It's true, according to our very scientific research, 99.9999 percent of players who plan to try out for our SKSC United Premier are nervous. For those who have gone through the try out process before: nervous. For those who have never tried out before: nervous.
It's absolutely normal. And we get it. So we asked the head of SKSC's Premier program and coaching extraordinaire, Matthew McDaniel, to answer some questions for us about tryouts. They say knowledge is power, so hopefully armed with some of this knowledge, those nerves might just lessen... a little bit at least.
The first question we often get, and the question that is more often than not in the forefront of the player's mind is: am I good enough? What does Coach McDaniel say?
Don't worry about it.
"COME TO TRYOUTS! The term 'tryouts' always sounds scarier than it actually is. It is much more like a normal practice or 'kick-around,' except that you will see some extra staff standing around to observe.
Many players avoid tryouts as they think they don’t have the technical skills to be able to 'show off' at the tryout. While technical skills become more important as you get older, we are much more focused on your effort, focus, hustle, and attitude than your current soccer skills."
Okay, great! So for those nerves, tuck away your uncertainties because in the end, showing up is more than half the battle. We are not MLS (though maybe one of you will one day be an MLS player!).
But, if you're still feeling nervous. Preparation can help.
"There are a couple of areas that you can focus on that will help you prepare for tryouts:
1) Conditioning: If you haven’t been active in a while, start getting some exercise! Start with stretching and work on some speed and agility drills. (You can google 'speed and agility drills' and find lots of fun ideas).
2) Touches: Get a soccer ball on your foot at every opportunity! Pass against a wall (or your couch if you have parent support!) or juggle a soccer ball or a tennis ball. There are some great videos on YouTube that give you some options for footwork:
And in an effort to help with focusing on your conditioning and touches, Coach McDaniel says that the tryouts themselves will look very similar to the way practices are run in the Premier program.
"We’ll start out with some stretching and warmups to get everyone ready to play. We’ll spend a few minutes working on some technical skills like passing and dribbling, and then quickly progress into scrimmages. You’ll be working within a large group of players, so no need to worry about having to be put 'on display' in front of everyone."
The tryouts are usually about 90 minutes long and each age group will have two opportunities to try out. Though attending both days of tryouts for the player's age group is not required, Coach says that is highly encouraged, as it allows the coaches to see more of the player, giving them a fuller idea of not only the player's skill, but their attitude and effort.
And finally, we asked Coach McDaniel what players should bring with them to the tryouts:
"Cleats, shin guards, water, and effort. Players should refrain from wearing club jerseys to tryouts."
Of course, this is a Premier program and we know those players that are attracted to our competitive program, overwhelmingly wish to improve, so our last question for Coach McDaniel has to do with feedback, and if there will be any.
Coach McDaniel: "During the session, coaches will be on the field to assist players with the session and may provide some tips and encouragement during the session to players. However, coaches will not be able to provide any formal feedback before, during, or after tryouts. The role of the coach is to help you display your current skills at the session, and guide the program staff in forming the best teams for the coming year. After teams have been formed and if you were not selected to fill a roster position on this year’s team, you can request feedback regarding areas to improve by emailing: United@sksoccer.com."
And that's that!
We do know that this process can be stressful, but we don't want it to be. Throw on your cleats and shin guards, grab your water, and show up ready to work and maybe even have a little bit of fun. After all, you wouldn't be trying out if you didn't love to play soccer and that's exactly what you'll be doing.
Registration for tryouts is now live via our website, www.sksoccer.com. Please click on the link on our home page. There is no cost to try out. Please direct all Premier questions to Matt McDaniel, firstname.lastname@example.org.