“We will arrive at 2pm” I answered.
“Good…I will be there at 1:45 so I can see the players walk off the bus.”
He was there to see us arrive at the diamond, but I didn’t see him until he came up to me 20 minutes before game time to confirm our starting line-up. He saw what the players were wearing when they got off the bus, who carried the equipment, how they warmed up, what players did when they weren’t hitting in the cages, and if their parents hand-delivered snacks and drinks to them.
“True character is what you do when you think no one is watching”
Coaches who are looking at taking players to the “next level” are all making significant investments. The next level might be professional baseball, college baseball, or making a travel team, but the coach needs to be comfortable that they are getting the type of person that will fit into their program. Obviously players need to have the skill set to compete at the next level, but the second criteria for most coaches is strength of character.
Remember that scouts and evaluators show up to the diamond with a list of players they are watching, but that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t impress them. Here are a few reminders for players to ensure the best side of your character shows through at the critical moments of evaluation:
- Play hard all the time, not just in evaluation situations.
- Run out every ground ball, sprint out to your position, dive back to first, and layout for every ground ball.
- If you play hard all the time you won’t have to be a different player during evaluations.
- Carry your own bag.
- Don’t have your parents carry your baseball bag.
- Independence is an important factor for success at the next level.
- Be a good teammate.
- Carry the team equipment and clean up the dugout after games.
- Bring your teammates glove and hat when they are left on base.
- Play catch with your outfielder between innings when you are on the bench.
- Use positive language with your teammates.
- Come prepared.
- Bring a healthy lunch so you don’t have to line up at the concession for a hamburger between games of a double header.
- Have water/Gatorade packed so your parents don’t have to run around to keep you hydrated.
- Have all of your equipment with you.
- Bring sleeves and a jacket when it is cold and sunglasses when it is sunny.
- Dress for success
- If you come dressed in your uniform wear running shoes or turfs (no flip-flops).
- If you come to the park in street clothes, don’t change in the dugout if at all possible.
- While wearing your uniform, always keep your jersey tucked in and your hat on forward.