Try Out Now! Do NOT Wait for the Off-Season!
Last ASK Jason article I discussed How to Approach and make First Contact with a Junior or University Team. Today’s discussion is an extension of that. Once you know how too politely, directly and confidently discuss arranging for a tryout, you need to concentrate on ‘Big Picture’ thinking, WHEN to begin your journey.
The biggest mistake players make at all ages in trying to get to the next level is when they decide to worry about tryouts or making the team. A lot of people tend to wait until camp invitations arrive in the mail or until a scout approaches them at the rink or showcase event. It doesn’t matter if you are in Midget, Junior B or Junior A, you cannot wait until the late spring or summer to make your choices nor can you rely entirely on clubs coming directly to you. In the very least, I’m a proponent of getting as many quality options as possible as you need to have Plan A, B, C and even Z if you can manage it.
Another pitfall is that players tend to settle once they have received a tryout that seems like a reasonable opportunity.
There is nothing wrong with being confident in your abilities and skills but contrary to what you might think, confidence isn’t enough to ensure that a job is all sewn up. Final roster decisions are not made based upon skill alone, in fact financial, positional needs, politics and many other considerations all go into final personnel choices. You cannot leave yourself only one ‘sure-thing’ situation, because there definitely is no such thing!
So I’d argue that there is no reason to wait until the offseason to begin active self-promotion. You can in fact tryout with as many teams as you want during the season and I encourage you to do just that! If you plan on playing Junior A next year, start calling GM’s NOW! Arrange for a skate or an in-season tryout or advanced preview now. Yes, it’s just that easy. Call the coach, give him the short version of whom you are and that you are planning on trying out for them in the spring/fall and that if it is possible, you would like the opportunity for them to take a look at you now or before the season is over at a team practice.
It might require you taking an afternoon or morning off of high school or better yet, plan it around a weekday holiday. Teams always want to look at talent for the future and they typically have limited budgets and time constraints to get out and scout as much as they would like to on their own. So be proactive, call the team, and get it done!
Think about it this way, would you rather be seen as the only guy ‘trying’ out at that skate or as #123 on their list of the 10 prospect teams playing at their evaluation camp? Where do you think you have a better chance getting noticed?