Spring try-outs are right around the corner, are you ready?
Creating a try-out game plan/strategy will help reduce the “try-out jitters” so that you can remain calm and focused throughout the process. Here are 8 tips that will help you stand out:
1. Think Positively: your thoughts influence the way you view yourself and ultimately how you perform. Keeping a positive mindset seems like a no-brainer, but it can be hard to do under pressure. Your thoughts about yourself matter most, especially during try-outs so if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts stop and rephrase the statements into something positive. For example: “this is hard” can be rephrased as – “this is challenging, but I can do it because I’ve don’t hard things before.”
2. Be Prepared: be sure to pack all the essentials you will need each day throughout try-outs–e.g. forms, water bottle, jersey, equipment/ball, correct shoes etc…
3. Communicate: be vocal, communicate with other athletes when it's appropriate and ask questions when you don’t understand something or need more detail. For example calling out screens, communicating for a rebound, pass or even picking up a teammate with positive reinforcement will open eyes. Talking is crucial on the field/court, especially on the defensive end.
4. Pay Attention/Follow Instructions: when coaches are talking to the group or giving instructions, be sure to make eye contact. Avoid looking down, talking with friends or zoning out. If a coach or trainer sees that you are making direct eye contact, they will know that you care and are paying attention.
5. Do the Little Things: hustle–never cut corners! Most coaches believe that how you execute the “little things” is exemplary of how you will execute the “big things.” Be the first player in line for each drill, execute every drill at game speed, try to win every sprint. Save nothing for later, you have 100% control over your effort–always give your best.
6.Showcase What You do Well: play to your strengths and try not to expose your weaknesses. If you aren’t a competent 3-point shooter, then don’t shoot 3’s–if you’re an excellent passer be sure to show it, a successful try-out is not all about scoring.
7. One Play at a Time: let go of previous plays and don’t overthink the next play–don’t get stuck. Focusing on the current play allows you to be fully present. If you make a mistake, which will happen, let it go and recenter yourself. Give your best effort and take each play or drill one at a time. Thinking about the past and wondering about the future pulls your attention away from important details that are happening in the moment.
8. YOU-vs-YOU: “Don’t compare yourself to others”, easier said than done. It can be challenging to focus on yourself during tryouts when there are dozens of athletes around you, some competing for the same spot. Remember, that the more time you spend comparing yourself to others, the less time and mental energy you have to focus on performing at your best.