The last play is barely in the books and then it starts! You have the last post-game meeting of the year but there are a bunch of players that are barely paying attention because their focus is many miles away. What is the prize they have their eyes on?
Their next team, of course!
I understand that players are going to change teams. Sometimes it’s the players fault, sometimes it’s the coaches’ fault, sometimes it’s the parents’ fault and sometimes it’s no one’s fault. But changing teams is going to happen. Many players will tryout for multiple teams and then hope to be offered a spot on the team of “their dreams”. Others, are just hoping to get the call to be selected to play on any team.
Why worry about the “tryout culture”, you ask?
I believe it creates an attitude that sticks to a player for her entire career. We have all heard the old saying about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. So many players start believing in this proverb, in a literal way from a very early age. Don’t worry, if you don’t like this team, another is just a phone call, and tryout, away.
You see the consequences of the tryout mentality all over the college game. I get it, players have always transferred, but it used to be the exception rather than the rule. Once upon a time both the player and the coach worked their tails off to try to repair the issues that might make a player want to transfer. You would both be committed to making it work rather than seeing it fail.
Now as soon as a player is unhappy, they start looking for their next school and as soon as a college coach hears that a great player at another school might be unhappy they go to work on planting the seeds of opportunity.
I think trying to say it’s right or wrong is probably too strong but I do believe something has been lost.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.