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Working with these freshman players is pretty fun but it’s also petty challenging. Besides the obvious, many aren’t very good, many are physically just 9th graders. All the developmental stuff you know either will work in their favor or they’ll be finding another sport to play.
What I hate is that fact that some players just aren’t “there” yet – but who knows what they might be in a couple of years…how can you buy time as a coach?
Holding tryouts and determining your team is a tall order. There are the obvious no-doubters who make the squad but what about the player who is fundamentally sound yet they may not be ready for the big field yet?
What I look for when I’m assessing talent is their make up. How well do they present themselves off of initial contact? From their hat down to their shoes. Then I look at how they throw and catch (can they do those basics with a purpose?). More important than their results is their approach – both defensively and offensively. Are they shifting from pitch to pitch, player to player. Are they thinking about pitch sequence or situational hitting if need be.
Now I know that these are just 9th graders…but now is when the game becomes real. Technically they can compete with 18yr olds and they have to be able to hang. For you players out there, learn the game — observations, questions, and experience will tell/teach you a lot. Trust what you see and feel is instinctual. From a coach and educators perspective, we can always live with players making aggressive errors – shows us they’re confident and decisive. But there’s little tolerance for uncertainty and fear to mess up.