Getting Through the Tryout Process

Earlier this month Kings Hammer announced program tryout dates for the 2023-2024 seasons.  Naturally, announcements of this sort, whether for Kings Hammer, high school teams, or local leagues, can create a sense of anxiety or stress around performance and team formation.  This type of multi-day event can be difficult to navigate for players, parents, and coaches alike.  But the good news is that there are ways to help make this time of year a little less stressful for everyone and a little easier to navigate through.

Tryouts are a Year-long Process

Since you are reading this today, you are likely already a Kings Hammer parent or player and have been performing in one of our current programs with one of our current teams.  With that in mind one thing to remember is that every player has been in a tryout all year long.  Coaches evaluate players throughout the season.  Each practice, game, meeting, or activity provides the coach (and the parent) an opportunity to see the player perform.  Effort, attitude, commitment, communication, engagement, and of course skill and understanding of the game are all being observed throughout the season and are considered when it comes time to form teams for the next year.

Regardless of whether your child is looking at a tryout, a showcase event, or improving their ability to promote their performance during the season, here are some helpful steps you can take to frame the process better for them (and yourself).

Guides for Parents and Coaches Prior to Tryouts or Team Formation

  1. Have a conversation with your child (or players.)

Talk to them about their goals, ambitions, and desires.

  • Are they happy with their current team?
  • Do they want to keep their spot on the team?
  • Do they want to move up to a higher team even if it means possibly changing positions or getting less playing time?
  • Do they want to tryout somewhere else?

Questions like these and others can help you as a parent understand your child’s current state of mind and can be beneficial in knowing how to move forward.

  1. Know what level your child is currently playing at.

This means not only what program they currently play in but how their performance level fits within that program. This is the tricky part that’s difficult for parents and sometimes the player. Can you analyze your child objectively? In order to do this, you have to take as much emotion out of it as possible and have some perspective.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my child’s level with, above, or below other kids on the team as far as technical and physical skills?
  • Is my child level with, above, or below other kids with regards to mental toughness and tactical awareness?
  • Does my child want to play at a higher level, or would they be happier playing at the same level next year, or even a level down?
  1. Make every experience a life lesson for future challenges.

Tryouts and the team formation process provide opportunities for future auditions, job interviews, and other “adult” experiences that players need to be prepared for.  It is never too early to reinforce traits like determination and resilience.

  • Focus on Effort-remind them that they control Attitude and Effort in every opportunity.
  • “You’re the Kind of Person”-use these type of statements to shape the player’s image of themselves, even in times of disappointment. “You’re the kind of person who doesn’t let setbacks keep you from playing the game you love.”
  • Encourage them to have FUN, and model it-Seeing the adults in their lives show enjoyment reinforces the idea that laughing, having fun, and learning are still the major components of being on the field. 

Simple Steps for Players During Tryouts

These approaches can be taken during a short tryout, at a showcase event, or throughout the season to highlight yourself.

  • Leave your expectations at home and focus on the session at hand.
  • Focus on the activity, game, or session. Don’t think about outcomes, cuts, or placements.
  • Let go of mistakes and focus on the next play.
  • Look confident: head up, shoulder’s back, confident and positive talk.
  • Communicate with your teammates and show leadership.
  • Be teachable each session.
  • Show YOUR strengths.

Additional Resources

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