How to “win” at tryouts – Part 1
By Alison “Fish” Fischer
In less than two months, the six competitive women’s teams in Montreal will hold tryouts for 2015. During these tryouts, players will have a few short hours to impress the captains and coaches. So, what can you do to help you stand out from the 60+ other women who are sharing the field, scrimmaging against you, battling for a roster spot?
In a couple of articles few years ago, Tushar Singh argued that leaders and coaches are now evaluating competitive athletes year-round. Be it at league or 4X4 tournaments, chances are you’ve already played for and/or against the leadership of the team you are trying out for. And it is almost certain that the selection committee already has ideas about what you are like on and off the field.
Do you like certain throws? Are you a strong player under pressure? Do you chat to your teammates on the sideline or are you focused on the play on the field? Are you a positive influence? The selection committee already knows the answers to these questions, or believes they do.
Here are some ideas about what you can do to improve your chances at tryouts*:
1) Ask the captains/coaches for specific feedback about what you can work on during the off-season. Be open to constructive criticism by listening without being defensive. And ask for second opinions.
2) Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and take steps to improve your game. If you don’t know, ask others (see #1). Use league and rec tournaments to practice the skills you want to improve. Get out and throw. Then throw some more. And do it with intention.
3) Do sport-specific training during the off-season. Get faster. Jump higher. Build stronger muscles. Work with a trainer to focus on turning your weaknesses into strengths. Check out Ren Fitness and her YouTube channel. Or Tim Morrill. Or Montreal’s own JP Riopel and Specifik Ultimate.
4) Watch videos, read articles, use the resources available to improve your knowledge of the game. Here are a few to get you started: Skyd Magazine. Ultiworld. RiseUP. And some videos here: Skyd on YouTube.
5) Get mentally tough. Are you the type of player that plays to win, or plays not to lose? Can you focus on the moment rather than the past or future? Here are some resources that can help: Don’t Choke. The Competitive Edge.
6) Believe in yourself. Confident play starts with having confidence in your abilities. Too often we rely on the opinion of others (coaches, captains, teammates) to determine whether we are “worth it” or to determine our “value” a player. It is time to take ownership of your own confidence.
*There are no guarantees that following these steps will result in a roster spot on the team of your choice. These are suggestions only.