Jeff Farris
There are so many different things that coaches look for in building a team. Player skill is just one thing and sometimes not even the most important. Coaches evaluate players on a variety of other criteria including:
  • Team Skills - Does the player grasp the way teams work together to win games?

  • Relative Physical Development - Is the player physically larger or small than his teammates?

  • Leadership - In tough game situations, could the player step up as a role model for teammates?

  • Listening - Does the player pay attention and understand things quickly?

  • Personality - Does the player's personality fit with the other player's selected?

  • Mentoring Ability - How much can the player positively impact others on the team?

  • Positional Knowledge - How much does the player know about the playing the variety of situations faced in regular game?

  • Unselfishness - Does the player make plays for the benefit of the team or build individual stats?

  • Level of Effort - How hard does a player work during tryouts?

  • Familiarity - Does the coach have experience working with the player?

  • Family Involvement - Does the coach have good or bad experience working with a player's family?

  • Team Needs - How many players are needed for each position? Though last on the list, team needs are often the most important. Teams don't need five skilled catchers. So even though a player may be a great catcher, the chances of making a team are greatly diminished if the coach prefers another player for that limited need.

While a tryout may look like a skills contest, coaches can observe these factors by the way the skills are carried out. Most coaches believe that skill deficits are much easier to correct than the issues listed above. Coaches will gamble with lesser skilled players that present the best overall package.

Good coaches can make skilled players but only the players themselves (with the help of their parents) can make skilled teammates.