Let's Talk About Tryouts - Part 3 - Tryouts From The Coaches' Perspective

A Rare Look Behind The Clip Board At Tryouts!

Welcome back everyone to part 3 of our Tryout Series.  As we were putting this series together, this particular post was the one I was most excited about, and I’m just going to say it…it did not disappoint!  Today we have the unique opportunity to view tryouts from the coach’s perspective!   I think this can really open our eyes to what they go through during a tryout, and it also gives us some great insight for our children heading into tryouts.  So today we take a rare look behind the clipboard!  We are going to talk to some of our very own Directors of Coaching and Evaluators about the tryout process.  So, to all you parents and players out there, make sure to take notes and read this carefully as it can give you a real advantage on tryout day!  I asked our esteemed coaches to answer some questions on tryouts, what they look for, even how they feel and how we parents can affect the tryout and their answers were great and can help us a lot as we head towards tryout day.  If you notice their answers often overlap and hit on the same ideas and points of view.  This should tell us something, it means that there are some things they are all looking for and gives us an understanding on what catches their eye on tryout day in both positive and negative ways!  So, let’s check out the interview and look through some of their feedback!  

Question 1 - If there was one thing you REALLY wanted a parent to understand about the evaluation process what would it be?

· We do our best to get it right. It is not easy on coaches, it is not fun for coaches, we have to make some hard decisions, and we hurt for some of the kids. Different coaches look for different things, and we try to put together the best available roster. 

· That we want the absolute best for your child, and it breaks our hearts to cut someone or not offer them a spot.

· We have systems in place to ensure every player gets the chance they deserve. 

Question 2 - What are you looking for most at a tryout from a player?

· What kind of decisions they make, and how quickly do they make those decisions?  Are they confident on the ball?  Do they force things that are not there?  Obviously, speed and athleticism.  What do they do when they make a mistake?

· For me, I’m watching body language. I’m watching to see if they’re paying attention when I’m talking, are they engaged in even the smallest of drills or are they working at 50%. How are they treating those around them? Really, are you coachable and willing to work hard? Obviously, skill is a big part of it but besides that, I’m watching what they’re doing as a whole. Not just a player

· To find ways to display their best attributes without being a selfish player.

Question 3 - What is a huge turn off for you from a player at tryouts?

· Bad attitude, arrogance that they think they may be above others, lack of effort, hanging head after mistake.

· A player not going 100%, especially if they’re already in the club and just assuming they have a spot.

· Lack of effort/not paying attention/"trying to be funny"....aka ruining it for other people who are taking the tryout seriously.

Question 4 – Since this is the Parent Corner, I have to ask this next question!  Can a parent affect a child making or not making the team?

· If the parent is known as a real problem for a coach, or someone that instructs differently than what the coach wants, then yes.

· No, I never hold parents’ actions against their child. However, when you are constantly causing issues within the team or club, it’s noted in your head.

· 100% yes.  I can put up with an annoying parent for a player…but why would I want to even deal with that if the player is replaceable?

Question 5 - If there was one thing you wanted the parents to understand most about the tryout what would it be?

· Playing at the correct level is the most important thing for development.  If your kid is on the highest-level team, but not playing, are they progressing?  

· We want the absolute best for your kid and try to place every child where they will have the most success, even if it’s not the team you had in mind.

· We have a system in place that ensures all players the opportunity to be assessed and placed appropriately.  

Question 6 - If there was one thing you wanted the players to understand most about the tryout what would it be?

· Just because you made the team last year doesn't mean you are good to go next year. 

· Just try your best. That’s all anyone can ask of you. No reason to be nervous, just give it all you’ve got. If you don’t like where you’re placed, work your butt off for a year and prove us wrong the next!

· See my answers to #1, #2, and #5

Question 7 - How does it feel to stand out their evaluating 50-100 kids for 16 or so spots?  Knowing not everyone can make the top team, knowing that everyone is staring not only at the kids but at you, wondering if you saw this or that, what you are writing down, etc?

· It’s a lot of pressure, we want to get it right.  Usually, it is easy to pick the top kids.  But there are always (at least) 3-4 kids that are on the fence either way.

· I personally hate tryouts. I think they’re vitally important but it’s so hard to see a player’s full potential in 4 hours. By the end I am confident in my decisions but it’s never easy knowing you are going to upset X number of kids because they didn’t make the team they were hoping for. I am writing down how hard they’re working. Strengths, areas of improvement and positions I believe they may be able to play. Along with that Body Language and some of the things mentioned above.

· I'm fine with it.  Again, we have systems in place to make tryouts efficient.  Not only does our system work, but I really think we do a good job at tryouts which gives me confidence around the parents and the tryout.

Parents and players, I think this is an important moment for us to learn from those who evaluate tryouts.  What did we see?  We saw throughout this look behind the coaches’ clipboards that they are looking at soccer skill, which will vary player to player.  They are looking at speed and size and strength which are not things we necessarily control but they are also looking at many things we absolutely can control.  Your effort is something you can control.  Your attitude, your body language, and your ability to listen and be coachable are absolutely things that you can control, and it came up often in this survey from every one of the Evaluator’s who answered.  Take note, apply what you learned here today from those who will be evaluating, and you will have a successful tryout experience this year! 

We will see you next week when we talk about some practical ways to set your child up for a successful tryout this year which will bring us back to a lot of this feedback!  Looking forward to seeing you back here in the Parent Corner then!