My name is Allan Weaver & I coach Little League in St. Augustine, Florida. Your web page asked for comments concerning how some Leagues run their tryouts. While there is no great way to see exactly what a particular player is capable of (short of inviting 18 candidate players & staging a pick-up scrimmage game), this is how we run ours with the goal of getting the players (& their parents) ready to go home within an hour & a half:
1) We sign up 20 candidates (or less) per time slot & ask them to show up 30 minutes early to warm up.
2) We have someone (usually an umpire or League VP) run the tryout with assistance from two young men (players previously selected).
3) Each candidate is fungoed two ground balls at the shortstop position. The candidate fields them both & throws to 1st base.
4) Each candidate is hit two fly balls to approximately short left-center field. Both flies are fielded & throws are made to 2nd base & then to 3rd base on respective catches.
5) The candidates are asked to report to the dugout for batting five at a time, with the remaining 15 or so to stay in the field to "shag" the hits. Each candidate is given seven pitches from a pitching machine: the first two are bunted & the remaining five are hit "swinging away". After the last pitch, whether hit or missed, the candidate is requested to run the bases. The candidate returns to the field to "shag" the hits & to allow all candidates to rotate through the hitting cycle.
6) At the end of the tryout, the candidates are asked if they pitch and/or catch. With the fact in mind that these candidates are still kids, we have our tryouts on consecutive Saturday mornings. This allows those candidates who may have had a "bad day" on their first tryout to come back for a second chance. Only one tryout is mandatory to attend. If the candidate feels his/her best performance was done at the first tryout, there is no requirement to have them return for the second. This basic scenario has been working for us for several years. Many good basball players have gotten their start at S.A.L.L. by this very tryout system.