Posted by Greg Carter
Tryouts are undoubtedly one of, if not the most, stressful times of the hockey season. What can you do to reduce some of the anxiety and nervousness during the week? Over the years we have discovered a few great nuggets of advice to assist both players and parents.
The first thing we like to talk about is preparedness. Have you done everything you could at hockey camp, during the season, and practicing on your own to work on your weaknesses and improve your skills? Being prepared for tryouts includes getting good rest, having the little things taken care of ahead of time – such as skate sharpening, tape and laces – as well as eating the right types of food that will provide much needed energy. I’ll never forget watching a parent park on the curb of the rink to unload a player who ran a 40 yard dash to the locker room. Why? Because the line for skate sharpening at the local sporting goods store was 10 deep! How do you think that player performed that day!
Confidence is also important, and is a direct result of preparedness. When you hit the ice for tryouts, are you poised and self-assured, knowing that you have done all you possibly could to improve every aspect of your game. Skating is one of the primary skills that a tryout evaluator will take notice of. Shooting, stickhandling, hustle and ‘game awareness’ are also important. Be confident in your game and it will show!
Manage the mayhem. This is very important, because as a parent, the more excited you get about tryouts and the more stress and anxiety that you show, the more your child will bring it onto the ice. What are you teaching and talking about when it comes to tryouts? Rather than spending the week quizzing your child about how they did during each and every drill and scrimmage, focus on making sure they are prepared with good rest and meals. What we have found is that it’s best to simply give your player everything they need to properly prepare and have the confidence to perform, and then let them talk about it when they are ready. It’s amazing how obvious it is to see the stress and downright fear in the face of the players who get lectured on the way to the rink.
Finally, one very important thing to keep in mind about the week of tryouts, is that although it is one short period of time to show what you’ve got, coaches have been watching and listening. This is where some intangibles come into play. If you are a player that consistently is a positive player who brings a great attitude and a team player mentality, this is going to help when it comes down to tough decisions. Coaches know players, whether they have coached them recently or not, they know what they are getting both on and off the ice. If you have worked hard this season and been a good player and teammate, you are already well on your way to a great tryout.
Remember, this is one tryout in one moment in time. We have seen plenty of players make a team one year, and get cut the next. The motivated ones are those who come back the following year and make the team again. There are plenty of great players in college and the NHL who have been cut from a team. The biggest regret you will have is if you weren’t prepared and didn’t give it your all, so get prepared, get some rest and eat well and the rest will take care of itself!
Good luck at tryouts and we look forward to hearing how you did this summer at one of our camps in 10 states!
If you haven’t already signed up, registration is in full swing and you can claim your spot today!