How to Train for Softball Tryouts
Softball tryouts can be the most critical time of the year for some players. If you are a high school player new to your community, this is the best opportunity you have to impress your coach and win a spot on the team or a position in the starting lineup. To be at your best during tryouts, you must be well-prepared by training in all areas of the game. Having confidence will help you show your skills when competitors for spots are feeling anxiety.
Hit the softball off the batting tee throughout the offseason. The tee is not just a tool for children who are learning to swing. It is used by high school, college, Olympic and professional players to help fine-tune their swing. Hitting the ball off the tee will help give you the batting stroke needed to hit the ball consistently. Hit against live pitching at least three times per week in the four weeks leading up to the tryouts to keep your swing sharp.
Hit the ball where it's pitched. Coaches want players who understand the strike zone. They want hitters who will take the outside pitch to the opposite field, hit the pitch over the middle to center field and pull the inside pitch. Demonstrate this ability in tryouts and you will be branded as an effective hitter who has the skills to help the team consistently.
Take 25 to 50 ground balls every day to become a dependable fielder. Coaches can't expect infielders to make spectacular, diving plays on a regular basis. But fundamental plays are demanded. Fielders have to get in front of ground balls and keep them from getting through. They must square up, face the target and make accurate throws.
Demonstrate outstanding base-running ability. Base running is one of the most overlooked skills on the softball field. Speed helps, but it is not the decisive factor. Softball players have to know how to hit the inside corner of each base at full speed so they can advance. They have to know the game situation so they know the proper time to take an extra base or when to hold their base. This can be demonstrated during tryouts with decisive base running.
Work on your windmill pitch before tryouts if you are a pitcher. Windmill pitching is used in competitive softball. Work on your fastball, change-up, curveball, riser and drop. Top pitchers need to throw a variety of pitches with excellent control. "You have to work on your pitching all year long in order to be effective," said former U.S. Olympic pitcher Jenny Finch.
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.