Tryouts are here! Here are a few things you need to know while you select a team to play on.
“The amount of game-like repetitions with positive feedback” is the most important criteria that you can use for selecting a team to play on. Seniors are typically better than Freshman. College players are typically better than high school players. Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” states you can become an expert in anything in 10,000 hours. While this isn’t 100% true, the principle holds for volleyball. The more court time you get, the better. But how does it apply direction?
You want to play in a system where you get lots of game like repetitions. You already know that this isn’t done on the bench. Find a place where you can maximize the amount of reps, or playing time can be achieved. While being a non starter typically isn’t a horrible things, AND the roughly 75% of club court time is in practices, you should know your role before you make a decision on joining a team.
Red flags? Coaches that talk too much, or spend over 10% of their practice time talking. Some coaches love to listen to their own voice. This is a warning sign for two reasons. One, they don’t know the most important factor for an athletes success and two, it maybe signs of ego.
Another red flag is drills that aren’t game like. The best way to get good at volleyball is through GAME LIKE repetitions. Pepper - for example, isn’t game like. Every coach does it, but that doesn’t make it game like. A game doesn’t have two people on the same side of the court digging, setting, and hitting at each other. The more “across the net” drills, typically, the more game like they are.
What is positive feedback? If the coach is giving feedback, simple positive feedback, this is a good sign. It’s informational, not emotional. When a coach is giving feedback, it’s usually focused on what an athlete needs to change or is perhaps how they are performing a skill incorrectly. Good coaches also verbally reward correct performance.
Next, what kind of environment does the coach or club have? What kind of culture do they have? Does it feel like you are a part of something good? Does the staff smile? Do they use the players name? Do they have a good reputation? They are going to spend more time with their coach over the next few months than anyone else. Do some research on the coach. Ask former players, or last years team, or even club directors, or other coaches in the club. Listen to their responses and also, trust your gut and your instincts. It’s ok to make decisions based on “it didn’t feel right”.
Regarding tryouts specifically. The biggest things that you can do to have a good experience:
Have fun! If your not having fun, or you’re stressed, your most likely in a place of fear instead of confidence. You don’t play your best in a place of fear. Relax - have fun.
Give 100% effort! Try for every ball on defense - relentless. Hit the ground. Coaches respect effort, not always the outcome.
Stick with your best stuff. Your best stuff SHOULD mean your best performances in the past. Don’t try something new that you haven’t tried yet. Don’t be trying jump serving when your best serve is a standing float. Go with the old familiar shoes, instead of buying a brand new pair just for tryouts. Be comfortable. Be your best you!
Be personable! Be you! Introduce yourself by name. Smile and meet the staff. Ask the coaches what they are looking for in players. Say thanks after receiving feedback and after the tryout ends.
Stand out somehow! Wear a some clothing or a color that stands out.
Last, regarding communication with the club. Tryouts are always hard for coaches and players alike. Be proactive with communication. If you don’t hear from the club after tryouts, feel free to reach out to the coaches or staff or directors. I hate to say it, but statistically speaking, when dealing with new faces and large numbers, mistakes can and often will be made. Be proactive in talking with the club to make sure something wasn’t missed, or is accurate. Good coaches and clubs will own their mistakes.
Please feel free to share these tips with anyone trying out at any club this week.
We wish you the best in finding the best team experience possible!
Mike and Allyce - Club801