Jul 18, 2014 8:36 AM
Before you do anything sit down with your daughter and discuss specific goals she has for next season.
1. What is it she wants for herself? Have her describe her new team with as much detail as possible.
2. Does she want to play a specific position?
3. Is she willing to play a different position if asked?
4. How many times a week does she want to practice?
5. How often does she want to play tournaments?
6. Does she want to attend a Nationals or World Series event?
Next sit down with your spouse and ask yourselves the following:
1. How much time can we commit to a team? # of tournaments per year? # of practices per week?
2. How much money are we willing to commit to the team in team fees?
3. Are we willing to commit money for hitting, pitching, or catching lessons?
4. How much money are we willing to commit for hotels and travel expenses?
Please keep in mind that tryouts are a 2-way street. Teams are obviously trying to find players to fit their team, BUT parents need to make sure that the team is a good fit for them.
To find the best fit for your daughter and your family.
Here's a few questions to ask to get the ball started.
1. What's the purpose of the team? What is their purpose and goal?
2. What was their fall schedule/record this past season? Winter schedule? Next spring and summer schedule?
*** This will give you an idea on how well organized the coach is and how well thought out the coach is for the upcoming season.
3. What's your practice schedule like for the fall, winter and spring/summer? How many times a week/month? How often do you practice?
4. Can we see some past practice plans for the team?
*** This will allow you to see how much the coach puts into his practice plans. If they're unable to provide one, then this speaks volumes for the lack of foresight and preparation he/she puts into the practices.
5. Ask for the most current team financial records showing expenses/income for last season etc..
*** Again, if they are unable to do so, this a major red flag. With the kind of budgets teams are using now days, it's imperative that teams keep good accounting records.
*** Personally my team could provide you with spreadsheets, bank statements and quickbook statements.
6. Do any monies go to the organization or does it all stay with the team? If the answer is yes, then what does it include?
7. What are the fees and what does it include? Uniform(s), insurance, tournaments - how many? etc..
8. How many games does the team plan on playing next season?
9. How many out of state tourneys? How many?
10. Is the team planning on qualifing and playing in a nationals or world series event at the end of the season?
After you've done the research and you're convinced you'd like your daughter to tryout for a team, ask to have your daughter participate in a practice with the team in addition to a tryout if that's possible. This will allow you to see how the coach(s) interact with the team while allowing you to talk to the parents. Don't feel like you have to wait for tryouts to meet the coach and some current parents. Contact them as soon as possible and start doing your research. If possible have a private conversation with some of the current parents. They are a great resource for info, but talk to more than one.
Don't be afraid to ask tough questions.
My last piece of advice is simple. Follow your gut! Don't get caught up in all the hype of a new team, or a new organization, or how many kids were at a particular tryout. Good organizations and good teams have a mission and above all have good leadership and are well organized.
Do the research! After all this is your daughter you're talking about. She'll learn a lot from you on how you conduct your research. It's just like interviewing for a job!
Again remember, finding a good team is a 2 way street. You need to find a good fit for your daughter while the team needs to find a good fit for their team.
Coach Eric Linton
IN Gators 2002