In part 3 of 3, we cover tips for coaches during tryouts. It’s no secret tryouts can be one of the most stressful points of the season. With a few well-planned parts to your sessions, you can eliminate a lot of the difficulty typically associated with this time of year.
- Have your sessions planned in advance – being prepared and running a well-thought-out tryout session will go a long way with building credibility in the eyes of players, parents, other coaches, and management.
- Avoid lengthy personal conversations at the rink – everyone knows there are parents and players coaches are fond of – some are family friends, others are just hard workers any coach would love to have on their team. During this political time, it’s important you treat everyone equally. This will help reduce (not eliminate) the accusations: “player x made the team because they’re friends.”
- Take your skates off – if you can, observe at least the last tryout session from the bleachers – far removed from parents. This will allow you to get a better perspective on the players you’re still evaluating. Often, by the last session, you’re down to watching just a few skaters – getting off the ice will allow you to see different parts of their game, and will free you from the burden of having to “run” the session.
- Take it with a grain of salt – emotions tend to run high during tryouts. Try to separate any emotional encounters you may run into from the normal ways a parent/player acts. Unfortunately, sometimes you may have to sit and take the wrath of an emotional parent/player – remain calm and don’t try to address the issues being raised. Instead, ask the parent/player to wait 24 or 48 hours and let them know you’d be happy to discuss items with them.
- Provide feedback – If a player (or parent) asks where his/her deficiencies were, as a youth hockey coach, we owe it to them to provide honest feedback. This will help the player in the long-run.
Good luck! See you around the rinks!