When meeting a coach for the first time in practice or at tryouts, obviously the point is to catch their eye and make a GOOD impression. There are actually a number of ways you can do that without even having to throw a ball or swing your bat. Here are 5 simple non-softball-skill ways to make a good impression and score yourself some brownie points the coaches.
1. Be On Time and Ready
One way to get off to a great start is to get to the field on time and be ready to practice! Have your equipment in place, your glove ready to go, and your socks and shoes on BEFORE practice or the tryout session is supposed to start. A player who is scrambling to put their bag away, find their glove, and put on their socks and shoes when the coach is ready to get started is not going to make as good an impression as a player that already has everything in order and is more than ready to begin when the coaches are. You only get that one chance to make a good first impression so make sure you’re not the player scrambling at the start of the workout session. Be there on time and be ready to get off to a good start in the coaches’ eyes.
2. Have a Positive Attitude
Another thing coaches love is a positive attitude and an enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Players who embrace challenges and really love being on the field always stand out. By the same token, players who slump their shoulders, always look mad or upset, give dirty looks (aka “stink eye”), and drag their feet on the field leave a bad taste in the coach’s mouth. However, a player that is truly in their “happy place” when they’re on the field and really look forward to anything the coach asks them to do is someone that the coaches are going to remember in a positive light.
3. Give Your Best Effort
Another way to catch the coaches eye and make a positive impression is to play “all out” all the time. Players that are always giving their best no matter how hard or easy the drill, no matter who’s watching or not watching are tough to ignore. Some of this stems from really loving the game and what you do on the field. When you thoroughly enjoy playing the game, you’re more likely to give your best at all times. This is something that coaches love to see. If you can do that, you’ll be just the type of player that coaches want on their team. Play hard, go all out, and give your best effort no matter what and you’ll definitely make a good impression and stand out from the crowd.
4. Encourage and Support
A player that is able to positively interact with and impact their teammates by supporting and encouraging them are a valuable asset to any team. If you can support other players, help them perform better, and raise their game, coaches will take notice. This is not something that every player can do or even tries to do. Most players are concerned with making their own plays and making sure that they look good and play their best. Not all players are conscious of being a positive influence on their teammates and helping them perform at a higher level. In fact some players do quite the opposite, they can single-handedly bring an entire team down with their negativity. If you’re a player that can be the complete opposite and help improve the performance of your teammates, it will give you an advantage over players who can’t, don’t, or won’t. Coaches would much rather have an uplifting player on their team rather than one who brings the team down.
5. Be Respectful
Players who are respectful to their teammates to their coaches and to their parents, family, and even their equipment are usually the type of player coaches are looking for. How you interact with your parents and family tells a coach a LOT about how you will relate to your teammates and to them as coaches (not to mention umpires and opponents). How you care for your own equipment and uniform as well as team gear tells coaches something about the kind of respect you have for yourself, the game, and others. Players who can show respect to themselves and to others usually fit into a team quite well. Coaches do not like to have disruptive players on their team. If it comes down to team chemistry and who will work best with the rest of the team, be the player who’ll be the best fit, not the one that coaches see as a potential problem or distraction. A respectful player will make a much more positive impression than one who is not.
Remember, physical talent and ability is only a portion of playing this game. There’s much more to a great player than just softball skill. Work on improving in these areas as well as improving your physical softball skill and you’ll have a much better chance at impressing your coaches. Forget these aspects of the game and you may be putting yourself at a great disadvantage.