Advice For Athletes Approaching Tryouts
SkillShark team member John is an avid volleyball player. Having played youth, high school, and collegiate ball, John had many experiences over his athletic career.
He shared a list with us of things that he feels athletes may not realize before evaluations roll around for a competitive team. Some are unavoidable (like the first on the list!) but being aware of the others may allow athletes to understand the commitment and what “life after tryouts” has in store.
1. Playing sports at a high level involves a lot of driving
Whether driving to and from practice facilities that are not near your home or traveling on the weekends to attend out-of-town tournaments, players will spend a lot of time on the road. Athletes should understand how to use this time to their advantage- resting, learning, preparing, or even catching up on school work. By utilizing this time wisely, it will become less of a burden and instead be time well spent.
2. The emotional connection to other athletes
A big part of joining a high-level sports team is meeting a lot of new people. Although these friendships are incredibly valuable in many ways, there is also an emotional attachment that can be difficult to navigate. Even if you make a team, many of the kids who you have met will not and that can be very hard.
3. Coaches are all different
Every coach out there has a different style. This comes with different expectations for tryouts and team management. What one coach might consider perfect technique, another may consider an area that needs improvement. It is important to put your best foot forward with work ethic, respect and coachability as these are the traits that all coaches will reward you for.
4. Understand Team Dynamics
Although you can impact it, you cannot entirely control the team dynamic around you. Each team is unique in its makeup of players and each player has a different skill set. Putting some thought into figuring out how to adapt to the unique play-styles and personality types around you will help everyone on the court, yourself most of all.
5. Play fair, be honest, and help the people around you
This sounds counter intuitive because you are competing against the other kids for a limited amount of spots. Effective coaches want kids that can influence the people around them in a positive way. Additionally, the other kids will learn to respect your example and will want to play both with and against you due to your fairness. The more people like you, the more they want to help you. In a high performance setting, you want as many people on your side as possible. This extends past a team setting into most aspects of life.
High-level sport not only impacts the development of an athlete but also teaches them many important life skills for any group, workplace, or competitive situation.
John’s passion for excellence while playing volleyball led him to a career in software development. His most recent project with SkillShark was creating the player graph reporting feature. This allows athletes to be visually tracked over time, while also allowing coaches to stack athletes against each other.