Youth Baseball Tryout Drills
In the sport of youth baseball, leagues and organizations want to do skills assessments of young players before they are put on teams. These skills assessments -- or tryouts -- may determine what level children are placed in or whether they have the skills to protect themselves from a batted or pitched ball. The tryout drills include hitting, fielding, throwing and running.
To judge how well a child can field a batted ball, he is asked to field five ground balls and three fly balls. In many cases, fielding drills are done in the winter months of February and March. As a result, you may conduct these drills indoors. Fielding a batted baseball indoors is actually easier for the youngster because there are no bad hops on a gym floor. The fly balls may be batted or thrown to the youngster. Each youngster is given a grade of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score.
Throwing and Pitching Drill
The throwing drill is usually done in conjunction with the fielding drill. After fielding each ground ball, the player is asked to throw the ball to a fielder stationed 40 to 50 feet away. The player is graded on the accuracy and strength of her throw. Later on in the tryout, the player is asked to demonstrate her pitching skill. An indoor pitching mound is used to simulate the mound in youth baseball games. A catcher is stationed 45 feet away, and the player is asked to throw five pitches. She is judged on accuracy, speed of her pitches and overall effectiveness.
The player's hitting ability is judged on 10 swings taken in a batting cage. Rather than just entering the cage without having warmed up, players swing at baseballs on a batting tee and at Wiffle balls before stepping into the cage. Then the batter hits the balls. Batters are judged on their ability to make contact and hit for power as well as their form.
It's important to know the speed of your players. Speed helps a player in the field chase down a ball in the outfield and run the bases. Timing your players for 30-yard runs helps coaches and managers get an assessment of the players' overall speed. The overall speed of the player may not be an indication of a player's ability to run the bases, which is largely based on baseball knowledge, instincts and confidence. Still, if a player has those characteristics, having speed helps them become better players.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.