What happens to you when you see or hear this word? TRYOUTS. Does your heart race? Does it stimulate memories of specific moments on a track, field or court? Maybe it’s a coach’s face, a teammate’s tears, or your own doubts in your preparation.
What happens to you when you see or hear this word? TRYOUTS.
Does your heart race? Does it stimulate memories of specific moments on a track, field or court? Maybe it’s a coach’s face, a teammate’s tears, or your own doubts in your preparation.
As negative as some memories may be around tryout situations, I know with the conviction of a former college player and coach, that: the life lessons learned through tryouts can be invaluable on and off the field for the rest of your life.
I write this as a plea to parents and athletes to embrace the uncomfortable feelings inspired by tryouts. Responses to moments are the only thing you can control at this point, so put your focus and energy there, rather than on other players or on the coaches’ decision making process. No one should want to be entitled to a spot on a team without a tryout, because you don’t want to miss out on the things you learn from experiencing one.
The tryout environment forces athletes to problem-solve, handle pressure, work with others, and battle with an urgency tough to simulate in practice sessions. This means that those few days of tryouts are some of the most valuable days of the year. A failure in a tryout can lead to a successful moment in a game situation down the road. A win in a tryout can also reinforce good decision-making in overtime of a playoff game someday. A disappointing tryout result can lead to a kind of edge needed to land a job in the future.
Most adults remember the time they showed up to something unprepared and paid the price. If a player shows up to a tryout out of shape, hopefully she will never be unprepared again. If a player works hard on fitness, but lets her stickwork and shooting slide, then more attention to detail is in her future.
Post tryout family conversations around things the player can control are the most productive, and here are two things to focus the player on during and after a tryout situation: ATTITUDE AND MINDSET.
Team First Attitude
It’s not what your program can do for you, it’s what you can do for your program. The question to constantly come back to is, “what is best for the team?” It may seem strange in a tryout situation to think about anyone but yourself, but a criterion in any coach’s selection process is chemistry and teamwork on and off the field. Can an attacker work with others, and create without the ball? Can a defender work within a unit? How versatile is an athlete? Can she play a different position this year?
High school teams will start holding lacrosse tryouts in California in the next couple of weeks and as we move out of NorCal Tenacity Team tryouts, the qualities that coaches are looking for in players are fresh in our minds. Let the successes and failures in a tryout situation be the moments you draw on later in a different kind of test, tryout, or championship moment.
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