3 Tips for Surviving Your Next Tryout

Trying out for a sports team can be a scary process. Coaching evaluations, competition for roster spots with other players, and even expectations from parents can be enough to fill make you uneasy before your tryout.

Basketball PlayerHere’s the deal: although tryouts can be intimidating, if you were able to somehow know what the coach was looking for before you started trying out, wouldn’t this give you more confidence?

The reality is that coaches can vary in the “technical” aspects of what they are looking for in players (i.e. the type of plays they run or the strategic aspect of your sport), but every coach has a few specific things that they look for when they are evaluating players.

Here are three things to remember as you head into your next tryout.

Coaches Repeat Themselves for a Reason

The simple fact is that coaches repeat the things that are most important to them. It’s your job to learn what these things are and do them! If you can figure out what few things are most important to your coach, this will show that you are coachable, a good listener and that you pay attention to details (all characteristics coaches love!) Every time you head into a tryout, you have a new opportunity to impress the coach by becoming really good at the things that matter to them the most. Pay attention and get noticed!

The Golden Rule of Mistakes

Every single coach I’ve ever played for has emphasized this important truth: “Don’t ever make the same mistake twice!” Why? Because when you make the same mistake twice, this shows the coach that you are not listening, not smart or not interested in what they have to say. None of these are good things! Whenever the coach is correcting someone else, don’t drift off in a daydream: listen, learn and remember not to make that same mistake the next time you find yourself in the same situation. Doing this will show that you are attentive, smart and totally interested in everything the coach has to say.

The “Little Things” Speak the Loudest

Go into every tryout session with the goal of being completely focused on the details. Look for opportunities to do all the little things well, like making eye contact with your coach when he or she are talking, encouraging your teammates, making hustle plays, competing on every play, following instructions and being a great communicator on the field of play. The “little things” go a long way in showing coaches what players they can trust, and what kind of players are going to help them put together a great team. Focus on doing the little things well and you will surely impress your coach during your next tryout!

Quinn McDowell is a writer, trainer and professional athlete. He has played in the NBA D-League, Australia and Spain, following his four-year career at the College of William and Mary. He is the founder of AreteHoops.com and desires to see coaches and players succeed with excellence. He currently resides in Palencia, Spain, with his wife Lindsey.

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