HOW IT WORKS
TheRustyArm: How many kids usually try out each year? And for how many spots?
Coach Dufek: Typically we get anywhere from 25-30 freshman tryout each year. We will get anywhere from 5-10 upperclassman tryout. This does not count the returning players from the previous season. I usually keep anywhere from 16-18 players on each team. We have three levels at which a player can compete at, Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman. Our returning players do not go through the week-long tryout that the newcomers do. They are evaluated throughout winter all, some will continue on in the program and some will be cut from the program because they do not have the ability to play at this level anymore.
TheRustyArm: What’s the timing/process for tryouts? For example, is there a baseball “class” that starts in the fall, then tryouts, then the season?
Coach Dufek: We have a baseball class that is only for returning players. We have a winter all season and our tryouts for that are in December. The winter all season lasts until the middle of February. In the middle of February we have another tryout for the spring season. Once that is over the teams are set and the regular season begins.
What do you think? I hope you enjoyed Coach Dufek’s comments as much as I did. The two biggest takeaways for me are 1. “Good coaching is key – for private lessons or team sports. In my opinion that’s most important. Help their player become as fundamentally sound as possible. Focus on their coaching.” I will be sure to provide Lefty with a solid foundation by seeking out the most qualified and nurturing coaches I can find.
And 2. “I think the biggest mistake parents make today is overdoing things. As a result, a player’s excitement for the game can sometimes taper off by the time they get to me. Parents mean well. But, too much intensity around the sport too early on can wear a young player down.” I will be sure to continue to be Lefty’s biggest fan and not his critic. I want him to continue playing baseball because he wants to, not because I want him to.
If Lefty gets the chance to put on the stirrups for his high school team (I know, I know…sadly, stirrups are a thing of the past) I hope he has the same great experience that I remember it to be. AND, I hope he wants me there cheering him on!