Scouting prospective baseball players is a major responsibility for a coach. However, analyzing a player’s capabilities on the field can go beyond their statistics. When building a roster, it’s one thing to judge physical talents. However, when looking for well-rounded athletes, it’s important to look inside as well.
Scouting competitiveness can be different than evaluating other tools like hitting or pitching. It takes a deeper look into a player’s psyche. How do they deal with adversity? Are they willing to put in the work in order to improve? Use these scouting tips to help analyze this valuable sixth tool in baseball.
THERE IS NO MOLD
One thing to recognize when scouting competitiveness is that any athlete – regardless of position – can be competitive. It doesn’t take a body type or specific skill set to have grit on the baseball field. Any player – leadoff hitter or ninth man up – can showcase their competitive nature and desire to improve.
With that said, coaches need to be mindful that different positions can compete in different ways. A pitcher might approach adversity differently than a catcher. It’s important to make note of their body language in stressful situations. How they carry themselves through adversity on the field can be a good indicator.
SEARCHING FOR TOUGHNESS
It’s important to critique a player’s competitiveness in baseball because it’s a game of failure. Despite their physical skills and abilities, athletes will encounter adversity throughout their careers. To have full confidence in your team, you need to trust that players will have that mindset to push forward and improve.
“I like tough kids. I like kids that go out there and they have something to play for, that love to compete,” one professional baseball scout says.
Mentally tough players can also enhance a team’s confidence and morale. Sure, a roster can be confident in their abilities, but when adversity strikes how will they react? Players that shy away from challenges can create doubt and uncertainty within a dugout. Athletes who embrace failure and seek progress can keep morale high, potentially leading to success.
A final aspect to look at in relation to a player’s competitiveness is their work ethic. A good environment to look for competitive players is at practice. Are your prospects working and training toward improvement or are they relying on talent alone? Are they continuing to hone their craft or resting on their laurels?
“The role of the scout, the modern-day scout, is to find out, if that player is playing on Tuesday, how is he going to get better on Wednesday to get ready for Thursday’s game? And that has a lot to do with what’s inside,” one professional scout says.
Players who showcase a desire to improve and put in the necessary work can also be positive for team success throughout a season. Rather than relying on talent, they can adjust to the game as opponents restructure their approaches.
Competitive players can mean more to a roster than their physical talents. Discover how to find that competitive edge within prospects with these coaching tips.