Let's Talk About Tryouts - Part 1

The intro of a discussion on the most challenging, nerve racking, yet essential part of youth sports

Spring is in the air!  It's April!  We changed the clocks.  We just celebrated Easter.  The flowers are blooming, which hopefully means that we have made it through another Pennsylvania winter and spring is in the air!  In the youth soccer world, this means we are making our way out of all those dingy indoor facilities and headed outside! (No offense to our beloved Yellow Breeches Sports Center intended there!)  We have made it through another winter of indoor trainings, and time spent in those crowded indoor facilities! (Well, in this year of the pandemic, we parents have spent a lot of cold dark evenings sitting in our cars in crowded parking lots.)  Another season of indoor turf and futsal games are in the books, and we are finally getting out into the fresh air again!  The springtime in youth soccer is always exciting!  We get into the hunt for State Cups, we have some awesome tournaments to attend, to go along with league play!  There is just something special about club soccer in the spring!  But there is something else that comes each spring.  There is another part of youth soccer that seems to linger out in front of us parents and players every year. In the fall it feels way pretty far away and we don’t think or talk about it much.  In the winter, when we head inside, we start thinking about it and talking about a little more.  But with the spring, we all start to feel this thing.  It gets bigger and bigger and is right in front of us.  The closer we get to it, the more intimidating it seems to be and the more on edge everyone can feel.  Do you know what that thing is yet?  It is tryouts for next year's team!  Tryouts are important, but we can also be honest, they are tough.  Heading into next years tryouts is challenging for everyone from the players, to us parents, and to our coaches.  They can be intimidating, and nerve racking especially for us parents but they are also an essential part of sports. 

Listen, tryouts are tough.  They may be the hardest on us parents, but I’m not sure they have to be as hard as we make them.  Now, I will tell you, I can say that with more confidence today than I would have years ago!  Today, I'm working through my youngest of four children heading into tryouts and while it's still not easy, the experiences over the years have helped me a lot.  I will never forget the nerves and tension I felt sending my son to his first soccer tryout years ago.  Staring at every touch and turn and ball strike, wondering if the evaluators saw the good touch or the bad one.  I remember the relief I felt when he made the team.  I will also never forget the hurt I felt for my oldest daughter when she was cut from her team years ago.  It was so hard to navigate her emotions…and mine!  I remember the first time my youngest daughter came to a Keystone tryout and saw all of the girls lined up and putting numbers on and trying out for the team.  As we walked up to the field, she stopped, and looked at me and said; “Dad, I’m nervous.”  It was a moment for sure...and while I didn't tell her this, I was nervous too!  

Over the next few weeks, we are going to talk about tryouts, and not only how to get through them as stress free as possible, but also how to lead our children through them in the healthiest way we can.  We will look at how to help our children push through their nerves, and how to walk with them if they get the good news of making the team, or how to respond to the disappointment of not making the team they want to be on after the tryout.  We are going to talk to some of our very own Keystone FC Directors of Coaching and Evaluators and look at tryouts from their perspective.  We will also try to give you some tips and tools and insights that may help your player be the best they can be on try out day!  I’m really looking forward to this discussion.  Here’s the series layout! 

Part 1 - The Tryout Series Introduction

Part 2 - NERVES - Is it ok to be nervous?  Helping or hindering my child with their nerves.

Part 3 - The Coaches Perspective On Tryouts – Actually hearing from our coaches!

Part 4 - Practical Tips and Tools For Your Child to Have a Successful Tryout

Part 5 - Good News or Bad News – Working Through the Emotions of Tryout Results.

I am really looking forward to this discussion.  We will see you next week as we talk about nerves.  Not only if it’s ok to have them but how to help our children push through them!