This time of year always brings out the interesting challenge of tryouts. Players, parents, administrators and coaches all have different challenges through this time, and it can be one of the most stressful parts of the year for all those involved. Here are four tips to successfully navigating this process.
Don’t be Controlled by Emotions
Every coach will develop emotional connections to players and even at times families. While this can be beneficial at times, during tryouts it can be very difficult to navigate. Let the team know prior to tryouts that you promise to be upfront and honest with the players through the tryout process and that sometimes this can include telling a player they aren’t ready for the next level.
Prior to the tryout, do your best to become very familiar with the age group. Talk to players past coaches, opposing teams coaches and club administrators to get as complete a picture as you can walking into tryouts. Then when you are on the field you are looking for players to surprise you with higher level play than you might have expected rather than walking in blind.
Allow Player to Prove You Wrong
Hopefully you are intimately aware of the pool of players as best you can be. When this is the case there will likely be players who are not on your radar as having the ability to make your team. Give these players a chance to come in and prove you wrong. If they are showing you something you have not seen before, maybe you need to take another moment to look before passing judgement.
Look for Potential
Believe in yourself as a coach! It is enticing to take the player at U11 who is already 6 feet tall, but are you looking at the smallest kid at the tryout who likely has developed some ball skills that the bigger kids cannot imagine? Look for players potential and where they can be in a year and then prepare to put in the coaching work the other 11 months of the year to help that player reach their potential.