One year ago, my son Kevin was trying out for baseball. Now, at the time, he was in the “Rookie” division and was trying out for the “Minor” division. After going to two different tryouts, he waited patiently by the phone for a phone call from his new Minor division coach. He was 8 years old. He had already played one year of Rookie division baseball and thought he was ready for the Minors. He waited and waited. His friends were getting calls, but he wasn’t. Finally a call came. It was from his old Rookie division coach saying that he was going back to the Rookies.
He was devastated! What had happened? What did he do wrong? How could this be? Well the answer is, he lacked the skills, the motivation, and the desire that he needed to get drafted. He loved the game of baseball, but he took it for granted that his skills were better than they really were.
When you love a sport and you really want to make it onto the team, or you’re trying to get drafted to the next level, there are several things that you can do to ensure your success.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’ve never heard that phrase before, learn it and memorize it, because it’s true. Practice, practice, practice. I can’t say it enough. There are a lot of kids that are born with athletic talent. It’s a gift that comes naturally, but not for everyone. So for those of us who aren’t Michael Jordan, we have to work at it to improve. The more you practice, the better you WILL be.
Try to get out and practice the sport you’re trying out for at least an hour a day. It doesn’t have to be a grueling workout, just something that is repetitious. If it’s baseball, then swing the bat 100 times a day. If it’s basketball, then go dribble for a half hour. Little things like that will help you to improve your skills a lot.
Be in Shape
It’s important that you get in shape for your sport. If you’re tying out for a soccer team, the coaches are going to be watching the kids that aren’t panting like tired dogs. They will be looking out for the kids that are still going strong while the others are wearing out. This goes back to what I said about, “practice makes perfect“. If you’re out practicing everyday, then that should really help you to get in shape.
It’s also important that you eat well. Try and stay away from drinking too much soda pop and eating too much junk food. Drink at least four glasses of milk a day and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Usually when you’re trying out for a team, that means you’re not automatically going to make it. You are “trying out” so that the coaches can find the best talent available for their teams to be successful. Along with talent, though, comes motivation. If you are dragging your feet around the tryouts and don’t really look like you want to be there, then the coaches will pick up on that. No coach wants a player that is going to bring everybody else on the team down. Get excited, get motivated, and show it!
Before you head down to your tryouts, go get warmed up first. Eat a good meal that’s going to give you lots of energy, do some stretching, and throw the ball. If you go into your tryouts cold, it will show. Make sure that you give yourself at least an hour of warm-up time to get loose and ready.
What Ever Happened to Kevin?
Well, after finding out that he was being sent back to the Rookie division, Kevin turned to me and said, “That’s OK, next year I’m going to go straight to the Major division!”
Guess what, that’s exactly what he did. After baseball was over, he spent the whole winter playing baseball every chance he could get. He was hitting balls off of the tee at least every other day and was throwing the ball constantly.
When tryouts came around, I took him to the batting cage a couple of hours ahead of time and let him warm up. We threw the ball a little, he hit the ball a little, and got seriously motivated. As a result, not only did he shine at the try-outs, he ended up skipping over the Minor division (which isn’t very common), and went pretty high up in the Major division draft. To cap off the season, he went on to play on the All-star team. He was 10 years old.
Kevin’s story is a great example of working hard, being motivated, and having a strong desire to succeed. He wanted it and he got it, and then some. You can do it to, and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t!