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14U Tryouts Observations

Feb 7, 2013
3,188
48
I wanted to share some observations about 2nd year 14U DD's most recent tryouts experience. Backstory: DD has played travel ball the past two years and the teams, coaches were a mixed bag so my goal this tryout season was to do my due diligence in an effort to place her on a team that would be a good fit for both her and the team.

About two weeks ago, I started reviewing Heybucket 14U Tryouts (SoCal) almost daily to see what teams within an hour's drive were holding tryouts in August. Last week, I narrowed the list down to 6 teams and I called the coaches first to ask questions such as a) will the team be a true 2nd year 14U team?; b) how many players on team?; c) how many college showcases/tournaments/friendlies; d) are there any dad coaches?; e) how many practices per week and where?, etc. From these conversations, we narrowed the list further to 4 teams so this past weekend, DD attended several tryouts.

Observations:

1st Tryout was fairly well organized, with all of the coaches (including former women college players) from org 12u - 18u helping to run the 1 hour tryout. Approx. 20 players showed up (and 5 pitchers). The head coach is also a pitching coach and has pitched in Men's adult fastpitch. DD had an ok tryout, had a few bobbles during middle infield drills (not her specialty!), had a few nice hits to the outfield. Near the end of the tryout, the pitchers paired up and pitched to each other as the coaches observed. From a distance, I could tell DD's change-up was not working well and thought she had an average to below average pitching session. Well, 10 minutes into the session, HC pulls DD aside and said he wants her on the team, asked her about what other tryouts she is attending and that he would call me this weekend. She was beaming after the tryout.

Team 2 Tryout was a 3 hour tryout with about 30 girls including 8 who played on the team last year. They did about every drill/skill you can think of a) infield/outfield fielding, situation fielding, timed running, hitting off of machine, 20 min pitcher/catcher evaluations, etc. DD had a very good tryout, fielding, hitting and pitching and in my mind was one of the top 25% overall players. The coaches were all male and several ACs had daughters on the team. An interesting observation, so the head of the org shows up a little late, and apparently is the hitting coach for the team, and commented on and corrected every batter as they took their swings. For example, DD likes to release her top hand after she makes contact. Hitting coach told her not to do that, implying that her dominate (top) hand should stay on the bat the whole time, including the follow through. By the way, her personal hitting instructor has never had a problem with this area of her swing...

So as tryouts are winding down, the hitting instructor/head of org pulls aside 7 (DD not one of them) of the 30 girls and has them go talk to the coaches. The HC looks puzzled and annoyed but thanks the remaining players, says that he will call if things change, blah blah blah. DD and I were a little disappointed because we thought she had a great tryout and we knew they were looking for a couple of additional pitchers. Well, about two hours later I get a call from the HC who apologizes to me, saying that when they went back to review the tryout stats that DD scored high and that they "accidentally" left her off the first cut of players, and they would like her to attend a practice this week with the existing team players to make the final cuts.

Well last night the HC from Tryout 1 says that he would like DD to officially join the team, that his top choice catcher and SS already committed (among other players) and they will be having one more tryout next weekend. While we have not accepted yet, we like this team and having the HC also know alot about pitching I think will be a bonus as he can help DD become a "pitcher" not just a "thrower".

Some quick additional observations:

- I am still surprised by the number of players who show up to the tryouts wearing their full team uniforms from last season (whether its a rival team or they played with the org hosting the tryout!)

- Some of the players wore their emotions on their sleeve and would get down on themselves right in front of the coaches. Not good..

- During one drill, the batters were hitting off of the machine and all of the other 28 players or so were in the outfield shagging for over an hour as they rotated the players in to hit! Not an effective use of time.

- There seemed to be some miscommunication between the coaches on who they wanted to make the first cut and who they didn't.

- On Team 2, I found out later the assistant coach (pitching coach) also has a DD that pitches. Possible red flag, especially because she is a returning player.


So I think we are done already and will pull the trigger on Team 1 this week. How are your tryouts going????
 
Aug 19, 2015
888
63
Atlanta, GA
I've noticed a lot of the same things you are noticing. DD is going into first year of 14U. I hate the cattle call workouts. Something always seems to get missed. DD is a catcher with Right Field as her secondary. At one of the big "workouts" (sidebar: workout vs. tryout: WTH? Aren't they all really tryouts? Why go to a workout if it's not a tryout? But I digress...), they took pitchers and catchers to another field and had them warm up for a LONG time. But never had pitchers on the mound or had catchers do throwdowns, etc... And during that time, the other field was doing outfield drills. Which DD totally missed and they ended the tryout without her getting to do her secondary position. WTF? OK, well, guess that one was a waste.

I also kind of hate the "I'm interested, but not going to make an offer on the spot, but don't accept any other offers yet" speech. Limbo-land. We'll go back to a second go-round for at least three teams this week. She's got one offer on a new team, but I'm skeptical of their claims to being an "A" team in their first year. Would be nice to have a solid offer in hand by the end of this week. I'm SO ready to be done with this...
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,498
113
Florida
There are a grand total of 4 'A' quality pitchers in 14U-A in the area who are unattached to teams and no one knows where they are going to land because they have turned up for every tryout. Pretty much every genuine 'A' team needs at least one of them - some teams really need two of them. There are honestly about 8 - maybe 10 teams - that could have the batting & fielding, but they need these pitchers to be able to compete and have a chance to win at the ASA qualifier level.

Complicating this, two of these pitchers genuinely hate each other from past teams, so they wont end up on the same team and another one of them I am sure is going to go to a 16U team that she guest pitched for last season... 4 teams have already told me that one of these pitchers (i.e. the same one) has committed to their team so there is going to be some real disappointed people around. And 16U teams are now coming off tryouts realizing they need pitchers... so I know they are sniffing about as well.

But the reality is that until these 4 girls actually commit, NO ONE else is committing anywhere. No one wants to commit to a team with only 1 decent pitcher.

We are good. Our team is set... but I still got a call from one of these 4 pitchers yesterday asking to come over and play for us.

Oh and a friend went with his DD to an org tryout yesterday (his DD is younger and is moving into 14U). This org got 34 good solid players out to tryouts... but only 2 pitchers of any worth. That doesn't add up either.


So tryout season is about normal I would say.
 
Last edited:
Aug 19, 2015
888
63
Atlanta, GA
There are a grand total of 4 'A' quality pitchers in 14U-A in the area who are unattached to teams and no one knows where they are going to land because they have turned up for every tryout. Pretty much every genuine 'A' team needs at least one of them - some teams really need two of them. There are honestly about 8 - maybe 10 teams - that could have the batting & fielding, but they need these pitchers to be able to compete and have a chance to win at the ASA qualifier level.

Complicating this, two of these pitchers genuinely hate each other from past teams, so they wont end up on the same team and another one of them I am sure is going to go to a 16U team that she guest pitched for last season... 4 teams have already told me that one of these pitchers (i.e. the same one) has committed to their team so there is going to be some real disappointed people around. And 16U teams are now coming off tryouts realizing they need pitchers... so I know they are sniffing about as well.

But the reality is that until these 4 girls actually commit, NO ONE else is committing anywhere. No one wants to commit to a team with only 1 decent pitcher.

We are good. Our team is set... but I got a call from one of the 4 pitchers yesterday asking to come over and play for us.

Oh and a friend went with his DD to an org tryout yesterday (his DD is younger and is moving into 14U). This org got 34 good players out to tryouts... but only 2 pitchers of any worth. That doesn't add up either.


So tryout season is about normal I would say.
As mom of a catcher, it sure sounds like good pitchers hold a LOT of power, don't they? But you're right; a team without quality pitching is going to suffer if it even survives at all.
 
Jul 25, 2015
148
0
As mom of a catcher, it sure sounds like good pitchers hold a LOT of power, don't they? But you're right; a team without quality pitching is going to suffer if it even survives at all.
Yeah, well, while it takes a quality pitcher to help a team along, without a quality catcher even the best pitchers won't look so good... ;) Oh and DD#2 happens to pitch but it seems "A" quality catchers are tougher to find...
 

JJsqueeze

Dad, Husband....legend
Jul 5, 2013
5,435
0
safe in an undisclosed location
No tryouts this year. Older DD is staying put, lil DD may switch teams but if she does it will be to a team that already knows and wants her. I hate tryouts and plan on avoiding them at all costs.
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,498
113
Florida
Yeah, well, while it takes a quality pitcher to help a team along, without a quality catcher even the best pitchers won't look so good... ;) Oh and DD#2 happens to pitch but it seems "A" quality catchers are tougher to find...
No doubt, but it doesn't matter how good the catcher is if the pitcher can't throw a strike or when she does throw a a strike it gets put to the fence. I am sure one of the things these pitchers are looking for is good catchers to catch them.

Catchers are absolutely worth their weight in gold - especially quality ones. My DD LOVES her catcher - she is worth a bucket load of close strikes and a whole bunch of 'no free bases'.
 
Jul 5, 2016
199
16
Yeah, well, while it takes a quality pitcher to help a team along, without a quality catcher even the best pitchers won't look so good... ...
Absolutely. My pitcher daughter needs a good catcher. Every pitcher throws some wild stuff once in a while and a better catcher will save a lot of that, not to mention dropped 3rd strikes and throw outs at 2nd.
 
May 22, 2015
355
18
Illinois
DD is first year 14U and this is the first year she's tried out for multiple teams. Been to tryouts for 6 teams in the last two weeks. Two of the teams you could tell were pretty much set, with maybe the exception of one or two spots. All 6 were run pretty much the same. Warm up and stretches, playing catch, long toss, split into groups for grounders and pop fly's, hitting and shagging balls. Some tryouts were definitely more efficient then others. DD ended up making the team that was her #2 choice. It has been a little nerve racking getting offers to play and turning them down or needing a few days holding out hope for one of her top choices.
 
Apr 16, 2010
856
28
Alabama
My DD hasn't gone through an actual tryout in a while so this year is a little different. She didn't want to play 12U last season so she left her solid "A" team to play up. Now she is going back to 14U and is wanting to play for four teams and three of the four had great finishes at PGF. A couple invited her to tryouts because they knew she would be available so that helps a little with the nerves. Of course they all have some really talented girls interested so she will have a dog fight to earn a spot.
 
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