How to Have Your Best Tryout

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By Morgan Hicks ‘20

With 18 sports available at school, Regis Jesuit provides a wide variety of opportunities but is very competitive. These highly competitive standards create stressful tryouts for many athletes. Many students, star athletes or not, get pre-tryout “jitters”.  Sophomore, Lyann Klich, depicts the demands of all sports through her preparation and practice in swim throughout the year. Though sports all differ substantially, the importance of practice, preparation, and values are strikingly similar.

At 4:00 a.m. Lyann is up and getting ready for swim, at 4:30 a.m. she is out the door, and at 5:00 a.m. she is at club practice. After about six weeks off in the summer she is back to practice and getting back into shape. Preparing for tryouts is nothing different than what she does year round.

“Club prepares me for high school and time trials,” Lyann said.

Through participating in summer and club swim she is constantly improving. Because of her steady practice routine, she does not have to worry about getting ready for tryouts because that is what she does year round.

Practice is necessary to improve. How many years a person has been playing and how good they are does not change the fact that improvement requires practice. Many coaches look for players with a desire to get better. Regis Jesuit offers many opportunities for practice and training before the season begins.

Head Boys Basketball coach, Ken Shaw says, “Our tryouts this year were technically three days but anytime a kid plays with us in the off season we consider that part of the tryout.”

Having fun is connected to how well you do. Often, people will do better at things they enjoy. Stressing at tryouts takes away the enjoyment and can even cause a player to do worse.

As tryouts begin, the swimmers are split into groups of eight then they participate in the event of that day. Not every group participates in the events at the same time. While waiting, everyone takes the opportunity to get to know the girls that may be their future teammates; the atmosphere is one of friendship and enjoyment. The overall impression is that of a regular swim practice and the energy and excitement is that of a meet.

Head Coach of Swim and Dive, Nick Frasersmith encourages swimmers to have fun and “the outcomes will take care of themselves.”

Be a team player before you have made the team. Don’t go through tryouts alone and don’t let anyone else do the same.

At time tryouts, as the events begin, sounds of cheering, people yelling out number of laps completed, and splashes fill the bubble. Just like how the girls cheer on their teammates when competing against other swimmers at meets, they now encourage each other to beat their one competitor… themselves.

“You are not racing each other because you want your time because it doesn’t matter who beats who. It’s your time,“ said Lyann.

Each sport is unique and requires a variety of skills to allow a team to succeed. A diverse team is a strong team. Your skills are unique and your physical traits contribute to that. Don’t play the game how you think will look good but instead play to your strengths. Not everyone will be the best goalie or have the best three-point throws and that is good. Coaches will more likely notice a player who is really good at something that isn’t the same as everyone else rather than a player who is struggling because they want to be the same as everyone else.

As each session comes to an end, the swimmers eagerly wait to see their rankings in each event. Some having higher rankings than other in certain sections. Each vowing to continue practice and congratulating themselves on their best event.

Head Hockey coach Dan Woodley says that he looks for “loyalty, dedication [in a player]… I like guys who have active minds, who are sharp and quick and jump to the answers quickly because in hockey the sport is so fast paced that guys have to have the confidence to trust whatever decision they make very quickly.”

The NFL in previous years had open tryouts and each person that came on the field had a unique skill set. Not everyone can make the team they want but attitude is what makes a difference. Skills go hand in hand with attitude. Confidence in your own unique talents is imperative in standing out.

“We want players to have every opportunity to showcase their talent. The guys at these events will always be able to say, ‘I may not have made it to the pros, but I left everything I’ve got out on the field,’”  Matt Birk, NFL Football Development Consultant told USA Today .

Though you practice, not everyone makes the team. Perseverance is an important aspect whether you get cut or not. If you do get cut don’t let pride stop you from trying again. If you didn’t make it the first time but you try again, coaches notice that. Seeing you come back shows them that you want to be there and the sport you are trying out for is important to you.

On the National Federation of State High Schools Association, Mark Redrick explains, “the reality of an athletic department is that all of our stakeholders – athletes, coaches, parents, public – still expect us to be able to compete with the intent to win games… In order to do this, we try to clearly define our competitive levels.”

As the 500 event comes to a close on the fourth day, the coaches view the rankings and compile the teams – 30 girls making varsity, 15 making JV team 1, and 15 making JV team 2.

Head Coach of JV girls basketball team, Archie Chaney, encourages athletes to  “have fun. Be prepared. Just go in and know that you had the opportunity to compete against other boys and other girls and do your best. Whatever happens after that point is going to happen and there are certain things you can control and certain things you don’t control. Be cognizant of the things that you do control and give it your all.”