TRYOUTS AND THE TEAM SELECTION PROCESS
During the tryouts for our 2017-2018 teams, we will run over 100 players through drills and games designed to highlight their athleticism and baseball skills and IQ so that the proper team placement for each player can be determined.
We understand that this can be a stressful time for players and parents alike. Please remember that while the goal of our program is to take the best players in the New Trier community and prepare them rigorously to play high school baseball at New Trier, we also want to provide a fun and memorable experience for a group of really talented kids. Proper team placement is an important part of reaching both goals—we want the kids to not only be challenged and prepared, but challenged and prepared at an appropriate level, so that they have fun and, most importantly, are encouraged to keep playing baseball.
One word on that. Please keep in mind that, as we always tell the kids, their team placement this weekend not only doesn’t define them as people, it doesn’t even reach any final conclusions on them as baseball players. Players grow, both as baseball players and physically, at different paces, and many past Feeder A2 and B players have gone on to successful New Trier Baseball careers. Tryouts, then, are merely a snapshot in time, no more and no less.
With that, some words on the process:
The tryouts will take place on September 23-25, 2017.
On the first day of tryouts (Saturday), all players will be run through six different stations designed to test their hitting, fielding (including catching, if applicable), pitching (if applicable), and baserunning. The 13U sessions will take place from 3:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M., and the 14U sessions will take place from 4:30 P.M. - 6:00 P.M. All sessions on Saturday will take place at Winnetka Pony Field.
On the second day of tryouts (Sunday), all players will participate in one of two scrimmages. The 13U scrimmages will take place at 3:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. at Winnetka Pony Field, and the 14U scrimmages will take place at 3:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. at Northfield. All scrimmages will last 2 hours. In addition, some (but not necessarily all) players will take batting practice "on the side" as the games go on. Rosters and field locations for Sunday will be posted on the website on Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Finally, on the third day of tryouts (Monday), some players will be asked to participate in scrimmages at Winnetka Pony Field. This is not indicative of any final placement, so please caution your player not to draw any conclusions from who is or is not invited. The 13U scrimmage will take place from 4:15 P.M. - 5:45 P.M., and the 14U scrimmage will take place from 5:45 P.M. - 7:15 P.M.
Please make sure that your player arrives at the field each day no later than 30 minutes before the start of the tryouts each day. The tryouts will start promptly at their appointed times, and there will be no additional time for warming up. Please make sure you bring a signed copy of the Commitment Policy (available for printing on the website). Players will not be permitted to participate in tryouts until we receive it.
If you know in advance that your player has to miss one of the tryouts, please make sure you notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately, if you have not already done so. Tryouts are an important final part of the process so, no, “I want to go to the Cubs game” is not considered a good excuse for missing them.
Tryouts are open to the public, and you are welcome to stay and watch--we just ask that you please not coach or talk to any of the kids during the tryouts. (Yes, that really has happened).
Number of Teams
In 2017-2018, we will have 3 teams at the 13U level and 4 teams at the 14U level.
All of our 13U teams will be stack-ranked. Our top two 13U teams (13A1 and 13A2) will play in the LSFBL's A division. Our 13B team will play in the LSFBL's B division.
Our 2 14A teams will be stack ranked, and (as was the case last year) our 2 14B teams will be split evenly. Our second team, 14A2, will play in the LSFBL's A division, and our 14B teams will play in the LSFBL's B division. A decision on where to play our top 14U team, 14A1, will be made in the months to come. In the meantime, parents of players placed on that team can rest assured that our goal is to make sure that all of our teams are appropriately challenged, but are mindful of creating an undue travel burden for our families.
All four of our 14U teams will go to Omaha, and do so during the same week. Our 14A1, 14A2, and 14B teams will play in different divisions.
Unfortunately, given the number of players that try out, there will be many players, particularly at 13U this year, that are not selected for any team. Making any team should be considered a significant accomplishment for your son or daughter.
Each level (13U and 14U) has been assigned a dedicated team of Feeder coaches and senior IBA evaluators that have been evaluating the players all fall in the Tryout Prep Program and will be conducting the final tryouts and determining team placement. All placement decisions are being made by those independent coaches and evaluators—while Feeder Board members may be present at the evaluations and during the team selection process, they will serve only as proctors to ensure the integrity of the evaluation and selection process. (Feeder Board members with a conflict—that is, with a player trying out at a level--will not take part in the evaluations at that level).
13U players (and any 14U players new to Feeder) will be evaluated almost exclusively based on their performance in the five week Tryout Prep Program and in the tryouts, not just in the tryouts or based on their performance in, or coach evaluations, from other programs. That is because our belief is that everyone should get a fresh start, and be viewed with fresh eyes, upon entry into Feeder. That said, in close cases, overall performance in and coach evaluations from our constituent programs (NTTB, WBA) may be be consulted in 13U placements (or in placements of 14U players new to Feeder).
Returning 14U players have an extensive, year-long body of work in front of our coaches. They will be evaluated primarily based on that body of work--that is, based on their overall performance at the 13U level for Feeder in the prior year, and the evaluation of their 13U Feeder coach. That said, in close cases, their performance in the five week Tryout Prep Program and in the tryouts themselves will become a significant and potentially decisive factor. Since the focus of our program is development, Feeder will not use any official or unofficial statistics in the evaluation and team selection process. (We know many of you don't believe us, but it really is true).
We will post the teams on Monday, September 25, 2017, following the conclusion of the final tryouts.
After The Team Selection
As team selection is in some sense inherently subjective, we know that there will be some players who are disappointed with their placement. We can tell you that our coaches and evaluators try extremely hard to get it right, and have already spent and will continue spend hours and hours looking at and discussing the players and determining proper team placement. They care a tremendous amount, and, for what it is worth, in answer to an anonymous survey we conducted after last season, the parents of only 2 (out of 73) players believed their son or daughter had been incorrectly placed last year.
In light of that, we ask that you abide by the “24 hour” rule, and not contact any of the coaches, evaluators or Feeder Board members with respect to your player’s placement until 24 hours following the team postings. In conjunction with the posting of the teams, we’ll list contact information for the appropriate person on the website. That person will be happy to speak to you and your player to explain your player’s placement and discuss what our evaluators see as his or her strengths and weaknesses. Just please understand that, once posted, absent some clerical error, the team placements are not going to be changed, and so your questions should be directed towards making your son or daughter a better player, not abusing the coaches and evaluators. If you and/or your player approach the conversation that way, our folks will be happy to talk to you as long as you want to.
Each player will have until the end of the day on September 27, 2017 to accept his or her spot and pay in full on the website to hold his or her spot. For the entire 2017-2018 season, registration will be $1,850 for all playerss. That is essentially the same as last year's cost--by popular demand, we've just bundled the Offseason Training Program (which only one player didn't participate in last year) in with the rest of the program this season. All 14U players will also be charged a $350 supplement to be utilized to pay coach expenses and tournament fees for Omaha. While we have reserved a block of rooms for the tournament, payment for those rooms (and all other personal/family expenses) will be your individual responsiblity.
(In the event that for competitive reasons one or more of our teams ends up scheduling materially more games than our other teams and we incur additional coaching/field cost expenses, in fairness to our other families, we will charge a small supplement to the involved team families in order to defray those costs.)
In fairness to players that we have cut, we will enforce the 9/28 deadline strictly and offer uncommitted spots to players who were not originally offered team placements. That said, if you are having financial difficulties and that imposes an undue burden on you, please contact us and we can discuss a payment plan.