Feb 12, 2024 • 6 min read
Hockey tryouts are one of the most exciting times of the year for our youth athletes. And making the youth hockey team is a top priority. Here are 10 tips you can share with your players to help them shine at tryouts. These tips can be shared with coaches to better prepare their players, league staff to set expectations within the organization, and parents.
Preparation is key. There’s a saying, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” That certainly can hold true at hockey tryouts. One of the best ways to prepare is get lots of training in before the day of tryouts. On the day of, you want to be well versed in what is expected of you, how many spots are available, and what the coaching staff is looking for. Another thing that falls into adequate preparation is getting your mindset ready for a long day of evaluation.
On the day of hockey tryouts you want to make sure you arrive early enough to get signed in, given the appropriate apparel and rundown. It’s not a good look to ever show up late, but on a day based on evaluation, don’t leave your commitment and accountability up for question. Leave enough time to travel to the location and also showing up early can help you take a few deep breaths and get your mind right before it’s showtime.
If you are trying out for a sport that requires certain apparel and equipment, like hockey, make sure you show up looking like a hockey player! That means a hockey jersey or athletic shirt, hockey pants, socks, pads, helmet, and of course – your skates! Hockey requires certain equipment given the position, so make sure that if you are a goalie you are fully ready to play that position.
There may be moments throughout the tryout that are distracting. Many athletes talk about the coaches with clipboards or the parents if it is an open tryout. Try to demonstrate focus and confidence during the entire duration of the tryout. Focus can look like making eye contact with the coaches when they are giving directions, focusing on the game or drill happening, and being ready for anything. This shows coaches that you are committed and serious about making the hockey team.
Showing good sportsmanship is essential on any team or sport. Be a good sport throughout the entire hockey tryout. If a drill or specific play doesn’t go your way, keep your head up and get the next one. If you lose a game, congratulate the other team and move on. It is perfectly OK to care about winning and your performance, but don’t get so lost in the moment you forget how to be a good teammate. Coaches are looking for players that encourage others, lead others, and handle adversity admirably.
A 3-second memory means acknowledging something didn’t go your way, but not letting it linger and affect the rest of your ability. Many of the best athletes in the world have trained themselves to have a 3-second memory. This helps them focus on the next move, the next shot, the next defense,, and forget about what didn’t go right a few seconds ago. On the day of hockeyl tryouts, not everything is going to go perfectly. Don’t let that get you down, instead keep on moving and get the next play.
Coaches want to coach players who are eager to learn and give 100 percent effort. Be coachable on the day of tryouts. Take the information the coaches are giving you and skate with it. Ask questions if necessary and work as hard as you can. Coaches look for hard work and effort. Players that put their heads down and do the work are incredibly coachable.
It’s easy on the day of tryouts to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Don’t let the atmosphere take you out of your own game. Focus on the skills that you are great at and show them off. Even if the pace is different, the players are new, and everything feels slightly foreign, try to find moments that feel familiar to you. If you play your game and give your all, that’s all anyone can ask for.
Having fun is one of the most important parts of tryouts. Even though the day can mean a lot of pressure, you should still try and have a good time. Players that have fun at hockey tryouts typically play better because they are less in their own head and more so playing with their heart. Coaches and tryout organizers should also stress this at tryouts, it will make the entire day more productive for everyone.
Even if you miss a big shot on goal, slip up on defense, or miss a save in the net, remain positive. Having a positive attitude is infectious and coaches and other players will likely catch on. Demonstrating a positive attitude is a skill in itself and at tryouts, it is key. Coaches want players who bounce back from difficult moments and smile. It’s certainly fine to show frustration at moments, emotions are part of the game, but keeping a positive outlook is a sign of maturity and a leadership quality coaches look for.