'Bird's B's' should help during tryouts

I love this time of year.

Although my summer is coming to a quick closing with our high school soccer tryouts beginning bright and early Wednesday morning, the thought of beginning the process of evaluating, selecting, leading, and coaching this year’s group of young men gets me excited to start even earlier.


We had a very disappointing season last year and those that know me know that our record and October exit from the playoffs has been sticking in my craw ever since.

It seems like the first day of tryouts gets earlier and earlier each year. When I went through the process as a player myself it was always Aug. 15 as our start date. Even my first year coaching the girls we couldn’t start until then. But the addition of the heat rules education and procedures forced us to begin earlier and earlier each year.

This year is the earliest it will be, and a whole week earlier than in those prior years. That is, if we can even get on the fields with all this rain.

As your son or daughter gets ready this week to compete for those positions, let me offer some of “Bird’s B’s” that may help to improve their chances.

Be Prepared. Every player that will be trying out this week should have already completed their registration in the Family ID system. This would include uploading physicals and electronically acknowledging that you have read the important information the school system provides about the health and welfare of your young athlete. If you are having trouble with the system, reach out to your coach. The coach will appreciate that this is taken care of before the first morning of tryouts.

When you come to tryouts, make sure that you are prepared with the proper clothing, sport-specific equipment and plenty of water to get you through the tryout process. By now, if you haven’t prepared yourself with skill improvement and physical fitness, it may be too late, but be prepared to showcase each of those during tryouts.

Be Flexible. You may have played a specific position throughout your whole youth sports career and it may even be your favorite position or the one that your favorite professional player plays. Don’t box yourself in to competing for that position if the opportunities present themselves elsewhere. Your prospective coach may see things differently than your previous coaches have. They may favor some of your abilities that other coaches may not and see a different fit for your skill set in to the system of play that they employ.

I’ve had to cut players from my rosters who failed to be flexible and lost out on the position they wanted so bad.

Be Hungry. If you really want this, I mean really want this spot on the team, show the coaches and the other players how badly you want to be on the team. Be to the tryouts early. Be prepared and ready to go when the session begins. As you’re going through the process, make sure that you are showing yourself in the best possible light not only in demonstrating your skillset on the field but in the way you carry yourself with the other players, coaches and evaluators.

Be Coachable. As the coach is providing instructions for each drill, make sure that you are paying attention and be the person willing to demonstrate for the others if called on or asked for volunteers. If a coach or evaluator pulls you aside and provides suggestions on improving your game, do your best to implement their suggestions and reflect with them afterward to ensure that you were following their directions.

Players who are unable to follow simple instructions or fail to respect the coach’s suggestions will be deemed “uncoachable,” which may cost them their opportunity.

Be a Great Teammate. Unless you are playing an individual sport, and even in those cases, they are still a part of a team (golf, track, tennis, etc.), your interaction with your potential teammates and coaches is an essential part of the evaluation process. I appreciate some conflict in a competitive nature where players are battling it out for their positions and playing time, but if a player is demeaning, maliciously making fun of, or bullying another player, that’s the quickest way to find your ticket off the roster.

Team chemistry is way too important an ingredient for success to mess with that.

Be True to Yourself. As the old sports saying goes, “leave it all on the field.” Make sure at the end of the tryout process, regardless of the coach’s decision, you know that you’ve given your all to earn that spot. That’s all you can ask from anyone.


Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”

Good luck to all the county athletes.