June 4, 2012
A new soccer season starts and soccer tryouts are part of the fabric of our youth sports system. How can we, youth coaches and partners, do the best for our youth soccer players? Here are some ideas on lessons to be learned from the tryout process.
Tryouts are upon all of us as towns and clubs begin the selection process for teams. Youth soccer players may be experiencing showcasing their talents for the first time, while others may have a few evaluations behind them. Every player will experience some type of anxiety associated with playing in front of groups of evaluators with clipboards and pencils jotting down their every move.
Coaches can be a positive force in making sure the players on their current teams understand the set-up and the organization of tryouts so they can start to visualize the event. Coaches should use positive words and motivational terms in practices leading up to tryouts.
As coaches we should play a role in helping players feel confident and calm when they display their skill level to the evaluators. Each team is different from season to season, I would remind the players that it does not matter what team they are selected for but that they are playing this great game. Let the players know how great the season was with them on the team and their next coach and teammates will be thrilled to have them onboard. We need to start to talk about next season is all positive terms so the focus in on playing versus on tryouts.
Tryouts are not immune from flaws. There are many scenarios that may arise from tryouts. In all scenarios parents must be sure to understand that the towns and clubs are doing their best to most effectively place players on the correct teams. In most cases the towns/clubs get it right and if there are concerns we must not react from an emotional perspective but take time to think through the best way to respond to the scenario so that our children will not suffer in the end.