Monday, May 07, 2007

Tryouts Plus - More lessons learned

We finished the first round of Open tryouts in Toronto. Over two days we had about 90+ guys tryout for three teams. The goal was to have about 60 left as of today, and the developmental players understanding where they are and forming a team that itself might have to make cuts.

We must have sounded like broken records because we kept on stating how high the quality of Ultimate is in the area. Many people might think we're trying to cushion the blow for placing guys on lower teams, but I've seen Toronto's club system unfold for seven years, and the bottom of yesteryear couldn't all throw flicks let alone worry about strategies like todays guys can.

Pictured Above: Anita throwing past a high mark by Sahra (photo courtesy of Jaleel taken by Marc Hodges).

Now that we're moving into phase two of our tryouts I thought I'd pass on some lessons on tryout tactics:
  • Drills are drills. They're good for testing fundamentals, but with over 90 guys you can only watch each person once. Preference is view by scrimmage.
  • Don't participate if you need to pick guys.
  • When watching a scrimmage don't try and watch the entire play. Pick one guy and watch him for the point on both D and O. Even if he doesn't touch the disc you have a good idea of what they're doing. Give the guy some sort of rating after the point and then continue on to the next player of interest or if too short give the same guy another point. Once everyone has been seen, repeat.
  • An error is an error. It should make or break a decision.
  • Day one, keep scrimmages completely mixed; day two, start filtering. Ask people to move to a field with people of equal quality. Gently force these moves, but allow guys who want to challenge themselves to move to a higher field (don't let them stay forever). This idea is taken from UE's coed tryout format.
  • Be honest with everyone. If you can't tell a guy what you think his weakness is then you shouldn't be picking teams. It's tough, but part of the job.
  • Tell guys where they currently stand in your rankings. Keep an open mind and allow those rankings to change. If they want to know the exact spot they're ranked at then tell them. If your thinking of cutting them then tell them why.
We made one excellent move yesterday. To the end of the tryout after filtering teams we talked to the developing guys and told them that they wouldn't make the top 60. This allowed them to see each other and start to become a team right at that point instead of sitting on the other end waiting for details and then trying to get organized by e-mail. I think this will pay big dividends.



TylerWeir said...

This year was my first year attending touring tryouts (Monster, UE Mixed and Goat/GT/Roy).

I thought all were run really well and in particular I thought the atmosphere at the Open tryouts was great. It seemed like those in charge actually wanted to see the players improve as well as selecting the best team.