Little League Baseball is a very serious, organized activity, with official rules and procedures governing not only its games, but its auxiliary activities. For example, its operating manual specifies the basic procedure for forming teams by drafting players, though individual leagues vary the details.
The draft is preceded by organized, formal tryouts. Participating players are assigned numbers to wear on their back, which representatives of the teams use in making notes.
Players are put through a series of drills:
Either a coach can pitch, or a mechanical pitching machine can be used. As each player comes to the plate, their number is called out. Each gets a certain number of swings, and then the next player gets a turn.
2. Fielding a ground ball
Players line up vertically on the left field side of the infield. The number of the player in front is called out, and then a ground ball is hit to him. After he fields it, he moves to the back of the line, and the next player gets a turn.
3. Throwing to first place
As part of that same drill, players are judged not only on how well they field the ball, but on their throw across the diamond to first base.
4. Catching the ball at first base
On the other side of the infield, as part of this same ground ball drill, other players line up behind first base. The number of the player in front is called out, and he takes his position on the bag. After taking a throw, he moves to the back of the line, and the next player gets a turn. After players on both sides of the infield have all taken the designated number of turns, they switch sides of the infield, and the drill is repeated so that every player has a chance both to field a ground ball and throw to first base, and to take a throw at first base.
5. Catching fly balls
Players line up in the outfield. The number of the player in front is called out, and a fly ball is hit to him. This can either be hit by a coach, or a mechanical pitching machine can be tilted upward to toss fly balls. After the player has a chance to field a fly ball, he moves to the back of the line, and the next player gets a turn.
During the drills, coaches watch closely to scout potential players. But effective scouting means more than just seeing who does well and poorly in the drills. A good coach is also watching attitude and body language, and taking notes. He wants to know who is focused on the drill and giving their best effort, as opposed to those who are more interested in gabbing with each other, don’t know when it’s their turn, don’t bother to line up properly, etc. A good coach wants to see who has the dedication and the right attitude, because that translates into players who will show up for games and practices, and who will work to improve their skills.
Armed with this scouting information, then, the coaches draft players for the upcoming Little League season.