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What Parents Should Know About Player Evaluations

Tryouts can be more nerve-racking for parents than the Little Leaguer®. Here’s some info to ease you through the process.

After registration, player tryouts are the next step in getting back on the field. To have teams, you need players and a tryout is how your local league evaluates a child’s baseball and softball abilities. Every league has its own way of running tryouts, so if you have questions seek out a local league official for answers.

At tryouts, leagues often will have bats and helmets available for players to wear, so there is no need (yet) to go out and buy new gear. For now, getting your player prepped for what to expect when you arrive is the first priority.

  • As you prepare for tryouts, check to see if your player’s hand still fits in the glove and if the glove is still in good shape.                                  If it looks like it can handle another season, loosen it up with some glove oil.
  • If possible, try to find a place where you and your Little Leaguer can throw a ball.                                                                                                      Simply having a game of catch will help to wake up the muscles and remind the body and mind that spring will soon be here.

By the time tryouts arrive, the league has compiled a list from registration that organizes the players by age.

  • Players league age 4-to-6 typically play in the Tee Ball Division and do not need to tryout.
  • If your child is eight or older, the tryout will involve these basic skills: running, throwing, catching and hitting.                                                  A tryout typically takes one hour depending on the number of players in attendance and if you’re in a gym or able to get on a field.
  • Each player who is age-eligible for the draft must attend 50 percent (or half) of the scheduled tryouts to be considered for a Major Division team. What this means is if a league has two different tryout dates, the player must make at least one to be able to be drafted.

Whether the tryout is inside or not, each player will be evaluated and assessed with a grading system that is established                                        by the local league officials.

  • It is typical that each player will receive a grade based on ability, aptitude and age, but each league decides how it will evaluate players. Following all of the tryouts, the players will be placed into a draft pool that the volunteer managers will use to choose from to determine their teams for the season.
  • Leagues almost always offer multiple tryout dates, but there may be those that plan different tryout times on the same day.                       Check your local newspaper, league website, school(s) office, or social media.
  • Players can tryout more than once and they can also tryout for different divisions. If a player is unable to attend any of the scheduled tryout dates, the local Board of Directors can consider other options to evaluate a player, but this would require a special circumstance (illness, injury, inability to attend) that is explained to the Board prior to the tryout date(s).
  • At the time of tryouts, some leagues may have selected their team managers, but it is not required. Often the managers are selected after the draft based on the number of players that are expected to be playing in a given division. All potential managerial candidates are invited to evaluate at tryouts.

With a large volume of kids attending, tryouts can be an overly enthusiastic, energized hustle of activity for both the player and parent. A solid piece of parental advice is to remember that your player will not be in mid-season form. When quietly watching your son or daughter, have realistic expectations and remind them to do the same. Reserve any judgments and do not criticize their performance.                                       Remember, it is a long season, so start it off right with a high-five, pat on the back, and “good job” regardless of how your child performs at tryouts.