Tryouts are a very special, and stressful, time of year. It’s a time when all of your training and hard work is put to the test, when it’s all on the line to finally reach the goals you set after last season. Most players, and parents, have their sights set on playing for a certain team, and while it’s important to have a goal, it’s also important to recognize that there are only so many spots on each team. It is however, most often the players who have stuck to their training routine that end up having a good tryout, making the top team and achieve their goal.
Here are some tips for tryouts that can help you get through the process with the proper motivation, preparation and perspective.
This is a key ingredient to a successful tryout, especially going into the final few sessions. Tension and stress are already in the air, and players don’t want to be scrambling around minutes before hitting the ice trying to find a piece of equipment or taping a stick. Make sure you have all your equipment prior to leaving for the rink and that it’s in good condition. Have your skates sharpened and check to see laces don’t need to be replaced and give your sticks a new tape job. While these are simple tasks, leaving them to the last minute will only add to the anxiety prior to hitting the ice.
Get Noticed Every Shift
This is a big one, and big-time players know this. The tryout evaluators need to see you with the puck or around it most every shift. If you possess the puck more than others, they will see your number more often and likely remember it when it comes down to the final few spots. If you have achieved your off-season workout goals like firing pucks off of a shooting pad against a shooting tarp, being around the puck and involved in the play should come naturally with your improved stickhandling, passing and shooting skills.
Be A Good Teammate
It’s important to show your individual hockey skills, but it’s also equally impressive to pass the puck, create time and space, and make good hockey decisions. Hopefully you spent the summer with some great hockey training aids that give you the advantage in these areas. Keep in mind that every player is giving their all during tryouts which makes it that much more difficult to take the puck and try to do it all yourself. Use your teammates, set them up with good opportunities and you will get noticed.
Do Things Others Are Unwilling To Do
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that separate the good from the great, and one of my favorites is a player, especially during tryouts, who is willing to block shots. Throwing your body in front of pucks shows you have courage and are willing to do whatever it takes to make the team. Those evaluating as well as the coaches love players who are willing to put it all on the line.
This is probably the most important characteristic a coach looks for in players, especially when it comes to the final few decisions. I like to call it ‘will over skill’, and often times that final spot or two on the roster is filled with players who may not have the same skill as the others they are up against, but have the will and simply outwork everyone on the ice every shift, every game. And the effort starts in the basement and garage, developing skills on the hockey tiles that long before tryouts, eventually can translate into awesome effort on the ice. Coaches can teach the value of hard work and effort, but it has to come from within the player and that’s something no coach can teach.
Good luck with your tryout and remember, always work hard and dream bigger than everyone else!