Friday, April 13, 2007

Tryouts - Part III of the Story

There are a few more random points about tryouts that I think I'll finish this week on.

For trying out:

  • Most of the tryouts I've been to have a strange feeling about them. Established players come in with bravado, unknown players tend to come in silent and shy, and friends and former teammates automatically migrate to each other forming cliques. Everyone is sizing up each other and the pressure is there to perform. My suggestion is try and forget about all this and get focused on the task at hand. Warm up properly, and use each drill like you would in practice and focus on working on one aspect of your game.
  • Remember the basics. Sure you have to be noticed, but good simple execution and movement will take you a long way. Solid defense is hard to notice, but trust that the coaches have a good eye.
  • Know what the people picking the team want and like. A simple analysis should tell you who you are competing against for what spots.
  • Try not to make bad calls or too many calls. You'll get noticed.
  • Be aggressive.
  • Pay attention and ask questions if you don't understand something. This is true for almost everything in life, but running in a drill and not knowing what to do makes you look bad. Asking for an explanation of a drill is fine. First, take a step back, and wait for the drill to initiate. Then ask a veteran for an explanation (maybe watching the drill will help).
  • Try not to change your game too much during a tryout. It's not the time to try a new grip or throw.
For picking teams:
  • Be aware of match ups. Cutter A might look spectacular, but notice that they are being covered by weaker players (B and C) again and again. Is cutter A doing this on purpose? Are B and C playing outside their normal roles? Put A into a tougher situation.
  • Be aware that chemistry is a factor and one tryout doth not maketh a team. Two players who have played for years will look better playing together than strangers. If possible build groupings of players that have established chemistry.
  • Be aware of people who tryout well then let their effort slide during the season or in other situations. There's nothing wrong with wanting to prove something, but try and maintain your intensity level all the time. Watching someone you always play with fire up their game only under certain situations is frustrating and expect that once they get comfortable at a higher level the fire will die.
  • Try not to play too much. This is for captains and not coaches. The temptation is to use tryouts as spring training, but you really need to step back and watch people. Get into drills for a while to get a feel for how people play, but at least half your time should be spent watching. Watch with a clipboard to take notes.
  • Heatstroke can kill. Some people will come to tryouts who haven't worked out during the off-season. Early injuries can end a season.
  • Test coachability. Can someone execute based on a suggestion or a direction.
Finally, a demonstration of the best way to cut people: