In the competitive world of high school club and travel sports, no spot on any team is guaranteed. However, there are steps student-athletes can take to not only better prepare for their club tryout but also to stand out in the crowd and secure the spotlight on the court or field. Pay close attention to the following five steps, be ready to invest some time, energy, and focus, to ensure you are equipped to face your club tryouts head-on.
5 Steps to a Successful Tryout
1. Train. It’s no surprise that your club tryout will take a toll on your body physically. Do yourself a favor and start the training ahead of time so that your athleticism can shine and your endurance can run the course of an aggressive multi-day tryout. There are numerous sports-specific workouts published publicly that you can do at home or at the gym. Make a plan, write it down, start early, and stick to it.
2. Reach out to the club Director to ask about booking individual lessons with one of their coaches. Speaking as a 12-year club coach, this is a fantastic way to get your name out there, learn about the club, its coaches, and get 1-on-1 training from the experts.
3. Register for tryouts ahead of time! Many clubs organize their tryouts based on numbers, and preregistered athletes usually get ahead just by signing up before the deadline. Perks like skipping the registration line upon arrival on day one, receiving a pre-numbered tryout shirt, and getting the chance to start warming up early as the latecomers fight through all the red tape are just some of the advantages.
4. During the tryout: Be vocal, volunteer to shag balls, and play with a smile! When it comes to sports, we coaches can teach you how to play, how to swing harder, jump higher or run faster; but what we cannot teach is coachability, personality or spirit. Showcase that you are a team player, be vocally supportive of the athletes around you, introduce yourself to the coach rating your court/field area, and always take a few minutes before each water break to help gather equipment.
5. Leave nothing behind. You may not be the fastest runner in the gym, the highest jumper on the field, or the strongest hitter on the court; but what you can do is give it all you’ve got. Dive for every ball, call for every pass, sprint as fast as you can, transition to each spot faster than others, showcase your endurance and your athletic ability, and never give up. If your vocals match up with your heart, you will get noticed, and in all the best ways.
No matter what sport, club/travel/AAUs are often where us college coaches find and recruit talent for our upcoming seasons. Club is no longer just the sport you play between your high school seasons to stay in shape. Club sports showcase some of the most competitive teams there are in high school circuits today. If you are serious about wanting to be a better athlete and get noticed by club coaches, then follow the above 5 steps carefully and intently. Remember: the path of vigilance is always a direct path to success.