Let's Talk About Tryouts - Part 2 - NERVES!

Helping Your Child With Their Nerves…or Not!

Welcome back to part two of our discussion on tryouts!  Today we are going to discuss something that we all feel and need to deal with as we walk into big or challenging moments in our lives.  NERVES.   I can tell you with confidence that most of the children will feel uptight, and nervous heading into the tryout.  I also know that every parent will feel nervous for their child as well…but I want you to understand two things about nerves as we get started today.

First, we need to understand that it is ok to be nervous!  Those nerves are natural and mean that you care about something and want to do well!  It’s important to have good open discussions with our children about nerves.  Let them know it’s ok to feel nerves and that everyone feels nervous when they are stepping into a big moment that they care about!  But if that is the case, it also means that if we all will feel nerves, then how we respond to those nerves is especially important!  Can we push through them or will they get the better of us and cause us to freeze up?  Now, if those nerves do grow to a point where someone is frozen or unable to perform, it’s a signal that something else may be going on and may need to be dealt with.  But I want you to understand it’s ok and natural to feel nerves.  You as a parent will feel them, and so will your child and typically the players who do the best on tryout day, are the ones who can free up and just play.  We parents need to talk about this nerve thing with our children.  It is ok to feel nerves, it means you care!

Second, as a parent I want you to understand that you can help your child through their nerves…or you can make it worse!  As a parent you can help your child relax and push through their nerves by what you say and how you act leading up to and during tryouts.

Walking into a tryout at a club like Keystone can be intimidating.  There will be a lot more kids trying out for the team than in a typical local soccer tryout.  Which means you are going to get out of the car and see a lot of people.  Whether you were on the team the year before or not, everyone really wants to make the team!  And as parents the last thing we want is for our children to deal with the hurt or rejection of not getting placed on the team they really want to be on.  We parents feel the tension of tryouts as much as if not more than our children, but we need to understand that we play a role in our child being able to push through their nerves and play freely or not.

So as a parent, what can I do to help?  Well in a word…MOM…DAD…RELAX!  Ok, I know, this is easier said than done.  We have talked in previous posts about how important it is that we parents have the right mindset and attitude because our children will reflect who we are and what we are saying to their coaches and teammates.  Well, it’s the same with your tension and stress.  While this isn’t your tryout, you can affect how your child performs in it.  You can help them loosen up, or you can fuel their nerves and put fear on your child to not make a mistake, this happens through what you are saying AND how you are acting before and during the tryout.  It is tough but you need to relax…and I would like to show you how just a few ways to do that.  

Trust the Process – The best way to relax on tryout day is to trust the tryout process.  Trusting that the leaders and coaches of our club know what they are doing and what they are looking at will help you relax!  When you get unnerved because your child messed up one turn or stepped on the ball when the evaluator was looking, keep reminding yourself that you can trust the tryout process and the evaluators!  Send your child that message, speak of it and show them you trust the tryout process. 

Do you know what shows trust?   Drop your child off, help them get signed in and go for a walk.  Do you think it helps your child relax to have you staring at everything they do?  Agonizing over every touch and turn?  I get it, you want this for them, and you love them, but pacing the sideline, laboring over every touch and turn isn’t helping you or anyone relax.  I have been there, staring at the field, super happy when your child does something well, then trying to figure out if the evaluators did or didn’t see it.  Then of course when your child accidentally steps on the ball, that has to be the time when they are looking, and they seem to be writing something down right after…agh!  I get it and have been there too!  But if we trust that these evaluators know what they are doing and what they are looking at, we can relax.  Leo Messi may mess up a turn from time to time, so I’m thinking the evaluators can grasp this as well.  Whenever you are struggling to relax, remind yourself to trust the process.  Maybe the best message you can send to your child is taking a walk during the tryout.

Be Prepared – There is nothing more relaxing than going into any big moment completely prepared.  If you have done the work, you can trust your work, and simply relax in the moment.  So, the best way to relax on tryout day is to encourage your child to be touching the ball, every day…all year long.  This builds confidence and comfort that comes in handy in stressful moments like tryouts.  This also means, decisions are being made in the summer, and the winter off seasons to do the work, to juggle, and touch the ball!  Those decisions even months before tryouts can help you and your child relax on tryout day!  So, if your child is prepared, focus on that!  When you feel stressed, think about all those hours they have spent in the Techne App, and remind them of that!  Remember all those hours of training they have done when no one is looking, remember that and remind them of that!  That is where they build confidence for when everyone is looking, and it should help us parents relax as well, because we know they are prepared.  Now, I’m going to have to say this, if your child hasn’t done the work all year, it may be a reason why you feel those nerves at a tryout, because while you really, really want it to go well that day, they may not be as prepared as others who worked at their game all year long.  The best way to feel relaxed at a tryout is to have done the work all year long!  Be prepared!

Listen, tryouts are so tough, and I wanted you to understand that it’s ok to be nervous.  We get nervous about things because we care.  As parents we must remember that what we are saying and feeling is often reflected by our children.  You can help them relax, or you can fuel those nerves and hurt their chances of loosening up on tryout day.

Remind your child that it’s ok to feel nerves and tension.  They feel nerves because they care!

Remember your ability to relax will help your child relax…if you can’t relax…pretend to be relaxed around them! 😃

When you feel stress remember to trust the process…you are at Keystone for a reason, these soccer minds know what they are looking at!

The best way to relax is to be prepared, encourage your child to be touching the ball all year long!

When you get there on tryout day, help them sign in, tell them to have fun and do their best…and go for a walk!  It sends a message that you are relaxed and that you trust what is happening. 

We will see you next week when we parents get a look at tryouts from a different perspective as we talk to some of our very own Director’s Of Coaching and Evaluators!