Saturday, 1 April 2017

Published Saturday, April 01, 2017 with 0 comment

Youth Sports: Surviving Tryouts


Dread tryouts? Tryouts and travel teams are the dark reality of today’s youth sports. Kids, at a very young age are being exposed to extreme competition, fear, disappointment and the worst of all, specialization.

In a perfect world, each child gets what they want to play, when they want to play. But unfortunately, in the real world, organized sports have mechanized the whole sports domain. And as grim as it sounds, the harsh reality is there are tryouts and kids who are passionate about sports have to learn the ways of the world. Also, while rigorous training for elementary or junior high kids is highly debatable, planned training with age-specific regime has its advantages namely starting early, molding and grooming kids for a certain level of competitive environment.

So, instead of missing the tryout or grumbling about it, you can actually prepare the child for a positive challenge. It can be a good learning opportunity for the kid, moreover, the child will get a taste of real competition, the preparedness will be so worth it. Here are a few tips to help you prepare the child for tryouts.


  • Tryout should not be taken as the test of ability. It should rather be taken as the measure of required skillset. Getting left out in the tryout only means that the skills need to be honed better. So, actually it just calls for better learning.
  • Through tryouts, coaches try and get the best players for the team. And a good player means so much more than just great talent, a good player is willing to learn, receptive, enthusiastic and a team player. The soft attributes are as important as game skill.
  • Be positive, more importantly be positive in front of the kid. Do not grumble about the tryout or show your doubts about the process. This will shake the child’s belief.
  • Do not add pressure on the child to make it to the team. It’s not like the kid is going to miss the last bus. Discuss the whole concept of ‘learning is more important than getting selected’ with the child.
  • Encourage the child to take up what she likes. Do not force the child to take up a particular sport, but at the same time do not let her quit just because she was left out. If you see the passion, motivate her, give her your support to hone skills for the game. But if you feel the child is genuinely not into the sport, let her give it up if she wants to. Sports need an extraordinary dedication and if someone’s not passionate about it, they cannot do it.
  • Let coaches do their job. It is in their best interest to select the best player for the team. If you feel there’s something fishy or unjust, discuss it. Do not create a scene that would land your kid in an awkward position. Kids develop a complex in such situations that then becomes the cause of some psychological suffering as a adolescent or an adult.
  • Remember, it’s just a game. Do not be overwhelmed either ways. A lot of parents link the child’s performance to their personal achievements, which puts a lot of undue pressure on the child. 
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