In the first article in my four-part series exploring the psychology of tryouts, I discussed why tryouts can be so stressful for young athletes, and the mental areas that suffer the most when they put their athletic hopes and dreams on the line as they attempt to join a league, make a team, or qualify for a new level of play.

In this, my second article, I’m going to offer young athletes some practical tips to help them approach tryouts in a positive way, allowing them to perform to the best of their ability on the day of the tryout.


There are a lot of things at a tryout that you can’t control, including the weather and conditions (if outdoors), other athletes vying for the sought-after spots, and how you’re evaluated by the coaches running the tryout. But there is one big thing you can control that will likely determine how successful that tryout is for you: your preparation. Though you can’t control the outcome of the tryout, you can control everything you put into your performance at the tryout.

The day of the tryout, your goal is to be able to say, “I’m as prepared as I can be to perform my best and achieve my goals.” So, what does being prepared mean? Well, think of everything that goes into being ready for a tryout:

  • Physical fitness (as in, in great shape);
  • Technique and tactics (as in, practice what you’ll need to demonstrate at the tryout);
  • Being well-rested (as in,, get plenty of sleep);
  • Good nutrition (as in, eat healthy food/avoid junk food);
  • Appropriate equipment (as in,, make sure your gear will work for you); and …
  • Be mentally ready (as in, motivated, confident, relaxed, focused).

Here are two simple and connected realities: If you aren’t totally prepared to perform your best, you have almost no chance of achieving your tryout goals. Conversely, if you are totally prepared, there are no guarantees of tryout success — there remains is a lot outside of your control — but you at least give yourself a chance.

So review the preparation list above and identify what you can do long before and immediately before the tryout to be able to say, “I’m prepared, so bring it on!”

To learn more, read to the complete article on

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