10 Reasons WHY you Didn’t Make the Team

Yesterday, we offered what we hope is empowering advice for all the girls trying out who may not have made their travel team! Again, keep trying. If you love the sport, then by all means – don’t give up. So you didn’t make the team. You can read the article right here…. 

As parents, we like to think that everything boils down to politics. When we see our kids hurting, we want to believe that there is some grand conspiracy theory going on, that their ability or talent or lacks therein, had absolutely NOTHING to do with the end result, and that the disappointment was just a result of the infamous “Daddy ball.” While perhaps comforting, the reality is this victimization does nothing to help our children.

We can assure you, that 99% of the time, the aforementioned is NOT the case. Believe it or not, coaches DO spend a lot of time and put a lot of thought into choosing their teams. And most lose sleep over cutting girls, and the entire process is not quite as easy as one may think. 

We have recently collaborated with some travel coaches from big and small organizations and asked them what the MAIN reasons were that girls didn’t make the team, or were not asked back to play. And the answers, are very rarely personal. Remember coaches have a responsibility not to just ONE player, but to the 9-13 other players and their families as well. So here we go.

1. Players skill-set did not match the NEEDS of the team. This one is perhaps the most popular. Your daughter may be fantastic, one of the best catchers out there. But if a team already has an awesome catcher they are pleased with, then your daughters time and talents will be wasted. This is true for any position. Contrary to popular belief teams holding tryouts are looking to replace and trade-up every player on their team. Most established teams have a core group of girls and coaches are looking to fill gaps or weaknesses.

2.  Players skill set was either above or below the level of play for the team. If you try out for an A ball, GOLD, select team – then be prepared to have those skills. Likewise, if you try out for a team that plays a less aggressive schedule and your daughter is a stud, she may not be chosen because a) coaches know you won’t stick around long to ‘play down’! In other words be HONEST with yourself and try out for teams that match your level of play.

3.  Parents are a problem, cause drama etc. Often times, girls are not asked back to play after a season because the coach doesn’t want to deal with the parents. Fair to the child? Not really. But it’s also not fair for a parent to hold an entire team hostage with negativity or complaints or unacceptable behavior. Remember, teams spend A LOT of time together! A LOT! And coaches don’t want other people leaving because a ‘bad egg’ is allowed to stay on.

4.   Girl had a less than impressive tryout. Its common place for parents to tell coaches what their daughter can do. Coaches hear it all the time. But if your daughter doesn’t go out there in the allotted time period and SHOW her skills, then what do you expect a coach to do? Parents are notorious for having higher than typical opinions of their own child, and coaches need to SEE for themselves. If they are choosing between your daughter and another girl, and the other girl had a fabulous try-out, then it wasn’t personal. If your girl just had a bad tryout because of nerves, ask the coach if she could come to a workout, and continue going to tryouts to gain experience. A tryout is like a job interview.

5. Coaches only have so many positions. Most coaches aren’t looking to trade in their entire team. If you have 9 girls that show up to a tryout along with the core group from the team, then coaches obviously cannot take all 9. There are only 9 (or 10) positions on the field. And you definitely don’t want to be on a team with tons of players because then playing time is limited. Chances are they chose the girl that they felt was the best fit for their needs, and it had nothing to do with your daughters lacking skills.

6. Age is wrong. Most coaches like to keep girls together who are the same BIRTH YEAR! This helps keeping a team together because they will  move up together and it keeps coaches from having to find new players every season. If you are trying out for a 14U team, and your daughter is at the top of the age group while the team is a first year 14U, it may just be a matter of birthdays why your daughter was not chosen.

7.  Coach feels he has taken a girl as far as he can.  A GOOD coach, will not waste a girls talents that he cares about. If your daughter has played for coach for many years, sometimes complacency sets in. Tryouts in and of themselves are a great way to keep girls striving to better themselves. But sometimes, a player gets so comfortable with a coach and team that they stop working hard. They stop realizing their potential. They may become lazy, or even slightly un-coachable because they are just too comfortable. And this can be a problem for many reasons. Sometimes the best thing a coach can do to reignite the fastpitch fire is to not invite them back. This way they can grow and prove themselves with another coach.

8. Attitude Stinks. We have personally seen girls come to tryouts with a bad attitude. If coaches sense this vibe from a girl, no matter how talented she is, they may just pass. Listen, personality differences are part of life and not everyone likes one another. Sometimes the simple truth is that a coach feels like a girl won’t fit in with his core group of girls, or he gets a bad vibe from the player during a tryout. Just like we encourage parents to listen to their intuition about teams and coaches when they try out, coaches have to do the same thing.

9.  Bad reputation. The fastpitch community is MUCH smaller than you may think. Girls and parents get reputations as being team hoppers, or drama starters, or negative or the player may have a reputation for having a bad attitude or not being fully committed. Coaches TALK to one another, and most know one another. Coaches pay attention to other players while they are playing. Maybe they witnessed the daughters melt down or heard dad screaming. Maybe they know the kid has been on 4 different teams in the last two seasons. While coaches should formulate their own opinion, the reality is that reputations in the fastpitch community follow the player.

10.  Player didn’t improve – or evolve with team. Often, coaches may not invite a player back, or cut a player because they just didn’t perform to the needs of the team during the season. Simple as that. Maybe the coaches have a vision for the team, and if they see a player doesn’t seem to be evolving and growing WITH the team, then inviting the player back just doesn’t make sense. It’s not personal. It’s just a reality.

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  1. David Forbes on August 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I agree, that we shouldn’t turn players into victims or martyrs, or lead the discussion with Daddy and Buddy ball excuses, and that players should look at these reasons above and honestly evaluate their own efforts,… but I think you cannot simply dismiss the fact that unfortunately there are terrible orgs and coaches and players out and you can’t just take the “maybe it’s you approach.” There are other issues that factor into in the decision making process. For example, some coaches do not properly evaluate talent or see every girl at the tryout, sometimes badly run tryouts make it difficult to offer every player a fair or equal evaluations. There are teams filled with manipulative cartels of families who influence decision making. I think your ten reasons place all the reason and the burden on the player and their family. I’ve even witnessed incumbent players influencing the coaches on the decision making process. Sometimes those reasons your kid didn’t make the team isn’t just on the player. In most of those cases, you probably don’t want to be on a team like that anyways, but now I’d like to see the article called “Ten Signs of a Toxic Environment that Players Should Look for at Tryouts Before They Join a Travel Team.”

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