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What to Expect at a Softball Tryout

Congratulations! You are taking the next step in your softball career by trying out for a team. The key to doing well on your tryout day is to conquer your nerves. Channel any nervousness into something useful, like excitement!

This guide will let you know what to expect at a softball tryout so you are fully prepared and ready to blow the coaches out of the water with your performance. A tryout is a showcase of your abilities. 

So, figure out what team you want to try out for, lace up your cleats and get ready to be put on center stage! If you're new to the area, check out iSport's Team Directory for a comprehensive listing of teams near you!


It will not benefit you to go into a tryout without having practiced. Make sure to brush up on your skills for at least a couple weeks leading up to the tryout. Take a friend, sibling, or parent and practice defense and throwing daily. You’ll also want to take some swings off the tee and in the batting cages. Make sure to practice bunts, too!

Lastly, you will be expected to sprint everywhere on the field. Get some conditioning workouts in before your tryout to increase your stamina and agility. Running the bases, doing sprints, and stretching thoroughly will put you in tip-top shape for tryouts.

If you really want a head start, utilize iSport's Skills Camp Directory or the Softball Instructor Directory to get one-on-one practice before tryouts. Focus on the fundamentals and you'll be ahead of the game come the big day.

Come Early & Be Prepared

No coach will be thrilled with a latecomer; in fact, it may kill your chances of making the team. Being on time for a tryout means being at least 15 minutes early with any pre-registration form already completed. You do not want to be straggling onto the field while every other player is fully dressed and waiting on you to begin the tryout.

Likewise, there is almost nothing worse than being unprepared at a tryout, so make sure you have everything you need. You may want to pack your bat bag the night before to ensure that you don’t miss a thing: Cleats, glove, sliding pads, batting helmet, batting gloves, bat, and water.

Whatever you do, leave your nerves at home. You are at a tryout because you have the skills and you want to be there. Don’t let your nervousness get the best of you!

The Tryout

Tryouts are fairly basic. After everyone arrives, the coaches usually give a quick pep talk to try and calm everyone’s nerves. They’ll introduce themselves and go over the layout for the tryout. Then the tryout will generally proceed in the following fashion:

  • Jog, stretch, and warm up your arms
  • Run the bases (timed)
  • Defensive workout
  • Offensive workout
  • Pitching and catching
  • Final meeting before being released

This flow may not be the exact sequence your tryout will follow, but this is a good idea of what to expect.

Skills and Positions

You will be asked what positions you play. Make sure the coaches are aware of your primary position, but take some repetitions from as many positions as possible. You should never tell a coach that you are not willing to play a certain position. Hustle to where you are directed, and try your hardest.

Dive. Sprint. Slide. Sell out for every ball. You should never leave a tryout donning a sparkling clean uniform. Show the coaches that you are a well-rounded player and willing to play anywhere.

When you are trying out at each position, be aware of what they entail. Coaches will be looking for certain abilities:

  • At first and third base, you will be expected to be able to anticipate where every ball will be thrown, field all throws (both good and bad), and be fearless of all grounders.
  • At second base and shortstop, you’ll be expected to have great range, good hands, a good arm, and aggressiveness on grounders.
  • In the outfield, you will be expected to talk loudly, have outstanding range and a great arm, be able to run down fly balls, throw to the correct base, and dive for any ball that requires it.

Attitude & Coachability

Coaches are looking for team players — athletes who are willing to sacrifice for the team rather than play only for themselves. Your attitude and whether you are coachable will be a huge factor for their decision.

Keep Your Composure after Errors

Do not put yourself under the pressure of thinking you can’t make a single error during a tryout. People make mistakes; that’s human nature, and coaches don’t expect perfection. But it’s how you react to your mistakes that will be noticed.

You may commit a physical error from time to time, but try to eliminate mental errors. Immediately pick yourself up and hustle after a missed ball. After you get the ball, throw it back and ask for another. If a coach sees that you don’t give up on yourself, they won’t give up on you either.

Be Supportive & Loud

Be vocal. You want to stand out during a tryout so do not be mute or unresponsive. When other players are up to bat or taking grounders, cheer for them. Pick them up. If you were them, wouldn’t you want to have the same support?

If you are a positive person and supportive of others while trying your hardest, you will surely be noticed. Also, respond to any and all feedback, whether it’s coming from the coaches or the players. Thank them for advice and prove to them that you are actively listening, not just hearing their words.

Athleticism & Potential

If you are at a tryout, understand that coaches are looking for the best players to form their teams so you really have to come prepared to shine. Know your abilities and play towards your strengths.

Tryouts generally test the basic abilities for playing softball. But you should not be afraid to go all out and make the diving attempts at tough plays. Even if you miss a ball, coaches will appreciate (and remember) the effort.


Show a coach that you are athletic, not lazy. Make sure you run everywhere on the field. When you are taking grounders, get in and get out of the hot seat. If you miss a ball, hustle to retrieve it and get back in position, ready for the next one. If you are shagging balls during batting practice, hustle after ever ball. No coach will appreciate a player who just stands around.

Be a Leader

Coaches are looking for leaders, which means that you should take it upon yourself to take charge! Do not be shy to be first for the drills. When a coach has to wait for someone to step up and be the first to go, it can get frustrating, and they will likely be less inclined to select a player who appears tentative. Step up to the plate and be a leader. Even if you are the first player to take a ball or bat at every station, so be it. It’s definitely for your benefit.

Good Luck!

If you decide to go to a tryout, play hard. You are there because you want to be there. While it is definitely a competition against every other player at the tryout, make sure you have fun. Show the coaches that you love the sport and it will be evident in your performance.

Lastly, have high expectations for yourself. Forget your nerves and breathe. Be calm, composed, and confident, and you will be in the best position to do great!

Softball tryouts can be nerve-wracking! Telling you what to expect and how to prepare, this guide will help you leave your nerves at home and bring your A-game.
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