As you can see by the "Team Needing Players" section, it is now officially tryout season. If I may, I would like to offer a few bits of advice. 1. Research the teams you are interested in. The schedule they play; do they get into the tournaments you want? The way they are coached; did you watch them play at all? If your kid is interested in playing in college, do the teams you're interested in have a record of helping get their players recruited? Have you spoken to any of the parents who have children currently playing for that coach? I would take the opinion of former player's parents with a grain of salt since their opinion is formed largely upon why they left the team. 2. Yes, daddy ball is real. However, I would offer up that it is far less common than we are led to believe. Again, it's all about perception. Many parents don't see the reality of their child's abilities or attitude or behavior. 3. If a coach or an organization leader has to continually tell you how much they know or how much better they are than so and so, well, they probably aren't. There is something to be said for quiet confidence. This applies to players as well as coaches. 4. Ask lots of questions about fees and what, exactly, they are used for. If you get vague answers, such as "you get uniforms, fall/winter/spring tournaments, some of which are showcases, and we have our own facility", I would ask for specifics. Especially if they're asking you for $1000+ in fees. The more money you put into this, the more PO'd you will be when things aren't what you thought. 5. Watch the coach. Are they a yeller? Are they too passive? Do they control everything or have they surrounded themselves with good assistants who know the game? Most importantly, does their style of coaching line up with your child's style of learning? 6. Listen carefully to the coach's words. If they tell you your daughter will be the #1 pitcher and #4 batter on their team, RUN! I don't care how good you THINK your child is, this is a ploy to get you on the team. If the coach is any good, the players will earn their spots and their playing time. If he says "We play in the top showcases in the state", then you need to ask which ones have they played in. If they say "trust me", well, don't. Again, if they feel the need to put down any other teams, coaches, or organizations to make themselves look more attractive to you, then that should speak volumes to their character. 7. Take your child to tryouts for teams that you're not sure they could make. Believe me when I tell you that, while there are parents with "daddy goggles", there are also parents who don't realize how good their child really is. Many are the times I have seen parents of outstanding players understate their kid's talent. 8. The level of play is largely dictated by the organization you are playing for. Like it or not, established top-end organizations will attract the best players, more often than not. If you want to be truly competitive, those are the teams you want to play for. Start up teams are traditionally not very strong. This is not always the case, and when it's not, it's because you have coaches that have come from top organizations to start a team. 9. DO NOT tell the coach how great your kid is. DO NOT inflate your kid's stats and numbers. DO NOT involve yourself in your child's tryout. Let them do their thing and let their play speak for itself. A good coach will see right through your bragging as soon as they watch your child tryout. 10. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS Please, if anyone has more advice, please share.