8 Best Baseball Drills for Your Next Tryout
Tryouts are one of the most challenging aspects for baseball coaches.
The tryout process entails carefully evaluating players’ abilities in different positions, identifying those who show exemplary character and determination, and ultimately, selecting players who are well-rounded for the team.
To achieve these objectives, it is imperative to have your players participate in baseball tryout drills that showcase their potential and capabilities.
This blog outlines the 8 best baseball tryout drills for evaluating your players, giving you the insight and assurance making team placement decisions.
How Do You Run a Baseball Tryout?
There are three critical components to running a baseball tryout: the warm-up, the evaluation, and the cooldown. Conduct a warm-up to activate and mobilize core muscle groups, select drills in advance that will enable you to assess athletes’ capabilities, and lead your athletes through a cooldown with gentle movements and stretches.
The Importance of Warming-Up
Players should arrive on the field early, about 20-30 minutes before the game to properly warm up. As baseball is a physically demanding sport, it is essential to warm up your players before they exert maximum effort in the baseball tryout drills.
Start the warm-up with a 5-10 minute team jog to get the blood moving, followed by a dynamic warm-up.
The dynamic warm-up should include exercises like:
- High knees
- Side shuffles
- Wind sprints
- Arm circles
Incorporate A Cool Down
It is common for coaches and players to overlook the importance of cooling down properly. Some athletes rush through or skip it entirely, assuming age protects them from injury. However, stretching not only benefits athletes physically but also instills healthy habits.
By dedicating just 20 minutes after each session to a mix of dynamic and static stretching, players can reduce the risk of injury and speed up recovery. Dynamic stretches are highly recommended before competition, while a combination of dynamic and static stretches should be used for cooling down.
The cool down should include different stretches like:
- Kneeling hip flexor stretch
- Runner’s lunge
- Child’s pose
- Standing chest opener
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8 Baseball Tryout Drills For Evaluating Your Players
1. Round the Bases
This baseball running drill is designed to develop players’ base running and conditioning in a fun environment.
- Separate the tryout players into three teams.
- The first team are baserunners at home plate.
- The second team are fielders starting behind 1st base.
- The third team are fielders starting behind.
- The coach or player positions themselves 10-12 feet from home plate in a soft-toss position.
- The first base running player steps to the plate.
- Next, the coach tosses a baseball, and the player hits a line drive and then proceeds to round the bases.
- The 1st player in the fielding lines from bases 1st and 3rd immediately runs to field the ball.
- As soon as both fielders touch the ball, the baserunner must stop.
- Baserunners earn one point for each base they touch.
- Repeat the drill until all players have had at least one chance to round the bases.
- Ensure you keep track of points to declare a team the winner.
2. The Shoestring Catch
This outfield baseball drill is designed to improve outfielders’ techniques by catching balls that land in front of them or at their feet, hence the name “shoestring” drill.
- The player and coach stand approximately 15-20 yards apart in the outfield.
- The coach will throw or hit a ball directly at the player’s feet.
- The players will sprint in, attack the ball, and attempt to use proper technique to make the play (shoestring catch).
- After making the play, the player returns the ball to the coach, returning to their starting position.
- Reassure players that the ball will not bounce higher than their knees; this will allow them to catch the ball with confidence.
3. Power the Hips
As the hips are the most essential part of producing bat speed, this baseball hitting drill is designed to develop hip power in the swing.
- Ensure every player has a bat.
- Place cones at a safe distance from each other but close to the fence.
- Provide every player with a ball.
- Ensure that players are aware that turning their hips through the hitting zone is the focus of this drill.
- Have players stand at their designated cones while ensuring that there is a safe distance between each player.
- The coach will blow the whistle, and players will begin hitting their ball into the fence while powering their hips through the hitting zone.
4. Fast Hands
This baseball hitting drill is specifically designed to improve hand speed in players while hitting.
- Have the player stand at home plate in their athletic batting stance.
- The coach is set up to the side of the player.
- The players assume their batting stance, ensuring they are in an athletic position and relaxed.
- To grip the bat, the player moves their bottom hand all the way up to the top of the handle. Then, the player inverts their top hand so that the palm faces the pitcher and places it above the bottom hand. Finally, the player lines the bat up with their top hand’s fingertips.
- The coach throws a soft toss, and the player swings away.
- Repeat, with a focus on speed, concentration, and proper techniques.
5. The Three-Minute Drill
This baseball throwing drill develops arm, pitching speed and throwing endurance.
- The pitcher stands on the mound.
- A coach or player is next to the picture with a bucket full of baseballs.
- The catcher is at home plate.
- The pitcher throws as many pitches as they can in one minute before taking a one-minute rest. They then repeat this twice more for a total of 3 minutes of pitching, hence the name “three-minute drill.”
- Ensure the pitcher completes their pre-pitch routine each and every time.
- Once the pitch is completed, have the player or coach quickly pass the pitcher the next ball.
6. Start From Second
This baseball fielding drill is designed to teach players how to score when on second base.
- Have three players in the outfield with a catcher at home base.
- All of the remaining players should be in a line directly behind 2nd base.
- The coach or another player is at home base with the bat and balls.
- An assistant coach or another player plays the role of the 3rd base coach.
- Have the coach or players hit fungo singles.
- Now, the 2nd base runner will try to score unless stopped by the 3rd base coach.
- Repeat this drill by giving each player multiple chances to score from 2nd base.
- Ensure that the 3rd base coach provides the runner with verbal and visual cues.
- To make the drill slightly more challenging, you can have players start from 1st base rather than 2nd.
7. Outfield Grounders
This baseball outfield drill focuses on developing correct fielding techniques while also serving as an excellent warm-up drill for players.
Have your players line up in the outfield or put them in designated outfield positions. A coach, player, or even a machine will hit the balls to the field.
- The player, coach, or machine hits a ball to each outfielder for them to field using the correct techniques.
- Ensure to hit a combination of varying balls to the fielder, including directly to them and to their forehand and backhand sides.
8. Reaction pop-up drill
This baseball catching drill helps players develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness on the field.
- The player takes a “ready” position, about 10 feet away and facing backwards from the coach or player.
- Player should have their knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Once the player is in the ready position, the coach or player will say “Go.”
- As the player spins around, the ball will be tossed into the air.
- The player will move into position beneath the ball and catch it.
- Repeat this drill several times, changing the height and direction of the ball.
Expanding Your Coaching Toolkit: Baseball Tryout Format, Plan, and Checklist
While our primary focus has been on the baseball drills, it’s valuable for coaches across all sports to have a versatile approach to evaluations and selection of baseball players. If you’re involved in coaching baseball or looking to expand your understanding of baseball tryouts, you can enhance your ability to run efficient and effective sessions. Here’s a brief overview to get you started:
Baseball Tryout Format
Baseball tryout drills need a structured format, but they focus on different skill sets. A typical baseball tryout might include:
- Warm-Up: Dynamic exercises focusing on agility and flexibility.
- Baseball Throwing and Catching Drills: Assessing players’ defensive abilities.
- Batting Practice: Evaluating hitters’ techniques and power.
- Base Running: Timing players’ speed and assessing their decision-making on the bases.
- Baseball Fielding Drills: For infielders and outfielders, focusing on reaction time, accuracy, and arm strength.
- Scrimmage: A short game to observe players in a live setting, mirroring basketball’s 5-on-5 scrimmages to assess overall game IQ and teamwork.
Baseball Tryout Plan
A well-structured tryout plan ensures you cover all necessary baseball tryout skills and make the most of your available time. Consider the following when planning:
- Set Clear Objectives: Determine what skills and attributes are most important for your team.
- Schedule Baseball Drills: Allocate specific times for each drill or activity, ensuring a smooth flow and minimizing downtime.
- Include Evaluation Time: Build in moments for coaches to discuss and note observations about players’ performances.
Baseball Tryout Checklist
Preparation is key to a successful baseball tryout. Here’s a checklist to help you get organized:
- Equipment Ready: Balls, bats, gloves, helmets, bases, and any necessary protective gear.
- Drill Stations: Set up stations for each planned activity to facilitate smooth transitions.
- Evaluation Forms: Prepare forms or digital tools (like SkillShark for baseball) to record player performances.
- Staff Assignments: Ensure each coach or helper knows their role and what they’re evaluating.
- Player Registration: Have a system in place for player check-in and information collection.
- Safety Measures: Plan for hydration breaks, first aid, and any COVID-19 protocols.
Incorporating a well-thought-out baseball tryout format, detailed planning, and a comprehensive checklist into your baseball tryouts will significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your player evaluations. Whether you’re evaluating players on the court or the field, the principles of thorough preparation, clear communication, and structured assessments are beneficial. The SkillShark baseball evaluation app will keep track, save time, offer efficiency and provide insights for your baseball evaluation drills.
These baseball tryout drills don’t have to be just limited to tryouts, they can be used as part of your baseball practice plan to help your athletes master critical skills and build their confidence throughout the season. Additionally, if the weather for your tryouts or practices isn’t ideal, shift to conducting indoor baseball drills. As long as you have access to an indoor field, let the drills continue!
FAQ — Baseball Player Evaluations
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• Game Sense
2. Select evaluators 1 week before and communicate with them (i.e., run through the drills and explain what they should look for at each station they are evaluating).
3. Focus on positive relationships. Aside from coaching baseball tryouts, take the time to get to know athletes and provide verbal tips for improvement when you can.