Last night was intense! I grew up playing fastpitch softball for a team based out of Fairfax County and I have never seen a tryout like this. So glad to see this much love for our beloved sport! A huge thank you to Shawn Gallagher (16u Shooting Stars) & Marissa Gallagher, who organized this successful event.
As a coach, I want to share my thoughts with you, so you can understand where we are coming from. Having also been a high school teacher, a lot of my thought process and coaching strategy comes from the classroom.
What are we looking for at tryouts?
We are looking for passion, drive and motivation. A positive attitude goes a long way. In always thinking about the player first, I want to make sure we're a fit for her and not the other way around. Does she work well with others? How does she respond with setbacks? Is she focused on what's going on in front of her? These questions are also the same questions I see when I write letters of recommendations for my students. The skills your daughters need to learn on the field will live with them for the rest of their life. We really want to make sure the girls can work together as a team and value their teammates contribution.
Of course we're also looking at skill. Has she been playing on a team already or practicing ahead of the tryout? This will really show when girls are trying out next to other girls who have been playing all summer. At a young age such as 9u, practicing with a family member a few times a week can be just as effective.
Is she ready? Girls who love the sport but who haven't yet developed the skills to compete at this level would benefit from playing on a team that will give them more opportunities on the field. It's better that they play often and improve their skills rather than sit on a bench and watch their teammates play.
The last thing I look at is are they having fun? There are so many tense moments in softball that you have to find a way take the bad with the good and roll with it. Playing with your best friends will be a memory they will never forget.