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The 2013 PlayOn! Tryout Survival Guide
You’ve decided to tryout for the soccer team this Spring
— now what?
With most Associations and Clubs starting their fall registration period in April, the months ahead will see thousands of young players statewide trying out for recreational and competitive Clubs and teams.
No matter what level of soccer your young player is trying out for, there are a few questions that every parent and soccer player will likely have as they prepare for this busy — and often stressful — time. Questions like, “What are the coaches looking for?” and “Which Club is the ‘best’?”
That’s why this month, we’ve decided to repurpose an article from last year’s PlayOn! highlighting the top-five things to keep in mind as players and parents prepare for tryouts — from choosing the right Club, to making sure that you’re at your best when the big day arrives. Good luck!
1) The “best” Club is the Club that’s best for you
No matter how many State Cup titles a Club has won, or how many Division-I college players it has produced, there is no soccer Club in the world that is the best fit for every player. Each Club’s website or brochures should give an indication of the time commitment, travel requirements and financial investment required by that Club, as well as the expectations they’ll have of each player. Some players might be ready for the greatest challenge, while others might just want to have fun and play with their friends. Before going to tryouts, make sure that the goals of the Club you’re trying out for align with the goals of your player. The Club Directory on the all-new WashingtonYouthSoccer.org is an excellent resource for finding and comparing Clubs and Associations in your area.
2) Preparation breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success
Preparing for tryouts involves much more than just practicing skills. In addition to honing your stepover or fine-tuning your shot, it’s important to prepare yourself mentally — both for failure, and success. During the tryout, you may make a mistake (in fact, you almost certainly will, at least once) or coaches may surprise you by asking you to play a position you are unfamiliar with or that you don’t consider your “best.” Be prepared for these situations, and respond positively. Soccer games are full of unexpected developments and difficult moments for each team — the players who respond the best in these challenging moments in a tryout will be certain to catch a coach’s eye.
3) Control only what you can
There are things that you, as a player can control — your amount of rest, your amount of practice, your pre-tryout meal, your clothing (one coach we spoke to recommended wearing a brightly colored shirt or socks to help distinguish yourself from the other players). There are other things you can’t control — the weather, the skill level of the other players at tryouts, and the attention of coaches. If you accept going in that you can only control certain factors — and concentrate on achieving peak performance in those areas — you’ll be better prepared mentally to succeed in any situation.
4) Let the coaches coach, and the parents parent
It’s hard, as a parent, to watch your child be evaluated against others. We all want our kids to be the best, and to have the chance to achieve their goals. Before the tryout, make sure that your child knows you love and support them — an encouraging hug and loving words can be just as inspirational (or even more so) as a fiery motivational speech. During the tryout, don’t coach from the sidelines, and avoid talking with the coaches. Let your child’s play on the field speak for itself. Immediately afterwards, don’t add your own analysis to that of the coaches — whether your child made the team or not, a hug from you will be the best thing you can give them.
5) Have fun
While success is great, nothing is more important than having fun. No matter how prestigious the Club or team, if it’s not fun for you or your player, it’s not worth it. Players will gain more enjoyment — and likely have more success — in situations where they feel that their goals (team success, personal improvement, exposure to college coaches, or even just competing among friends) are being met.
Follow these tips to make sure you’re prepared to do your best this spring — whatever that might be!