Let’s face it, a soccer tryout or any sports tryout makes us a bit nervous. I can remember trying out for several teams. Sometimes I knew I would make the team and other times I hoped I would. In my youth – pro career, I didn’t make all the teams I tried out for and that hurt. At any level the key to a soccer tryout is preparation and self belief. There are also other tricks to help you make the team. Scroll down and check it all out! Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Soccer tryout for newer player
When parents first enter the soccer world, often times they don’t know what to expect. Things in terms of the rules of the game, proper gear and equipment, difference of leagues, how ‘tryouts’ should work, how their kid should ‘prepare’ and more.
As the kids progress in age the questions trend more toward coping with the business of soccer, its structure and implications for long-term goals and outcomes.
No matter what age or level, the key to trying out for a team is you have to prepare. Believe in yourself, have good body language and work your hardest.
Coaches love hard work more than anything. Too many players show that they are nervous, which holds them back and makes them timid.
It’s okay to be nervous, but make sure you go 100% the whole practice.
Training guide for advanced players
For players who are already good with the fundamentals, I recommend you practice more advanced skills. Though never stop working on the basics either.
Here’s a list of 5 things you can work on to bump up your skill level.
- Proper ball striking with the laces and bending. Here are the best 4 ways to kick a ball. The reason is because when you can pass and shoot different ways it allows you to release the ball easier and faster (when you need).
- Controlling the ball out of the air and bouncing balls.
- Turning while receiving so that no matter what position you are able to play quicker by either switching the field or going up field.
- Find a small group of players where you can work on your speed of play. There are some things you can do to improve working on your own too. Learn why speed of play matters so much.
- Dribbling methods to help you evade defenders in tight spaces. Also how to gain more speed by ‘running with the ball’, which helps you in open space.
Soccer tryouts at different ages
Did you know: Age 10 is when kids usually go select. A great deal changes because now the player must make a team, as opposed to being assigned to one.
Regardless of age, there are certain things that need to be done to give yourself a chance. No matter the result, please know that you have to give yourself time.
Sometimes players don’t make the team, but they give themselves another year of skills training. With the hard work they end up making the team and continuing to move up.
Be careful comparing yourself with others who are currently ahead technically or physically. Everyone peaks at different stages. Some of the best pro athletes didn’t even make their high school teams in 9th and 10th grade.
Then every year there are those kids ages 14 who decide they want to make the high school team after not playing soccer in 5 years or more. Listen, at this point you have to give yourself more time to increase so many different skills.
If you don’t make the team that first year, don’t give up. You need at least 6 months of private, small group or at home technical skills training. Some of your competitors have been training hard since 7 years old.
Pro tryouts down to youth [Be fit]
In soccer the word “fit’ means you are able to play at least half the game or even coming on as a sub for 30 mins without needing a break.
At the pro level you will hear people say that a certain player is not fit. This means they are coming off an injury and are not able to play in matches yet.
During tryouts coaches are going to see who looks fit or not. If you look out of shape it tells the coach you are not prepared and probably are not committed. So make sure you’re fit!
Being fit can also mean [being in shape] This may seem extreme for younger kids but with a rising childhood obesity rate, kids need to be more active than ever before.
If you are not already fit you’ll get there… One way is by putting the right things in your body, so check these great eating habits for soccer players.
Skills coaches are looking for at a soccer tryout
Skills is something that, like fitness, can be completely controlled by the player. Get skills training to improve the technical elements.
A skillful player is an instant asset at any age or level of play. Know how to trap the ball, pass short and long, don’t lose the ball much and play quick.
Here’s a short homemade video with 3 ways to pass short in a tight space.
If you can get my ball control courses to practice at home, but then maybe get a private trainer or gather a small group and work on things you can work on alone. Example: Finishing and volley drills you can not practice alone easily. Some skills you need someone to toss or cross balls to you.
How small group soccer training gives results
Small groups are great and give different elements compared to private 1:1.
The smaller group lessons give you the attention needed to be corrected.
Other important pieces are the quick give and goes, turning while receiving and shooting skills.
Be dressed like a soccer player
Especially if you’re moving from rec play to select. Show you’re ready. Have your shirt tucked in. Have your shin guards covered.
Wear white or black socks, but I do know a young girl about 11 years old who always comes to practice with 1 green sock and 1 black sock. That style to me doesn’t look good, because it looks rec style. But she is an absolute stud soccer player! Her work ethic and technical skills overall is way above normal. So she makes that style work. I say if you are going to dress like that you better play well.
But on the contrary, sometimes it helps to have something that sticks out to a coach, like a crazy color shoe or a wrist band. Just a few ideas.
If you feel you are going to play well and want to stick out do something like that. But if you are coming from rec to select, try to wear plain white or black colored sox and shorts. At the end of the day you want to feel confident, so do whatever makes you feel good.
© pressmaster / Depositphotos.com
Be positive in your thinking & actions
No one wants to deal with a demanding, whiny brat, regardless of their skill or talent. At a soccer tryout or anywhere. Period.
Also on the other end if you start out playing bad, make sure that you think of all the positive moments in your soccer life. Forget about the mistakes and don’t listen to that voice between your ears telling you that you can’t do it.
Believe in yourself, especially when you don’t believe in you.
Correct the negative thoughts with positive ones. Sometimes your negative thoughts may be right, but don’t believe it. Sounds funny, but sometimes you have to lie to yourself as long as it’s positive.
Make your brain believe what will help you.
Be proactive at your soccer tryout
Look the other players in the eye and introduce yourself, shake the coach’s hand at the end and thank him [or her] for the opportunity.
This is how you act like a professional and shows you respect the coach and appreciate the teaching and opportunity.
Remember that the tryout is not a one-way street; the team needs to be a good fit for you too. It should be reasonable for your lifestyle, time commitments, personality needs, etc. For example, in North Texas there are hundreds of teams per age [!] and at least 10 different levels/leagues.
At the end of the day, the goal should be to get ‘good’ touches, get to play, and have FUN.
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