So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

Got cut from the team? Follow these tips from STACK Expert Chris Stankovich on how to bounce back and move on.

Cut from the team

Every year, thousands of talented athletes get cut from sports teams and are left to figure out what to do next. Often they are good athletes, but just a little behind in their skills.

Sometimes, being cut is a sign that you're not headed for a career in a particular sport. But in other situations, it can be a learning experience that can help you improve your athletic performance and get another shot at succeeding.

Here are some suggestions to help keep your spirits up while you improve your skills.

Try not to take it personally

Accept the coach's decision as one person's appraisal of your athletic ability, not an overall judgment of you as a person. When we allow things to get personal, we sometimes lose the learning experience because of our anger at the person who seemingly did us wrong. Instead, solicit feedback about how you can improve.

Rethink goals based on feedback from the coach

Ask the coach what you need to improve. Based on those recommendations, set up long-, mid-, and short-term goals to measure your progress along the way. Your goals should be specific, measurable, and controllable—and it's important to keep a journal tracking your progress. Learn how to reach your potential with these goal-setting tips.

Work on mental toughness

Often athletes have the physical skills to be successful, but they get caught up in negativity and anxiety, which disrupts the mind-body synchrony needed for successful athletic movement and making plays. If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, consider getting help from a sport psychologist or other trained counselor. (Find out if you're mentally tough by taking this quiz.)

Transfer your skills to another sport

If you were recently cut from a team, examine how your skillset might match up with the requirements of a different sport. Perhaps you don't have the physical size for one sport; try one where height and weight don't matter so much. Learn more about the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete.

Try again

One coach may not think you're good enough for the team, but another might find your athletic potential and abilities a great fit. Stay positive and be open to constructive feedback that can help you improve.

For more information on training your mind as well as your body in sports, check out my ebook, The Mental Toughness Guide to Athletic Success. Or try one of my sports performance apps for iPhone, at Advanced Human Performance Systems.

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