If your child is active in your local soccer community, then there’s a good chance you’ve received an email or letter from your league administrator at some point during the season. Most community youth soccer programs have a club-team experience for all kids to enjoy. Then there is a select-team experience for youth who want to take their game to the next level.
Families that select a higher skill level for their children must first schedule tryouts with their community association to determine team placement and skill level. You’ll want to maximize the impact your family can make through this process to gain the best possible placement.
For high school, collegiate, and pro-level players trying to break into a league, knowing how to maximize your tryouts will help you gain the attention of your coaches. That attention can lead to placement on the team if you work hard enough and your skills are good enough.
Here is how you can get yourself noticed if you have a tryout happening in the near future.
What Are the Best Ways to Get Noticed at a Soccer Tryout?
Play Your Game
Teams are looking for specific skills and traits when they bring players in for a tryout. Some teams might want someone who is strong in the air. Others want a #9 who knows how to make supportive runs that can draw a defense, which opens up the field. Still others want someone who can read the game and be creative on the ball.
It is important to play your game during a tryout. Don’t try to be something that you are not. Even if the team decides that your skill set is not right for their current needs, someone else might see you and think the exact opposite.
No matter what type of player a team might be trying to find, there is one skill that always stands out. Coaches want players who have instincts which allow them to make impact plays. When you can make an impact within a game, you’re able to lift your team, tighten the screws, and keep pressing forward toward a victory.
Do your best, hustle after each play, and know where you’re supposed to be on the field. Good things happen for players who put themselves into the right position.
How a player acts on the field is important. How a player responds to coaching is even more important. At the youth level especially, there are some players who believe they’ve already learned everything they need to know about the game already. They don’t care about the coaches’ experience because they have “real game experience.”
Coaches want to know that their players will be receptive to advise, teaching, and criticism when it is warranted. You can show coaches that you are coachable by maintaining eye contact. Then attempt to implement what they’ve taught the next time you put your cleats onto the pitch.
Responding to Mistakes
Many players go into a tryout experience expecting perfection from themselves. The only problem is that everyone makes mistakes when playing the game. Even the best in the world, like Messi and Ronaldo, make mistakes in every game. It happens.What coaches want to see is how you respond when a mistake is made. Do you hang your head, slump your shoulders, and take yourself out of the game? Or do you hustle after the ball to fix what just happened?
A coach will almost always take someone who goes back after the ball when they make a mistake over someone who decides to give up on the play.
Players tend to go into a tryout thinking about what they’ll do if they don’t make the team. Even players who go into a tryout with confidence are thinking about the “what ifs” that can happen during the evaluation process. These thoughts put more pressure on the tryout experience, which increases the risk of not making the team.
Put on your favorite equipment. Get the best soccer cleats you can afford. Wear a comfortable set of the shin guards that won’t distract you from the game. Be relaxed.
The best tryouts are the ones where you can stop the racing thoughts and the self-criticism. Get out on that pitch and enjoy the game you love. Maybe you’ll be selected and maybe you won’t be. There are no guarantees there. What you can guarantee is that you have fun with the experience. When you have fun, others have fun, and that causes the coaching staff to take notice.
In the youth soccer system, families play a critical role during tryouts as well. Coaches look at families to see how much soccer knowledge is contained in the family. They’ll be working with you, just like they’re working with the player, and they want to know if you’ll be very supportive or very critical of how they coach.
A good coach can handle some family criticism. Even the best coaches, however, may choose players of lower skill levels if they feel like the family of a better player could cause problems for themselves, their team, or the local association.
Be passionate about your support. Encourage your player to the best of your ability. Just remember that the coaches are looking for something specific, so try to keep any advice you’re trying to share on ice until after the tryout is over.
Standing on the sidelines, watching your child make a mistake during a tryout – that’s a tough experience for a parent to endure. You want to help. You want to coach up your child. Do that at home. When you let the coach do their thing, you’ll find that it might be the one key difference that gets your player a spot over someone else.
Tryouts can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. There is a lot on the line at a tryout. These experiences can also be a lot of fun, even if you’re not able to get the attention of the coach. Follow these steps and you’ll be one step closer toward maximizing your next tryout experience.
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