Making The Team

I’ve played travel baseball on a nationally ranked team every year for the last 6 years. I’m in 10th grade and hoping to make Varsity this year for my school. The only problem is the coach. I know I’m good enough to make Varsity and even start. But the coach doesn’t really know me that well. I talk to him, but he doesn’t say much. I think the other 10th graders who aren’t as good will make the team because of their reputation. What should I do to better my chances of making Varsity?
Coach Swift answers:
I’m going to tell you right off the bat that you’ve already started to set yourself up with an excuse for not making the team by using the words “the only problem is the coach.”

Your coach is charged with winning at the Varsity level and, while it may seem like he plays favorites, he doesn’t care if you’re purple so long as you can do the job.

As a former high school coach, I can tell you that a 10th-grader coming into a Varsity program needs to perform their best in practice so that they will get an opportunity to play in games. If you think that because you’ll do fine in the game you don’t have to hustle or do things right in practice, you’re mistaken and will never get on the field as a Varsity player.

There are also a lot of other factors that will affect your ability to play at the Varsity level, even if you make the team. Such factors include:

  • How big is the program?
  • How many returning players?
  • What position do you play and who is in front of you at that position?
  • Are you only a one or two tool player?

All these are questions that you and your coach need to answer both individually and together.

What you need to do is show up to practice on time, do your best and do things right and you will get noticed. Then you will get playing time.

Finally, I’d ask you to take a look at the situation from the coach’s perspective. Realistically, where would you rank yourself with all the other players that you know are going to be on the field with you?

The bottom line is don’t worry about the coach. Just worry about doing things right on your end. That’s all you can control.

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