Coaches, every year you are on the lookout for the next great player. You are always looking for that player that can make your team better. That next player who will take your team over the top. There are going to be tryouts and workouts and scouting missions, all designed to find those players.
First, the good news, there are a lot of players out there. The bad news, most of us are not very good at identifying who this players are. Now, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholders whether or not you have found the “right” player will always be up for debate but the bottom line is, if we were really good at identifying the right players we might not always be looking for better ones!
Things to look for when you are trying to find the next player for your team:
1. She hustles! All the time, every day, no matter the score and no matter what position she is playing or where she is batting in the order.
2. She makes an effort to get to know the players she will be joining when she makes your team. She is engaging and personable. She is the kind of kid that other kids seem to be drawn to.
3. She responds well to mistakes or challenges. All players make mistakes but how they react to them and what happens after a mistake will tell you a lot about the player you are looking at. Does she pout, present bad body language, make excuses or just react badly? If she does, you know you don’t want to add those characteristics to your team.
4. She isn’t always looking over her shoulder to see what her parents think about everything that happens. She is respectful of her parents but is engages with the coaches and the team.
5. She is coachable. She looks you in the eye. she tries to incorporate your suggestions into her game. She asks questions if she isn’t sure. She presents good body language and works hard to improve.
6. She is an athlete. Now that doesn’t mean that she needs to be some sort of super specimen that appears to be carved from stone. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes but they are athletes. They move well, they possess body control and they look like they have the ability to add to their game.
7. She smiles! She is happy to be there. she wants to be a part of your team. Nothing about her says “I have to be here!”
There are undoubtedly many more things that are important in searching for the right players to add to your team but if you start with this list in mind, you are headed for a much happier outcome.
Good luck and good hunting!
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.