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Preparing for Tryouts: A Player’s Perspective

By Enio Sacilotto on July 26, 2016

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It is tryout time and all eyes are on you, coaches, evaluators, parents, and fellow athletes. You are being evaluated on whether you will be selected for the team or not. Making the team has been your goal since the end of last season. As you enter the tryout stage, this can be a very stressful time for you. 

The most important thing that you can teach yourself is to focus on the “controllables,” in other words, focus on the things that you have control over. You don’t need to stress about how many players are trying out, what the drills are, or what time of the day the tryout session is taking place. You have absolutely no control over these things. In this article you will be offered 9 tips to take control of the things that you can control. This will help you overcome the stress so you will be performing at your best, giving you the best chance to make the team. 

The most important step to take should have taken place at the end of last season or earlier this summer. You spent time setting your goal on making the team, you asked and determined why you want to make the team, you made your plan and you worked hard all summer in order to be physically and mentally ready for the tryout. 

Then you have your short-term preparation leading up to the tryout date. Make sure you have all your equipment prepared, are eating well, are properly hydrated and get the optimal sleep time. We have seen time and time again over the years that first impressions are very important in the tryout process. Your first few sessions are critical so be prepared! 

In other words, push yourself to work as hard as you ever have. Coaches love players that work hard. We always tell players to be “comfortable being uncomfortable.” Having said this, make sure you remember to not only work hard, but work smart! Do not try to do more than you are capable of doing. Play within your position and do your job only. Do not try to do your teammate’s job, you will then forget to do yours, all you can do is your best at what you are capable of doing. 

Everyone makes mistakes, the best athletes in the world make mistakes. The difference is that best athletes stay in the moment and forget their mistakes fast! Yes, they are good at forgetting! Dwelling on mistakes will only make you more tense and nervous, putting you at risk to make more mistakes. Take a few deep breaths, use your mind’s eye (visualization), crumble up the mistake and throw it in the fire, take another deep breath, refocus, get back in the moment and get back at it being stronger than ever! 

Don’t worry about the coaches or the evaluators. Looking at them for approval is not going to get you on the team, your performance in the arena of play is going to get you on the team. Be in the first row in front of the coaching board, pay attention when drills are being explained, be first in line, pay attention to the details of the drills and execute to the best of your ability! 

Some of us are more natural leaders than others, but we are all capable of leadership. You don’t even have to be the best player to be a leader. Be a leader during the tryout, encourage other players, be positive with them and be a team player. By showing passion and enthusiasm, you will stand out from the rest of the pack. You would be surprised how much coaches look for leadership in their players. Yes, even during tryouts! 

There is only one YOU and you are special, we are all special. Use your energy in focusing on your strength and the job you need to do. You have no control over competitors. No matter what you do, there are always going to be players that are better or worse than you are. By comparing yourself to others, you are only creating frustration and wasting energy. 

An attitude of gratitude is altitude! Be humble and grateful for the opportunities you have in your life. Good health, a good family and the opportunity to compete in a sport or activity that you like. All the great athletes are grateful and humble! Go online and look for interviews with Wayne Gretzky, Paul Kariya, Sidney Crosby, Michael Jordan and Seth Curry. These guys are all grateful and humble. You can see it in their mannerisms and tone of voice. Gratitude goes a long way! 

If things do not work out, don’t worry, there are lots of teams you can play for. Michael Jordon did not make his high school basketball team, Joe Sakic did not make his Midget team. They stuck with it and went on to be professional players. Do some research and make a plan B, there are many teams you can play for, someone somewhere needs you and wants you on their team! 

At the end of the day, we are in this world to learn, get better and enjoy the experiences of life, including sports. So hang loose and enjoy the ride! 

When you gain control of all of these “controllables,” you will eliminate the biggest stressors of the tryout and give yourself the greatest opportunity to make the team.

One last bonus tip: make sure you take responsibility for your own choices. You cannot set goals for others such as parents, friends, coaches or teachers. Your goal to try out and make a team has to come from your heart. You will not be successful if you’re focusing on pleasing others, so do it for yourself!

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By Enio Sacilotto| July 26, 2016
Categories:  Performance
Keywords:  Skill Development

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