With Coyote Tryouts coming up I have heard a lot of questions from players and parents about how to have a good tryout. The rules below come from my experiences trying out as a player, coach, and evaluator. Follow these rules and you will have a successful tryout, but remember, they are no guarantee for making the team. They will, however, improve your chances.
Rule #1 – Hustle Everywhere
- Coaches and evaluators are looking for the players who hustle all the time. I don’t care if you are the bomb-diggity player of your lacrosse team. If you do not hustle you will not make a select team. So how do you show hustle everywhere? Simple – do not let a coach see you walking. Jog from your car to the sideline. Move with purpose from drill-to-drill. Run at a million-miles per hour when you need to slide or get open. I kid you not, there will be evaluators who write down: “Great player but does not run anywhere.” Prepare yourself for two hours of exertion – if you are not tired at the end of a tryout something is amiss.
Rule #2 – Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
- This should go without saying, but you need to be prepared for a tryout. That means waking up on time, eating a solid breakfast, drinking water well before the tryout to stay hydrated, and having all of your required gear. Do not be the one player who comes up to a coach without a glove. That tells me two things. One, this player does not care about his equipment. Two, this player wants the coach to bail them out of trouble. Check your lacrosse bag when you pack it at night for all your gear. Then check it again before you leave the house in the afternoon.
Rule #3 – Pay Attention
- The tryout moves with or without you. Coaches are going to explain a drill one time, then they will start the drill. Coaches will not waste time because one player out of fifty was not paying attention and needs them to repeat the instruction. Every time I see a player with wandering eyes while I give out instruction, I make mental note of their number, and it is not a positive mental note. Each player at a tryout should give their supreme effort to pay attention at all times. If you do that, you will not get left behind.
Rule #4 – Caution, Fast Objects
- Coaches want players who can play fast. That means running hard, passing the ball quickly, and sliding with speed. They want Attack players who will V-cut as quickly as they can. They want midfielders to fly off the wing lines on a face-off. They want defenders to slide aggressively, and they want Goalies to get the ball upfield quickly. However, above all of this, coaches want the ball passed fast. I guarantee you they will not care if you drop the ball occasionally, so long as you are firing that ball out of your stick like a clown out of a circus cannon.
Rule #5 – Talk!
- I hate silence at a tryout. As a coach, I am going to be completely hoarse by the end of the day, and players should be tired from moving their mouths throughout the practice. Coaches want to hear players talk constantly. That means saying “I’ve got your help,” “One more,” I’ve got your left,” “Fire, Fire, Fire!” The only time you should not be talking is when the coach is talking. When you are in a drill, make it your mission to be the best communicator out there.
Rule #6 – Don’t Wallow In Your Mistakes
- You are going to make mistakes at the tryout. No one has ever had a perfect tryout, and no one ever will. Tryouts are meant to challenge a player, and challenge means adversity. You will drop a pass, miss a shot, or get beat on a dodge. Do not make a big deal out of it. The coaches are looking for a player who makes a mistake on one play, and then comes roaring back with a vengeance. They want a player who cares enough about a mistake to change their game to fix it, but does not concern themselves with a past mistake. Coaches want forward-thinking players. If you screw up, accept your mistake, and then fix it. Players who can do that prove to coaches that they deserve a shot.
Rule #7 – Do You Want It? (Also known as “fire in the belly”)
- Some players try out, but they don’t really want to try out. Maybe their friends were on last year’s team. Perhaps their parents want them to play on a travel team. You need to have the fire to be on an elite team. I’ve been doing this for so long I can look at a player for five minutes in a scrimmage and tell if they have the fire in the belly to be on the team. These are the players who follow Rules 1-6. They hustle, they talk, they move fast, but above all they want to be at that tryout, and they show that through their actions.
Rule #8 – Leave Everything On The Field
- While I do not guarantee that following Rules 1-7 will earn you a spot on a travel team. I do guarantee that if you leave everything on the field, you will have a successful tryout. Remember, if you put your heart into your game a coach will notice you. They may decide to wait a year, but you will be on their minds as a player who puts all the effort they have into the game of lacrosse.
I hope all of the players reading this are as excited about tryouts as I am. The other coaches and I will give you our very best, will you give us yours?