Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Make Tryouts Less Stressful

It's tryout time and it's a trying time for parents and kids. There will be drama. There will be stress. There might be even enough of it to go around for a new reality TV series, slide over Dance Moms, think "HOCKEY MOMS!" But parents should remove themselves from the drama and step into the arena with positive words and actions. As badly as you want them to make the team, remember, it's not about you. And dealing with disappointing you, on top of the disappointment of not making the team. is a lot for a child to handle. So your job is to be upbeat before, during and after evaluations and tryouts. The message should be, do your best, but if you don't make it, you'll find something else, maybe something better. Staying out of the coach's grill and staying out of your kid's head, could just give your hockey player the edge and certainly will take the edge off of tryouts.


What about practice? It's important, but don't push it. Practice only as much as they can handle, because you certainly don't want to burn them out on the sport before the season begins. Make sure you do a thorough equipment check; everything needs to feel right and fit right. For knowing what to expect, and how best to impress, I turned to a well respected local high school hockey coach, whose teams have earned state title championships. Frank Colabufo has been part of the player evaluations and selection process for 25 seasons. Here are his thoughts for players and parents for tryouts.

Knowing How To Make a Team


As a player, you need to have the mindset that it is your job to make the team, not the coach's job to pick you. You need to separate yourself from the rest of the group. If you don't, you risk being "on the bubble" and it may end up bursting at the end of the tryout. Here are a few ways to give yourself the best shot at making a team.


Play fast! Keep your feet moving and play with energy. Be strong in traffic and along the wall.


Win every 1 vs. 1 battle all over the ice. Have a constant work ethic in every drill and on every shift. Get loose pucks first and play with an edge. Be hard to play against. Take it personally and never give up.


Research shows the best players in the world only possess the puck for about one minute in a 60 minute game. What are you doing when you don't have the puck? Support the play on offense and defense. Stay engaged and make a difference, especially when you don't have the puck.


Be a positive team player. Make your teammates better. Be willing to accept a role. The third line center that won't be happy unless he is on the first power play unit, probably gets cut. Carry your own bag and sticks even if your mom offers to carry them for you. Say "please" and "thank you" when you get a drink from the snack bar after practice. Do the right thing, even when you think nobody is looking. We have won championships with teams that were less talented, but we've never won a championship with teams that lacked character.


If you do make the team, congratulations! But, your work is just beginning. You now have the responsibility to get better every single practice. Do not take your selection for granted, because chances are, the players who were cut are making plans to get better. If you're not picked for the team, try to understand that players develop at different rates and times. As long as you are still being challenged, you will continue to improve. Keep playing and keep having fun! Hockey is a great game.


Sophia didn't make the travel team last season,, but what an incredible year on the house team!  Named  MVP during one of the tournaments and back to back tournament wins!  She says it was her best year ever.  It was an awesome year for me too.  And that's what it's all about.

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