Quick Tips for Tryout Season

Casey Carr


This time of year is always interesting to say the least. Coaches start to tip toe around the questions about “next year.” Parents start to gossip, rumors of what is going to happen at x club, or on y team begin to circulate along with wild speculation about the demise of a team, clubs, players moving etc. It’s silly season to say the least. This year though maybe you can choose a different path, one that is less stressful, one that focuses on the process and not on the chatter. Here are some simple tips for players and parents to help you navigate tryouts.

4 Tips for Players:

  1. Become the low hanging fruit: the players that are easy to pick by trying skills, taking risks, try taking people on, making runs all over the field, tackling hard, etc.

  2. Focus on your reactions. If you or your team loses the ball how do you react? Do you walk, complain or do you immediately try and win the ball? Many coaches in evaluating their teams, or potential players to bring into their squads will look at how a player reacts after a negative play. Some will watch for the next 6 seconds, some watch for longer to see how this impacts the way they play. If your reaction is positive, a quick reaction to win the ball back it will stick out in a positive way. If your reaction is negative, you walk or slump your shoulders, throw up your hands or blame someone else a coach will think twice about adding you to their team.

  3. Smile, enjoy the process. It’s a chance to play, to try skills, to test yourself. Be confident. If you are enjoying the process it will stand out! We are huge believers in building systems and processes that help our players improve on a daily basis. A compound interest type effect if you will where getting just 1% better each day pays huge returns later on. The tryout process is just another part of our journey, regardless of the outcome our process continues so enjoy it and make the most of it.

  4. Attitude matters - Being positive, engaging, and willing to help. Do you get every stray ball with a smile, do you sprint to get the ball while everyone looks around etc.? A true story while at a Stumptown Athletic open tryout the coaches and I were so impressed with a tryout player’s attitude and willingness to help, the way he interacted with everyone during the process we found a way to get him in our organization. This player became a part of a professional club because of his attitude.

In the end most coaches are looking for players who stand out, offer something different. So, what helps you stand out? What can you do in each session to give yourself an edge, to stick out? Control what you can control, think about the clothes you wear, the way you carry yourself. These are all opportunities to stand out. Be confident, attack the tryout and enjoy the process.

3 Tips for Parents:

  1. “Your child will be fine” I often hear that comments like “if we don’t make the top team we are moving clubs,” or “my child will be devastated if they don’t make it.” In the end, if your child loves to play soccer there is almost always an opportunity to play. It might not be on the team you, or they wanted, but there is an opportunity to play. Regardless of the outcome of the tryout, encouraging your child to continue to explore their passion for the game, to work hard, to put in the effort to make the team is a great life skill and one that more of us should be teaching our children. This resilience will only help them in life. The ability to go and fight and work for something you want, even if you didn’t get it the first time, or even the second time is a powerful skills. So again, regardless of which team your child makes, they will be ok, they are resilient and can learn from every experience. Use it as a teachable moment. If they make it encourage them by recognizing the work they put in to get there. If they don’t make the team, do the same. Encourage your child to continue to build their process, find ways to improve it, to work, to find ways to get a little bit better each day.

  2. It’s not about you! Parent’s this time of year are often far more stressed out than their children. Mom’s and Dad’s worry about which level of play their kid will make, what they will do if their friends kids make the team and their child doesn’t. Let’s stop this right now. The tryout is not about you. Which team they are on is not a reflection of how you parent. Of course it is hard if you have made friendships with families, but if they are truly friends then which team the kids are on shouldn’t matter. You will find ways to see each other, to connect, and might find that you become better friends because you build authentic, meaningful supportive relationships. Spend less time worrying about the process and stressing out and spend more time encouraging your child, engaging with them asking how they feel, what they want. You might be surprised that what they really want is just to play.

  3. Enjoy the Process: We tell our players to enjoy the process, to build systems and processes that help them improve and fall in love with doing them. For parent’s your window of being able to watch you child play is a small one. Most kids won’t go on to be professionals, and few even play in college so stop stressing out about the level of play, the team, the club, and start enjoying the process. Remember to enjoy watching your kids play, to see the joy in their faces as they try a new skill, make a tackle, score a goal, do something they have been practicing for weeks. Those moments are the ones they and you will remember most so start enjoying it before it’s too late.


I hope these help you make it through the next few weeks, and maybe even change the way you approach each day. If we learn to enjoy the process, find ways to improve each day, and focus on what we can control we will find a much happier path, and often one that has far better results. Daily improvement never stops and process focused systems allow for compounded growth. As the Albert Einstein quote says:

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t pays it.

If you need some more help or tips heading into tryouts, want to build confidence, or just need to talk. Reach out, send us a note, leave us a comment, or set up a training session we are happy to help.

Thanks for reading.


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