Depending upon how the club teams in your area operate, tryouts are around the corner or they have already concluded. (The timing of club tryouts is a post for another time.)
Just because you want to play for a certain club this summer doesn’t mean they want you to play for them. What are some things our Club Directors are looking for when selecting their teams?
JC Valore – SouthShore
We do hold tryouts, so there is somewhat of a selection process when it comes to picking specific players over others. However, due to the fact that lacrosse has slowly developed in our area regarding the amount of players interested in summer lacrosse, we don’t have to have a strict checklist evaluating hundreds of players for one team.
We simply look for the best athletes that can be utilized in our program. We will run basic drills to evaluate stick skills, dodging ability, shooting, footwork, and overall IQ. Our aim is to develop players, so we do not treat it like a tryout that requires perfection or one that doesn’t allow mistakes. Our program isn’t designed to create an elite showcase team, so these standards work well with what we are trying to accomplish each summer.
Character and integrity are then looked at closely as we will never just take kids because they are good. We want to know them as kids or young men. Representing our program in a positive light goes a long way. This may entail a questionnaire or recommendation from a coach or trusted colleague.
Character references are important. Some players will come to a team never knowing anyone else on the team or the coaches. Being able to mesh immediately after just a few practices goes a long way when selecting a team.
Terry Mangan – Trilogy
I think that the selection processes are always going to be a little different for each program, even for each team. The number of players that are trying out, the personalities and experience of the coaches, as well as the past history and successes of the program all play a role.
There are a few things that are important to keep in mind:
- Tryouts are the front porch to a club program; a disorganized, poorly run tryout will turn off many parents and will make it hard to properly evaluate the players
- Tryouts are a very big deal to almost every player; many are going to be nervous, especially if they are new to a program. Program directors and coaches should go out of their way to talk with the players, use their names, make them feel comfortable and welcome
- Early physical development is not a skill or something that any of the players have any control over
Smart directors look for young players that can be a part of their program for years. Being a good player is a big part of the selection process, but so is potential. Who works hard and loves to play? Who is coachable and will try new things? Who understands the value of practice, being on time, and who has the discipline to be considered reliable during games?
These are the qualities all directors and coaches should be looking for in potential members of their program.
The toughest question to answer – what players have the most potential over the coming years?
For every player that was the best at each level growing up, there are many more that took a little while to develop physically, gain confidence, etc. Savvy directors and coaches will try to project what players are on the right track and can reach their potential with nurturing – good coaching, being positive role models and hard work.
Some final thoughts:
- Getting to know players should be important. If there will be a lot of players at a tryout that the director does not know about, perhaps asking them to write a paragraph or two about why they love lacrosse, the person or coach that got them started playing lacrosse, what they want to do when they get older, can go along way in bridging that gap.
- If a director has to cut a player trying out, doing it over the phone might be better than just by an email. Parents can be upset and hoping for some clarity. Good directors will be able to answer questions and will have some things for that player to work on moving forward.
Lee Southren – NJ Riot
Kenny Broschart – Go Blue
At GBL, we are limited to a 50 mile radius of Ann Arbor for our players. Fortunately, there are a ton of very talented players in our area. Due to NCAA rules, we open the tryout period to everyone.
This year, we selected our 4 teams from over 200 kids. Obviously, the first thing we are looking for is talent. It is our goal to build this program to be the premier team in Michigan. Secondly, we want players who are positive teammates and are looking to take their game to the collegiate level. We want players who will represent our program professionally and are coachable.
Body language and hustle are key. It is important to us that our kids are smiling over the summer.
Catch up on previous Club Directors Panels:
How to Email a College Coach
Early Recruiting & Coaching Staff Alignment
What makes a club lacrosse program successful?
Club versus High School
Hope for Late Bloomers?