Let's Talk About Tryouts - Part 5 - Responding To The Results

How do we respond to the good news...or the bad news?

We have entered the first week of May, which means that Tryouts officially begin for us here in club soccer.  

So, all of the stress, and worry, and thinking will soon be behind us, because tryouts are here.  I’m hopeful that this conversation here in the Parent Corner has been helpful to you as parents and also to the players!  We have walked through tryouts from some important angles, talking about the reality of our emotions, and how to deal with nerves on tryout day, for both us parents and our players.  We have looked at tryouts from the coach’s perspective, where we interviewed our evaluators, giving us a rare look behind the clipboard.  Last week, we got very practical looking at different tips to help our player be at their best on tryout day.  Now today as we reach the epic conclusion of our tryout series, there is one more reality to the tryout that we must discuss…and that is the results.

We need to talk about how we respond to the results.  

I will just say it, we have to talk about what happens when you get the good news, or the disappointing news at the end of this tryout.  As a parent, I have been on both sides of that news with my children.  I have felt the joy and relief of the good news.  I have also felt all the emotions that come with a child being cut from their team as well, and I will tell you it is easier to handle the good news as a parent, and player than it is to get the bad news and have to deal with or process that…but regardless of the results received, I want you to understand something very important.

The reality of the result of this tryout, good news or bad news is that it will force a response from us parents and players…and how we respond is a really big deal!

Here’s three things about responding to the good news:

#1 Be Happy! 

You are allowed to be excited!  You have set a goal to make the team and you accomplished it.  That is great!  Mom, Dad, be happy with them!  Congrats!

#2 Remember To Keep Working Hard!  

While it is ok to be happy about making the team, we need to remember that making the team is not the finish line to this race, but the actual starting point for your child in the sport.  Encourage your child to never be satisfied with making the team but always encourage them to keep working to be the best player they can be.  There is always someone working harder and always opportunities to grow and get better, and too often we see children make top teams when they are young and lose their hunger to work and improve.  You haven’t arrived if you made the top team, take the mindset of you are just getting started, not crossing the finish line!  Parents we can help with this mindset!

#3 Remember those around you in the moment. 

This can be a bit of a challenge but it’s important for our players and us as parents to remember, that as we finish our spring seasons, not everyone around you may have gotten good news like you did, and it’s just important to remember that.

Here’s three things about responding to the bad news:

#1 You have a choice to make in how you respond. 

Listen, I have been there.  When you get the bad news and see your child’s disappointment it hurts…and I want you to understand that it’s ok to feel that, because you are human.  But you also have a choice in how you respond to this moment.  We see some kids and parents make the choice to go negative.  They decide everything around them is unfair, political, and they typically start finding and gathering with the other parents and players who feel the same way.  But there is another choice, and while it isn’t as popular it is pretty special.  You can choose to use this moment as motivation to get better!  Choose this as the moment to prove the coaches wrong the following year, to put the work in, stay hungry, and take what you want moving forward.  Many times we see kids on top teams lose that fire and hunger to work over time because they think they have arrived, while a child who doesn’t make it early on who makes this choice, will stay hungry, do the work, and will get there as their body develops along with their skills.  So you have a choice in how you respond here...what will you choose?

#2 Remember the system Keystone uses and trust it.  

Again, as you process the reality of the news of tryouts, remember to trust the system.  It’s really important for your child’s development to place them in the level of play that is appropriate for them at the time.  At Keystone there are three levels of teams and the biggest difference in the level is something referred to in soccer as “Speed of Play.”  Speed of play is not just running speed but how quickly a child processes information and makes decisions and moves the ball and I will tell you three things here before we move on.

  • First it’s overwhelming to play in a game where the speed of play is too fast for you.
  • Second it’s so important for your child’s development to be playing in speed of play that suits them best
  • Third, no college recruiter is going to ask for your child’s U9 manuscript to check and see if they were playing on the top team at 9 years old…but I digress.

It’s important to trust the process here at Keystone.  It is much more deliberate and much more focused on development than what you would see at a typical local soccer club.  This means that while we hurt for our player not making the top team, we can trust that our child is being placed in the level of play that may help them get where they want to go in the future.

#3 Mom and dad, how you react to this moment may be more hurtful or helpful than the results themselves to your child.  When my oldest daughter got cut from her team, I was so hurt for her.  I didn’t want her walking through that.  I hated seeing her hurting like that…but there was something I wasn’t prepared for!  It was that one of the things she was most worried about, was me!  What in the world!?!?!  That wasn’t in my thinking at all, but it was in her’s!  She didn’t want me to be disappointed in her!  I never saw that coming, and it was a pivotal moment in our relationship for me to slow down, look her in the eyes and make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, that, that could never be the case…that no tryout, or team, or sport, steps in on how much I love her and how proud I am of her.   

We talk often in the Parent Corner about how our emotions as parents can really flow into our children.  Remember that in these moments, if you lose it, they will too.  If you go negative, they will too.  If you take this news and turn it into fuel and motivation to improve, they will too.  If you believe in the system and that your child is being placed in the proper speed of play, they will too…but please also remember, that child may just need to know how important they are to you in this moment, which is not something they earn from you on tryout day or playing any sport!

I want to thank you all for checking out The Parent Corner and hope this Tryout Conversation has been helpful.  I wish you and your child the best of luck this year at tryouts! 

Please feel free to reach out if you need anything! I also wanted to encourage you, and let you know that if you need someone to talk to about tryout results, or anything parent related, please don’t hesitate to email me at shepner@keystonefc.com remember, I’m not a coach in the club, and it is a safe place for you to talk and process things as we all do our best to parent and navigate our children through the challenges of youth sports today.