The Ole Ball Game

how to make a high school team?

by John
(Oakland)

John asked: This year I am determined to make my high school's baseball team. Unfortunaty I have only 3 years of experience all when I was younger. For the past 2 years I have practiced a lot. I also do baseball workouts at my school. I am great at hitting line drives but have not been pitched to before at high velocity.


My biggest problem is throwing. I throw faster than some that I have seen but I can tell they are my position 2 years ago. On the other hand I have seen those with faster and more controlled throwing. I say I throw in the late 50's-60's but some days I have control problems while other days I have great control.

I am hoping to play 2nd,or right field. I can track down fly balls with pretty good speed for my size.

I have put so much effort into trying to make the team despite being told time and time again that I don't have much of a chance. I have improved though and some have said I have a pretty good chance.

Also I have never had many infield practice so I know I may have some trouble there for fielding.

What can I do to improve? I really want to make the team and do not want to fail and not make the team. Try outs are at the end of January so I only have so much time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Rick answered: John, thank you for your question.

I believe you, or possibly a friend of yours contacted me some months ago. Hopefully you have been working on some of the things I suggested.

This close to your tryouts, I would focus on the position you feel you are strongest at. From your description, it seems to be the outfield.

Get as many fly balls per day as you can get. Work especially hard at getting yourself behind all fly balls that you can, so that you are catching the ball coming back in. That provides you with momentum to make your throw.

There are less complexities to prepare for in the outfield, than there are at second base. For now, concentrate your efforts where you feel your strengths are.

Work also on making accurate throws to your cutoff man. You are looking to throw the ball through his head, straight at your target. Cutoffs too high, or too low make it hard, or impossible for the infielder to work with, and generally allow runners to pick up an extra base.

If you can make a strong, accurate throw that the cutoff man can cut, or let go, you will have done your job.

Recheck your throwing mechanics to be sure you are throwing the ball over the top, not sidearm. If the ball is coming out of your hand with sidespin, accuracy and distance will be minimal.

You want the ball to spin back towards you to get the most distance and accuracy.

Check your grip on the baseball to be sure you are using a four seam grip. It provides the most accuracy as well as velocity.

Hitting will also be very important. Get out and hit with someone every day that you can. If you don't have anyone to hit with, locate an indoor cage facility where you can hit off a machine.

Hitting live is better than machines; but machines are better than not hitting. Your available time is limited.

Hit off a tee also. Between the two, you can get a lot of swings in per day. You can't get too many.

When tryouts start, always be early. Baseball on time is 15 minutes early, ready to go.

Run everywhere you go, to and from drills and stations, to the cage, everywhere. Walking makes it look like you aren't really into it.

Anything that needs done, jump in and get to it. Make the coaches notice you for the positive things that you do.

Pay attention. Coaches see everything. If they are explaining something and you look bored, or you look distracted, they feel you don't care. When it comes time to make their cuts, it is an easy place to start if someone doesn't seem into it.

If a coach is attempting to make a correction in something you are doing, avoid telling him that you have always done it this way. If he is trying to make a change, it is generally for your benefit, so that you can be more successful. Work to make it happen.

Have fun with it all. Don't stress over it. Relax and put all your effort into everything that you do. Make it hard for the coaches to keep you off the roster.

Since you have quite a participation gap, catching up will take some time. Find a way onto the roster, so that you have the opportunity to get coaching and practice everyday to close the gap.

It may be as simple as being the best bunter out there, or your ability to run the bases, or even being the best foul ball retriever at this point.

Hustle yourself onto the team so that you can start catching up. You never know how a season will turn out. Someone ahead of you gets hurt, goes ineligible, quits. You never know what will take place.

This spring will be my 32nd high school season. I can guarantee you, something will happen during the course of this year. Find a way to be there so that you have the opportunity to take advantage of it.

What is certain, nothing will happen until you find a way to stick on that roster.

What you wish to accomplish is one of the great joys in life, the opportunity to be a part of a group with a common goal and determination. Go after it with all that you have.

Good luck as you move forward. I would be interested in hearing how things are progressing.

I can suggest you go back into the site and look at the pages on throwing and hitting, base running, bunting. I believe you will pick up some things to work on.

Yours in baseball,

Rick





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