A coach’s letter to incoming athletes:
Every year we have plenty of girls and boys tryout for a limited amount of spots on the team(s). Whether it be Elementary, Middle School, High school, Rec, or all-star; us coaches see the same thing every year for tryouts. Believe it or not, coaches are just as apprehensive and excited about tryouts as you are. We have high hopes for the season and want what is best for the team.
The moment an athlete enters the gym we begin judging them. We’re watching during all of the conditioning, meetings, clinics, and everything in between. How are you going to handle the material? How are you interacting with others? We are watching to see if you raise any red flags. If you catch yourself doing any of the following, stop immediately. Due to your, hopefully, soon-to-be coach not being able to come out and tell you what NOT to do, I will.
Strike 1 – You stroll in 5 minutes late.
Strike 2 – You have Starbucks in your hand.
You only have one strike left and it’s not looking too good for you. Not only have you disrupted the coaches and thrown off the flow of that day, you’ve also shown them that getting your caffeine fix for the day is more important to you than making the cheer squad. You are setting the stage for the rest of the season, and you’re already off to a bad start.
“I only fly.”
As a coach, one of the biggest pet peeves I have is when someone comes up to me and says, “I only fly.” Be versatile. Be the athlete that’s willing to step in and base, top, or back spot that new skill. You have to realize that you only need so many flyers, bases, and back spots on a team. If you can do any of these positions then you will be more of an asset to the team. Versatile athletes are the best athletes.
Bad Attitude Bertha
You crash that standing tuck right in front of the judges, that means you punch the ground, sigh, and get up and roll your eyes right? Wrong. You stand up with a smile on your face, give the judges a big wave, and ask if you can try to perform the skill again. No matter what, you keep a smile on your face.
Your soon-to-be coach may have you doing things that you’re not a huge fan of, this doesn’t mean to make it seem like you can’t do it so you don’t have to do it again. That means that your coach believes that you can do that position and is relying on you to perform that skill. Don’t let them down. Stay positive and give it your best shot.
This is the girl that strolls in with her hair a mess, flip flops on, wearing whatever she wants because she made the team last year so she’s obviously going to make it again this year. While she may think that is the case, that’s not always true. Every year is a new year. Every year, each team needs something different. No one has a 100% guaranteed spot on the team, so everyone needs to take every part of tryouts very seriously. Which leads us into our next topic…
What can you do for me?
This is the girl that feels as if she’s better than the team. She believes that she has options and she wants to know why she should grace the team with her presence. She could easily transfer to another school where they see her “full potential” and let her do everything that she wants to do. Realize that the team you’re trying out for had a fine season last year and will have a fine season again this year. You should just want to be able to be a part of it, no matter what they have you doing or they’re promising you. So, instead of asking the question “what can you do for me,” ask them “what can I do for you?”
5-6-7-Oh no, what’s 8 again? Like it or not, people mess up. No one is perfect. But it’s how we react to those mess ups and how we recover that show how you will react at a game or competition. So if you mess up, keep going. Don’t just stand there and get upset, look beside you and get caught up. Judges are a lot easier on someone that picks it back up, than someone that just freezes. You can do this, take a deep breath, glue a smile on your face, and get caught back up.
While coaches love to have someone step up each year and take that leader role, it’s so easy to become controlling. It happens quite often that an upperclassmen tries to step up to fill that gap that was left open from last year’s graduating class. The problem with this is it’s so easy to start saying “that’s wrong” or “no, that’s not how we do things.” It’s not an easy transition going from the little underclassmen to someone that is expected to lead the team. You need to focus on how to talk to people. Coaches are watching to see how you interact with other people from the moment you walk in those doors. They want a natural leader that knows how to work well with others. Don’t be bossy, be helpful.
Athletes, make sure you take this to heart. You can’t expect to represent your school at games or competition if you are any of the above people. Always stay positive at tryouts, be that natural leader, that’s on time, prepared, ready to do what is best for the team, and you’ll be on the right path to make the team you’ve been dreaming of for years. No matter what, give those judges all you have. Give them the tightest motions you can do, work that dance, do the best toe touch you’ve ever done. YOU CAN DO THIS. Go into tryouts confident in yourself and ready to show everyone that you have what it takes to be a part of the team. Most important tip: Be more than your tryout number, make them remember your name.