How to Ace Field Hockey Tryouts
Tryouts can be one of the most exciting or daunting experiences in field hockey. You want to make the team — but so does every other player who shows up at tryouts. Stay calm! This guide will give you tips on how to gain that extra edge to impress the coaches at tryouts.
1. Do Your Research
Before spending your time preparing for your tryout, you should have a clear understanding of what you're getting yourself into. Talk to the girls who are already on the team. Find out what is expected of the team in terms of time commitment, practices, and travel expectations. Decide if making the team is worth your time and effort.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Start practicing for tryouts about a month in advance to fine-tune your skills. Since most tryouts are held at the beginning of the season, you won’t have much of an opportunity to practice game-like situations. But most coaches won't accept this as an excuse, so try to practice with a friend during the weeks leading up to the big day.
During tryouts, the coaches will be looking at how you handle the basic stick skills (pulls, pushes, slaps, hits, and pass), so make sure you perfect them. They will also be keeping a close eye on warm-ups, so treat them as you would a game. Tryouts are not the time to practice your skills; it’s the time to show them off. Focus on making every push, hit, and pass count.
3. Get Fit
Running is part of the game, so expect to run during tryouts. The coaches will focus on endurance and speed, so start working out about a month or two in advance.
Rotate your routine between long-distance runs and short-distance sprints. The ability to recover quickly after a sprint is highly valued, but it won’t come automatically — you have to work for it.
Being fit will not only help you on the fitness tests, but it will also help you with your ball-handling skills. When you're tired, your stick skills get sloppy. Staying in shape will give you more energy to play the ball correctly.
4. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Coaches are not just looking at what you know, but also your potential to learn. No one wants to coach a player with a bad attitude. Make sure your attitude shows the coaches that you love the sport and are excited to be part of the team. This will also reflect in how you play. When you mess up, instead of hanging you head low, work harder to recover from your mistake. A can-do attitude will open doors for you.
5. Bring an Elite Mentality
Your mentality is a major deciding factor for coaches. An elite athlete takes the sport seriously and shows it. If you want to show your coach that you are a top-notch athlete, demonstrate your mentality through your actions. Listed below are some tips on how to prove to your coach that you are a serious and dedicated athlete:
- Hustle between drills
- Leave small talk and gossip with your friends for after tryouts
- Volunteer to go first on drills
- Lead your team through example
- Communicate with your team during scrimmages
- Create plays during the game
- Come ready to play
These small things will have a big effect on getting the coach and your teammates to notice you.
6. Come Prepared
Come dressed and ready to go before stepping onto the field; this shows you're ready to play. Wear comfortable attire (generally a shirt and shorts) and remember the essential equipment:
- A mouth guard
- Cleats or running shoes (depending on the playing surface)
- Shin guards
- A stick and ball
7. Be Confident
Own your skills. Come to tryouts confident that you have practiced and know your skills. Don't apologize when you make a mistake; instead, play better in the next play to correct it.
If you’re not sure how to show confidence, here are a few suggestions:
- Be vocal during scrimmages (call for the ball, direct your teammates, and communicate clearly)
- Make eye contact with your teammates and coaches
- Hit every ball with purpose
8. Be First to Every Ball
Hustle on the field. The worst thing you can do is relax. If you do this, your coaches will assume you are either too lazy to get the ball or out of shape. Try to win every 50-50 ball. This will show your coaches that you want to win the ball, win the game, and win in tryouts.
Prepare yourself for tryouts physically and mentally. Imagine yourself completing each move perfectly in your head. Visualize game situations and how you would react to them. By picturing yourself in your mind's eye, you will be more mentally prepared to reach your potential during tryouts.
10. Be the Best
There are generally three aspects of the game you are tested on during a traditional tryout:
- Game performance
The main area the coaches will focus on is your performance in the scrimmage. Fitness and skills are important, but how well you work with your teammates will be the ultimate test. To master the scrimmage, choose a position you are comfortable with, communicate clearly, and create plays. The qualities that are valued the most in players are their teamwork and leadership. Be confident in your skills, fitness, and game, and you will ace your tryout!