9 Essential Things Softball Coaches Look for at Tryouts

Last updated on September 5, 2023

When it comes to softball tryouts, coaches are looking for players who can contribute to the team’s success. But what exactly are they looking for? What skills and qualities do they value the most? Knowing what coaches are looking for can help you prepare for tryouts and give you an edge over other players.

First and foremost, coaches are looking for players who are skilled in the game of softball. This includes having good hand-eye coordination, strong throwing and catching abilities, and a solid understanding of the game’s rules and strategies. Coaches will also be looking for players who are physically fit and able to perform at a high level throughout the season.

But it’s not just about physical abilities. Coaches are also looking for players who have a positive attitude, are coachable, and work well with others. Quite frankly, there are some coaches who value attitude and willingness to improve over talent because they want players who are willing to, and going to, get better. Softball is a team sport, and coaches want players who are willing to put the team’s success above their own personal goals. By demonstrating these qualities, you can show coaches that you have what it takes to be a valuable member of the team.

The Evaluation Process

Softball tryouts are the time when coaches assess the skills, attitude, and effort of potential players. During the evaluation process, coaches use different techniques to evaluate players and select the best ones for the team. Here are the three main areas that coaches look at during tryouts:

Skills assessment

The first and most important aspect that coaches evaluate during tryouts is the player’s skills. Coaches look at several aspects of the game, including hitting, fielding, pitching, catching, and base running. They assess the players’ abilities to perform these skills and their overall game sense. Coaches often use drills and simulated game situations to evaluate players’ skills.


Attitude is another crucial aspect that coaches look for during tryouts. Coaches want players who are coachable, positive, and have a team-first mentality. They look for players who are willing to learn and improve their skills, take constructive criticism, and have a good work ethic.

During tryouts, coaches watch players’ interactions with their teammates and coaches, their body language, and their response to feedback. They want players who are respectful, supportive, and have a positive attitude, even when things don’t go their way.


The third aspect that coaches evaluate during tryouts is the player’s effort. Coaches want players who are willing to put in the work and give their best effort, even when things get tough. They look for players who are committed, hardworking, and have a never-give-up attitude.

To assess the player’s effort, coaches may use different methods, such as timed drills, endurance tests, or conditioning exercises. They’re also looking for you to hustle in areas you may not need to, like hitting a slow ground ball to second base, they want to see a full sprint all the way through the base. Coaches want players who are physically fit, mentally tough, and willing to push themselves to their limits.

Effort throwing

Scoring Criteria

Here are some of the criteria that coaches use to score players in each category:


Coaches aren’t expecting a homerun every swing; in fact, most coaches care more about how your swing looks than they do about where the ball goes. Focus on the fundamentals and being consistent.

  • Stance and setup
  • Swing mechanics
  • Contact with the ball
  • Power and control
  • Consistency


Make the routine plays. Errors are free bases so coaches understand that flashy plays are nice, but a reliable fielder is more important.

  • Catching and throwing technique
  • Footwork and range
  • Arm strength
  • Ability to field ground balls and fly balls
  • Situational awareness


Pitching is a great mental challenge and the pressure is certainly on under the scrutiny of a tryout. Set your attention on accuracy, you have to throw strikes if you want to spend significant time pitching.

  • Velocity and accuracy
  • Movement and control
  • Variety of pitches
  • Command of the strike zone


This isn’t just a place to show off speed and agility, you can draw the eyes of some coaches by being quick to react to uncommon situations that come up.

  • Speed and agility
  • Ability to read the field
  • Ability to slide and steal bases
  • Situational awareness

The scoring system is an essential tool that coaches use to evaluate players at tryouts. By using a set of criteria and a scale, coaches can make informed decisions when selecting players for the team. By understanding the categories and criteria used in the scoring system, you can prepare yourself for tryouts and increase your chances of getting noticed.

Hard Hit

How Do You Stand Out at Softball Tryouts?

When attending softball tryouts, you want to make a good impression on the coaches and stand out from the other players. Here are some tips on how to make yourself noticeable and increase your chances of making the team.


Coaches want players who are coachable and willing to learn. You can demonstrate coachability by listening to instructions carefully, asking questions, and implementing feedback. Show that you’re open to trying new techniques and that you can quickly adapt to changes in strategy.

Athleticism and strength

Softball requires a combination of speed, agility, and strength. Coaches look for players who can run fast, hit hard, and throw accurately. You can improve your athleticism by practicing running drills, working on your footwork, and doing strength training exercises. Make sure to showcase your physical abilities during tryouts, such as by running your fastest during a sprint drill or throwing hard when throwing.

Attitude and hustle

A positive attitude and a strong work ethic can make a big difference in how coaches perceive you. Show that you’re enthusiastic and passionate about playing softball, and that you’re willing to put in the effort to improve. Hustle during drills and scrimmages, and don’t give up on plays even if they seem impossible; don’t be afraid to give it a courtesy dive. Coaches appreciate players who are determined and willing to work hard.

Here are some additional tips to help you stand out at softball tryouts:

  • Be on time and ready to play. Show up early to warm up and stretch, and make sure you have all the necessary equipment.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and shoes that allow you to move freely.
  • Be respectful and polite. Address coaches and other players with courtesy and respect.
  • Show good sportsmanship. Congratulate other players on good plays and support your teammates.
  • Be confident, but not arrogant. Believe in your abilities, but avoid boasting or showing off.
  • Play to your strengths. Focus on showcasing the skills that you excel at, whether it’s hitting, fielding, or pitching.

By following these tips and showcasing your coachability, athleticism, and positive attitude, you can make yourself a standout softball player during tryouts.

Showcase Your Talent in Softball Tryouts

Softball tryouts are a great opportunity to showcase your talent and impress coaches. Whether you are a seasoned player or new to the sport, tryouts are a chance to demonstrate your skills and stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips on how to showcase your talent at softball tryouts.

Find your strength

The first step to impressing coaches is to identify your strengths. Are you a strong hitter, fielder, or have a cannon for an arm? Do you have excellent speed, agility, or accuracy? Once you know your strengths, you can focus on showcasing them during tryouts.

If you are a strong hitter, make sure to take plenty of swings during batting practice. Show off your power and control by hitting the ball to all parts of the field. If you are a catcher, demonstrate your ability to block pitches and throw out runners. If you are a fielder, show off your range and arm strength by making plays on ground balls and fly balls.

softball pitcher throwing

How To Prepare for Tryouts

Preparing for tryouts is crucial if you want to make a good impression on the coach and increase your chances of making the team. Here are some things you can do to be ready for tryouts:

Lead-up training

Before tryouts, it’s important to get in shape and work on your skills. Here are some training tips to help you prepare:

  • Conditioning: Start conditioning your body a few weeks before tryouts. You can do cardio exercises like running, cycling, or swimming to improve your endurance and stamina. You can also do strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups to build your muscles and improve your overall fitness. Long-toss is always a great way to keep your arm loose and work on arm strength.
  • Skill development: Work on your softball skills during the offseason. Practice hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills to improve your technique and build your confidence. You can also attend softball camps or clinics to learn from experienced coaches and players; getting information from former players is one of the easiest ways to gain information and tips.

Equipment and gear

Having the right equipment and gear is essential for a successful tryout. Here are some things you should consider:

  • Uniform: Make sure you have the appropriate uniform for the tryout. Check with the coach to see if there are any specific requirements or guidelines.
  • Cleats: Wear cleats that are comfortable and provide good traction on the field. Make sure they are broken in before the tryout. Some turf fields don’t allow cleats, have a pair of turf/running shoes or ask your coach to confirm.
  • Glove: Bring a glove that fits properly and is in good condition. If you need to purchase a new glove, make sure you break it in before the tryout.
  • Bat: If you plan to bring your own bat, make sure it meets the league’s regulations. If you don’t have a bat, the coach will likely provide one for you.
  • Protective gear: Consider wearing protective gear like a helmet, face mask, or chest protector if you feel more comfortable with them. Check with the coach to see if they are required.

Knock It Out of the Park!

You should be nervous, it shows you care! Knowing what coaches are looking for an being prepared can be a huge help when it comes to calming those nerves. In summary, softball coaches look for a wide range of skills and attributes when evaluating players at tryouts. While some coaches may prioritize certain skills over others, such as hitting or pitching, most will consider a combination of factors when making their final selections.

Overall, if you’re hoping to impress coaches at tryouts, focus on demonstrating a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to learn and improve. Show off your skills and athleticism, and be open to feedback and direction from your coach. With the right combination of attributes and abilities, you can increase your chances of earning a spot on the team and achieving success on the field.

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