The excitement of a new season … the build-up before taking the ice … the pressure of completing the first drill.
Tryouts can be intense, but it’s important to remember why we have them in the first place: To give kids the best possible environment to develop, succeed and enjoy hockey this season.
One tryout does not determine a child’s fate in hockey. It is just a snapshot of where they are in the development process.
Here are eight tips to a successful tryout this fall.
Focus on Fun: First and foremost, don’t allow the idea of tryouts negate the excitement of being back on the ice. Players of all ages perform their best when they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves so try to keep the focus on the thrill of another hockey season kicking off.
Hustle Habits: Finish every drill hard. Follow your shot for a rebound. When the coach calls for a huddle, skate over right away. Try to get first in line for drills. Coaches love players who compete hard all over the ice. Plus, if you can’t give your best effort in tryouts, why should the coaches expect anything different once the season starts?
Show Your Strengths: Show the coaches your strengths, whether it’s smooth skating, crisp passing, sniping the top corner, or defending well in your own zone.
If You Fail: If you fall during a skating drill, get back up as quickly as you can and finish the drill. If you turn the puck over, win the puck back or make the next save. Show the coaches you are resilient and not afraid to fail. Hockey is loaded with mistakes, but how do you respond?
Get Loud: “Puck!” “Got time!” “Boards!” On-ice communication tells coaches that you’re engaged. Calling for the puck, alerting teammates about pressure or praising the goalie after making a nice save – a willingness to talk on the ice shows leadership and desire. It can make the difference between costly turnovers and scoring the game-winning goal, but it also builds chemistry and confidence.
Be Prepared and On Time: Make sure the skates are sharpened, sticks taped and equipment packed. Head to the rink a little early to account for traffic, registration and finding a spot in the locker room. Avoid any added stress or distraction of being late and scrambling at the skate shop.
Be Coachable: Coachability has everything to do with attitude – not skill. It is understanding that the coach is trying to help you succeed, and showing them respect by listening and trying to improve. Following instructions, asking questions and paying attention shows coaches you’re eager to learn. Coachability and character go hand in hand.
Self Care: Getting a proper night’s sleep and practicing healthy eating habits can help maximize energy levels, mood and performance. But what happens at home and in the car during tryouts matters, too. Kids know tryouts are important and there is some natural pressure and stress that comes with the territory. Intensifying that pressure at the dinner table or in the car ride home isn’t helpful. Let them know you will be supportive no matter what team they make.