Lee Gann all by Lee Gann
Your evaluations may be in the summer, fall, or right before the season starts. Properly evaluating the talent you have is where building an outstanding baseball team begins. Here, Coach Gann covers the evaluation process he uses which helped him field a team that made the USA Today Top 25 High School Baseball Teams.
All baseball coaches should hold an organizational meeting for prospective players and their parents before evaluations and tryouts begin. This meeting should provide interested players and their parents information regarding what will be expected of the aspiring player during the tryout process and what criteria will be used in player selection.
Before the evaluation process and tryouts begin, the head baseball coach and assistant coaches should have an organizational meeting to discuss criteria and skill evaluation, tryout organization and establish a clear understanding of the ranking process. Day one begins with warm up and stretch, baseball running drills and simple throwing and catching drills.
Day one of tryout process should get off to a good start with a series of well-organized outfield drills. These drills help determine outfielder arm strength and throwing accuracy from precise distances for exact measurements. Players are measured from a variety of positions in the outfield and get multiple attempts from each for more accurate evaluations.
After warm-up, stretching and partner throwing, day two begins with speed evaluations in the 60-yard dash. Each prospective player runs two 60-yard dash to establish a median time. Next, players break off by position to various offensive and defensive drills with position coaches as they move through each station.
Day three builds on the skills evaluated in Day Two of try out process. Following warm-up, players are evaluated on defensive fundamentals in a variety of situations – slow rollers, double play, ground balls etc. Next, players are separated into groups in live batting practice situation where players are evaluated on their batting skills and in making proper defensive reads.
Day four builds on the previous three days of evaluation with more live and realistic situation. First is a tandem-relay drills testing outfielder and infielder skills, flyball communication drills and ending with situational batting practice, an important phase of the evaluation process.
Throughout the first four days, coaches have developed a good idea about the talent that has been evaluated, so on day five you find out who can put that talent into action. Also, once the team has been selected, be aware of the issues surrounding the posting of names on your squad.
When you get to the final selection process, there are some tough choices to be made. Issues to consider include the number of players able to play multiple positions from day to day. For instance, Coach Gann wants outfielders to be able to play all three positions in the outfield. Also, foresight is important. Don't give up on a player who could develop down the road.
After evaluating outfielders, it's time to look at the infielders. Evaluations are done from the a variety of locations on the infield as players fielding grounders and throwing to first base. Coaches document each player’s velocity and transition from glove to throw.