balance it a lot as a result. He does say that once he started throwing again after a dead period, his arm felt absolutely amazing, and better than it ever had before. So barring bad luck, he’ll go through HS and summer ball, then shut down for at least 6 weeks before he gets back in a pool. 

The only thing I can add is the cream floats to the top.  Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks to a month for him to earn his spot.  From what you are stating making the team should not be an issue.  Finding the starting roster might take some time.  Even if he appears to be the best option quickly.  

Also, the reverse might happen which could cause some riff amongst parents.  Your son comes out late and takes/earns a spot from a player who has committed to baseball earlier.  Parents might feel their son was cheated because they think the commitment can make up for actual skill.  

real green posted:

The only thing I can add is the cream floats to the top.  Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks to a month for him to earn his spot.  From what you are stating making the team should not be an issue.  Finding the starting roster might take some time.  Even if he appears to be the best option quickly.  

Also, the reverse might happen which could cause some riff amongst parents.  Your son comes out late and takes/earns a spot from a player who has committed to baseball earlier.  Parents might feel their son was cheated because they think the commitment can make up for actual skill.  

Agree re: cream. He sees this as a long term process. He has already been the smaller/weaker player at an org that is very deep, catcher-wise, and has learned to be patient while his skills and size caught up to his ambition. 

As for  the parent issue, I hope (🤞) that won’t be an issue. At the parent/player meeting last week, our son was called out by the head coach specifically as someone who was not allowed to participate in the workouts until his swim season was complete. He then said clearly and emphatically that he would be given a fair opportunity to try out just like everyone else. I didn’t attribute much to it at the time, but perhaps he’s seen this issue rear its ugly head before and was attempting to nip it early. 

Son's story:  keewartson always played multiple sports.  Basketball was his main secondary sport.   He played 3 years for middle school and the team won the championship his 8th grade year.  He played JV basketball in 9th grade.  With all the running he was in great 'running shape', but lost weight.  He started a sport specific strength program in 9th grade also, and time was precious keeping up with school work, too.  

So, he decided not to try out for basketball in 10th grade and really work hard on the strength training and gaining a few pounds that fall/winter. He knew he wouldn't be recruited to play college basketball, and wanted to focus on baseball instead and the possibility of playing in college.

That 10th grade HS season he started to get serious looks.  Summer after 10th grade he committed.  He was a SS that was the same height and weight as your son.

My suggestion:  see how the baseball tryout goes and hopefully he will make the team and make an impact.  Next fall, decide if swimming was worth it.   If he makes an impact, maybe the coach will understand the predicament for the next several years.  If he doesn't make the team or make an impact, make some changes.

The followup:  My son decided to play rec basketball the rest of his years in  high school instead of for his HS team.  He was playing with a bunch of buddies, playing against a bunch of athletes from around our area that were in his same predicament, and having a ball and continuing to keep in shape but without all the practices that go along with being on a team.  Maybe your son can do the same with swimming.... to keep in shape....but maybe not compete?

Keep us posted!  Good luck!  

Senna posted:

 

The issue is: we found out in late Dec that he can’t participate in any of the 2 weeks of “voluntary” workouts that the rest of the 9th grade prospects are participating in until he completes his swim season (which should end 2 days prior to officially tryouts). He and I are both concerned that he’s going to step in at the end after all the decisions have been made (mainly regarding his primary position).

 

Has he talked to the baseball coach?  When my kids were in HS voluntary truly meant voluntary if you were involved in another school sanctioned sport.  In fact when it came to tryouts if you were involved in another school sanctioned sport and their season ran over (sometimes happened for playoffs) the coaches will hold off making final decisions on who is on the team until after all were given a fair shake at trying out.

keewart posted:

My suggestion:  see how the baseball tryout goes and hopefully he will make the team and make an impact.  Next fall, decide if swimming was worth it.   If he makes an impact, maybe the coach will understand the predicament for the next several years.  If he doesn't make the team or make an impact, make some changes.

The followup:  My son decided to play rec basketball the rest of his years in  high school instead of for his HS team.  He was playing with a bunch of buddies, playing against a bunch of athletes from around our area that were in his same predicament, and having a ball and continuing to keep in shape but without all the practices that go along with being on a team.  Maybe your son can do the same with swimming.... to keep in shape....but maybe not compete?

Keep us posted!  Good luck!  

Thanks, Keewart. Def sounds like a similar situation.  My son& I have joked about how he can’t wait to get some more mass back on once he stops swimming 3-5k yards/day. He just can’t eat enough during the day at this point. 

And agree re: seeing where it all lands at the end of the baseball season. There is a very good club swim team that his younger sister is on that he could easily jump into if he feels like it. Then all meets are optional, and he can use it purely for conditioning, or compete when he feels like it and time permits. 

I know a kid who never played sports before HS. Big heavy kid. Excellent grades.
Went crazy in the weight room with the football team.
Not only is he excelling as a Lineman, but he is cleaning up at all these state wrestling meets.
He never wrestled before Junior year. Now all of a sudden he has options.

You never know!

CmassRHPDad posted:

Coaches love multi sport athletes. Just tell him to be a stud and go kill it.
Encourage him to keep swimming. You never know, maybe some college will want him to swim?

 

Yeah they love it until you tell them you are going to miss their practice/workout because you're playing another sport  


Yeah they love it until you tell them you are going to miss their practice/workout because you're playing another sport  

If the student athlete is good enough to be an impact player, the coach should make an exception.
If coach is not willing to make an exception, then maybe he's not worth playing for.
My son's coach played 4 years of both baseball and football in college.
Lots of multi sport athletes at all levels.

https://247sports.com/nfl/seat...training--127682452/

My advice - 

1. have your son go to the swim coach and ask if he had a problem with him participating in the baseball workouts AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT CAUSE HIM TO MISS ANYTHING WITH SWIMMING

2. if swim coach doesn't have an issue with it then talk to the baseball coach to work something out. This shows a lot of maturity on your son's part to identify a problem and take positive steps to finding a solution.  I know if I had a kid come up to me with this situation and solution it would make a VERY HUGE impression in a good way

Someone mentioned why swim if you don't care about competing and overall I agree with that but make sure your school doesn't have a rule about quitting a team in order to participate with another sport.  At my school if you quit a sport you cannot participate in any other sport until the sport you quit has completed their regular season.  The head coach of the sport that was quit can release the student but it's completely their decision.

Like someone else said above - this isn't a serious situation because your son is not the first to have this happen to but it doesn't make worrying any less.  I have a catcher who is playing basketball that could REALLY use our workouts.  He's a sophomore that has a legitimate chance to by our varsity catcher but he has a few things he needs to work on.  Right before basketball started he was on the fence about playing.  I told him he needs to play basketball and I would be disappointed if he didn't. He loves playing and he could be a big contributor on varsity when he's a junior.  I'm not worried about it - we will get him caught up and see how it goes.  Another factor is I'm also the athletic director so I can't quite tell him to not to play basketball when I preach all our sports need to find ways to share kids.

Glad to have you on board 

coach2709 posted:

My advice - 

1. have your son go to the swim coach and ask if he had a problem with him participating in the baseball workouts AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT CAUSE HIM TO MISS ANYTHING WITH SWIMMING

2. if swim coach doesn't have an issue with it then talk to the baseball coach to work something out. This shows a lot of maturity on your son's part to identify a problem and take positive steps to finding a solution.  I know if I had a kid come up to me with this situation and solution it would make a VERY HUGE impression in a good way

Someone mentioned why swim if you don't care about competing and overall I agree with that but make sure your school doesn't have a rule about quitting a team in order to participate with another sport.  At my school if you quit a sport you cannot participate in any other sport until the sport you quit has completed their regular season.  The head coach of the sport that was quit can release the student but it's completely their decision.

Like someone else said above - this isn't a serious situation because your son is not the first to have this happen to but it doesn't make worrying any less.  I have a catcher who is playing basketball that could REALLY use our workouts.  He's a sophomore that has a legitimate chance to by our varsity catcher but he has a few things he needs to work on.  Right before basketball started he was on the fence about playing.  I told him he needs to play basketball and I would be disappointed if he didn't. He loves playing and he could be a big contributor on varsity when he's a junior.  I'm not worried about it - we will get him caught up and see how it goes.  Another factor is I'm also the athletic director so I can't quite tell him to not to play basketball when I preach all our sports need to find ways to share kids.

Glad to have you on board 

Thanks, @coach2709. As soon as the info sheet came out and he saw the freshman pitcher/catcher bullpens started today, he went and asked the baseball coach if he would be able to attend one or two if he got permission from the swim coach (the times for each overlap completely in the afternoon) (@joes87, this answers you as well). Baseball coach shut him down completely, saying that this was not possible. I do respect that they have the policy, clear and simple, with no exceptions.

As for quitting, you're absolutely right. Baseball coach, when discussing at the info meeting that our son couldn't do anything until after swim was over, said explicitly that if he were to quit swimming, he wouldn't be able to play baseball. Again, I didn't give it much thought at the time (other than thinking that I hope he didn't think our son would do something like that). But now, in light of the other discussion above, I do wonder if this was, again a way of making it clear that he (our son) had no choice in this matter, and wasn't missing practices/conditioning purposefully. 

That said: the meeting was last Thu. Son & I chatted with BB coach a bit that evening.  On Fri during weight training class, BB coach came up to son and asked to confirm when he was going to be finished with swimming (son just told me this tonight). So that's a plus, it seems!

Thanks again for all of the replies, advice, and insight!

 

Senna posted:
 

... As soon as the info sheet came out and he saw the freshman pitcher/catcher bullpens started today, he went and asked the baseball coach if he would be able to attend one or two if he got permission from the swim coach (the times for each overlap completely in the afternoon) (@joes87, this answers you as well). Baseball coach shut him down completely, saying that this was not possible. I do respect that they have the policy, clear and simple, with no exceptions.

….

 

Senna, FWIW, these policies are very typical in many parts of the country and it is exactly that way in our area.  You can't participate in one sport until the previous sport season is ended.  And, in our school, too, if you quit one sport, you are still restricted from participation in the next season's sport until the first team's season has ended.  Being cut is a totally different story.  

Nothing is perfect but these clear policies go a long way toward making life easier on the school, AD, coaches and players.  When there is grey area and frequent exceptions, things get out of hand.

CmassRHPDad posted:

Yeah they love it until you tell them you are going to miss their practice/workout because you're playing another sport  

If the student athlete is good enough to be an impact player, the coach should make an exception.
If coach is not willing to make an exception, then maybe he's not worth playing for.
My son's coach played 4 years of both baseball and football in college.
Lots of multi sport athletes at all levels.

https://247sports.com/nfl/seat...training--127682452/

Guess it depends on the coach and the situation. At my son's old HS they hired a new football coach about 6 years ago. In that time they've lost maybe four regular season games.  Have like a 55 regular season win streak going and two state titles. He doesn't demand football only but your second sport better not interfere with football. The baseball team lost a few players to football during my son's time there.

Also  if your school takes their sports seriously they are practicing/training above and beyond to the point that try to do two or three sports becomes overwhelming.  

With size 15 feet, swimming might be the best long term play.  Those are some major flippers.  Any coach not supporting multi-sport athletes at the HS level isn't in tune with the direction college coaches are heading.   Just completed the recruiting process and every good program asked what other sports my son played in addition to baseball.   

Just wanted to update the thread. Short version, he made the freshman team, so he’s still grinning as he sleeps.....

Longer version: he didn’t get any time behind the dish or pitching. Did some fielding each day, and a lot of time in the cages with the coaches watching. He was apparently showing well in the cage, and talked with the coaches each day, answering questions about his positions, skills, etc..

So the journey begins! Thanks for all the input, everyone, I really appreciate it. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep finally. And I promise I won’t be a stranger on the boards!

Wow, congratulations to your son.  Dang, 6', 155 and they didn't have him throw from the mound or catch?  Seems awfully strange.  He must have impressed him with his bat.  Maybe they have other plans for him.  Not sure how you hold a tryout and don't have every kid who wants to pitch at least game a little bit of time on the mound....usually you can throw a few pitches even if you say "I've never pitched but I'll try" lol

@Buckeye 2015 I was surprised as well. Of course, every other (applicable) kid but him has already been throwing pens or catching for a week now, so those players were already known, and that part of the tryout was already complete for everyone but him. So on day 1 of tryouts, they did fielding, throwdowns for catchers, and then hitting.

I reminded Sennason on day 2 that, if they didn't have him pitch/catch that day, to ask at the end of practice if they would mind if he stayed to workout with JV/V and they could watch him pitch/catch. He asked at the end of that practice (when they announced what they said were "first cuts"), and they said just come back tomorrow to practice. When they returned on day 3, they learned that they had all made the team.

So today, he should be catching and pitching, as they said that would be taking place. And I assume that they saw enough in just day 1 and 2 to figure that even if he is a bust on the mound or behind the plate, he'll be usable elsewhere.

That makes sense.  That's what likely would happen at our school.  It's small, good baseball program, but very good basketball and football.  By HS, a lot of kids have decided they are going to play 2 sports instead of 3....or run track in the spring instead of baseball to stay in shape for football.  We don't typically have enough kids for an official "tryout"....if you want to play, you're playing....unless you're so bad that you are a danger to yourself or others by being on the field     Kids show up the first day....if they can play, they are on the team and they'll figure out what to do with you by the time the first game rolls around

Buckeye 2015 posted:

Wow, congratulations to your son.  Dang, 6', 155 and they didn't have him throw from the mound or catch?  Seems awfully strange.  He must have impressed him with his bat.  Maybe they have other plans for him.  Not sure how you hold a tryout and don't have every kid who wants to pitch at least game a little bit of time on the mound....usually you can throw a few pitches even if you say "I've never pitched but I'll try" lol

My son was 6'3" 165 going into his frosh year.  Coming off of basketball season he had not spent a lot of time throwing bullpens.  He pitched this Frosh year, sparingly his Soph year and none his Jr and Sr years.  By the time he graduated he was throwing in the mid-80s with a good CU and breaking ball.  He did pitch a lot for his showcase team.  At the end of the day his HS team was loaded with pitchers during his time there and the coach opted to use him for his bat instead.  It's entirely possible that the coach feels he is deep enough at P and C and plans on using your son in some other way.  The one thing that parents need to adjust to is that the HS coaches don't always play the players in the same way the travel and showcase team coaches do.

All you can tell him is to relax and just do what he does. These guys are putting enough pressure on themselves already. No matter where he lands, tell him it’s the right spot for him at this moment and that you are proud of him. That has always worked for me. Enjoy it and try to not put pressure on him. Things will fall into place as they should, I really believe that.

Congrats.  Coaches probably saw his size, athleticism and bat and figured out he was going to make the team.   Likely turned their attention to other players on the fringe to let them prove themselves on mound/behind the dish.  Lots of practice and evaluation between now and game 1 to figure out positions/pitchers etc.  Enjoy the HS season, hope he makes some great memories.

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