Softball Tryouts Tips – Going Beyong Skills and Talent When Selecting Athletes

Identifying talent and predicting the future success of an athlete is as reliable as the weather forecast for next week.

In other words, not reliable at all.

Despite years of research, there are only a handful of true predictors of athletic success that have been identified.

When selecting their team, coaches will use a variety of criteria.

Most of the time, and with reason, the two main selection criteria are: 1) technical skills and 2) athletic talent.

However, all coaches agree that you have to factor in other variables to predict athletic success.

You should definitely keep that in mind when selecting athletes for your team.

One such variable is personality which includes coachability and character.

This morning, I was reading an article from famous mental training consultant Jeff Jenssen and he was explaining how important those two variables are.

A few years ago, I completed an interview with Mike Candrea as part of a paper I had to do on coaching leadership.

Mike mentioned that one of the things he looks for when he goes on recruiting trips is how potential recruits treat their parents because he feels this tells him a lot about the personality of these athletes.

Most recruiters agree with that.

So, when you will be holding tryouts for your team, try to include a bit of a “personality assessment” in your evaluation.

I know – it’s easier said than done. A few things you can keep in mind.

Do your homework before the tryouts if you know who’s coming. Talk to former coaches, former teammates, go and watch them play and observe how they interact with their coaches, teammates and parents, etc.

At tryouts, you can also hold “mini-interviews”, a tip I got from Pat Moyer, a very successful coach with the Fury Fastpitch organization in Chattanooga, TN.

Pat feels that the 5-7 minutes he spends with the athlete and her parents during the tryouts is very valuable and helps him figure out if the athlete is a good fit or not for his program.

No matter how you do it, try to go beyond skills and talent and try to get to know who you are dealing before selecting the athletes. That might just make the difference between a great pick or a very bad selection.

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