The Truth About Tryouts
What can I say about tryouts other than they suck.
They suck for players, they suck for coaches...really they suck for anyone who has a vested interest in the team or player.
While on one hand it’s exciting because it’s the fresh start of a season, the actual tryout portion has always sucked.
As a player, it’s stressful.
There’s always that thought in the back of your mind of wondering what coaches are thinking and also trying to wonder where you fit in, if at all, with a team.
While I used to think tryouts were stressful as a player, they are even more stressful as a coach.
Regardless of what you think, or what some people say, it’s never easy to cut kids.
There’s also so much more that goes into tryouts besides judging someone’s ability or talent. For me, it’s always a constant battle to find the right players to fill the roles needed to have a successful team.
There really is no better way to say it then to quote Herb Brooks...”it’s not about picking the best players, it’s about picking the right ones.”
In other words, you don’t build a good hockey team with 20 guys that can score goals. You need all facets of the game covered. You obviously need skilled players, but you also need guys to play defense, kill penalties, be physical...and the list goes on.
There also needs to be the team dynamic.
Successful teams have a bond that is often hard to explain. It’s not that they always get along with each other, but I think the difference is that there’s a mutual respect amongst the players and a commitment to the same end goal. And each player is truly genuine in these feelings.
We all know that it’s one thing to say it but it’s another thing to say it, believe it, and actually do it.
With all that being said, I’ve always tried to keep the same perspective. Put the needs of the team ahead of the individual and don’t stress about trying to please everyone.
Trying to please everyone is a recipe for disaster. No matter what happens, someone’s always unhappy.
So for players, my advice for tryouts is to go in with the attitude of controlling what you can control. These include things like your work ethic, attention to details, and playing with a little sense of desperation in your game. Also, remember everything happens for a reason. So whether you make a team or not, learn something from and become a better person through it.
For coaches, go into tryouts with an open mind and a plan of what you need to build a successful team for the long haul. Taking extra top end talent might look good in the short term but is that really the best thing for your team to be peaking and playing it’s best at the playoffs?
And at the end of the day, always trust your gut. It’s crazy to think, but nearly every time I have trusted my gut, I feel like I have made the right decision. The ones that have come back to bite me are the times I went against what my gut was telling me.