How To Prepare For Lacrosse Tryouts: Advice From A Pro

The date is circled on your calendar: lacrosse tryouts. The countdown has started and every day you take a deep breath preparing for the big day. When it comes to preparing for lacrosse tryouts, there are some tangible steps you can take to ensure you’re ready. TeamSnap got to speak with Canadian National team player, Alie Jimerson about her best tips leading up to tryouts. Jimerson has been through her fair share of tryouts, from youth teams, travel teams, college teams, and at the national teams. If anyone can speak to how to manage the preparation period physically and mentally, it’s Jimerson.

Pro Tip #1: Have fun

“My best advice for a player going to a tryout is to just have fun. It can be so stressful when you feel that you have to be perfect to make the team, when that is not the case,” Jimerson said. “Everyone is going to make mistakes, the coaches won’t focus on the mistakes you made but at how you handle them.”

Remember what you love about the sport is a good place to come back to when you feel your mind shifting to a negative place. Focusing on the fun part of the game, perhaps the feeling of running into open space full speed or scoring and the sound of the net when the ball hits it, can help you enjoy the process. Coaches aren’t just observing the skills on display, but the full picture. They will be looking for leaders, how players handle difficult moments, and how you interact with the players around you.

Pro Tip #2: Have a 3-second memory

“Are you going to beat yourself up for dropping one ball or are you going to turn the page and make up for the next one? Always have a 3 second memory!” Jimerson said. Having a 3-second memory is approaching a situation that feels less than perfect and not allowing yourself to harp on it for more than 3 seconds. Having this kind of mentality moves you forward and is a healthy way to deal with mistakes that will likely happen in tryouts. Tryouts typically have many phases to them, so prepare yourself to move onto the next drill without holding onto every play, every moment, and every dropped ball that happened in the previous phase.

Pro Tip #3: Focus on recovery

“As I’ve gotten older I have realized how important it is to stretch your body before and after training,” Jimerson said. “I wish when I was younger I took stretching more seriously, because if you don’t have a good recovery you are more prone to injuries.”

The last thing that you want to happen is not even getting to tryouts because of an injury. Focus on taking extra care of your body leading up to tryouts and take the time before and after practice to get your stretches and recovery routine in.

Every athlete’s body is different, so make sure to consult with a professional about the best way to make sure you’re ready to go for the big day. Some tryouts may occur over two days which will require even more attention to recovery.

“After a long day of tryouts make sure to stretch and get in the ice bath! Your body will thank you the next morning.”

Pro Tip #4: Visualization 

“Visualization is big for me especially leading up to tryouts, I always want to make sure I am visualizing myself doing well and making others around me better,” Jimerson said.

[Here Are 6 Tips for Using Visualization With Young Athletes]

“I always like to speak affirmations to myself and let it be known that it is okay if I mess up, as long as I am turning the page and learning from that mistake.”

Visualizing yourself at the tryout is a good place to start. What do you see yourself doing when you get the ball? Where will you pass? How will you celebrate when you score? Focus on good moments and picture them in detail.

The visualization process may look differently for every athlete. If you’re looking for a place to start, try sitting in a quiet place before the tryout and closing your eyes. Focus on your breath. Once you get a handle on your breath and the pattern of breathing, focusing on the inhales and exhales, start to think of a goal or a skill.

Now, the day of the tryout is here. Remember to have fun, a 3-second memory, recover properly, and visualize yourself having a great tryout.

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