I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s contemplated the problems with the tryout process commonly used in sports.
If you’ve paid attention to athletics over the years, you’ve noticed the same announcements I have. They go something like this: Tryouts for the team will be held Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. on the practice field. Wear appropriate gear and bring a drink.
A two-hour tryout?
How can you evaluate 40 kids in two hours?
For players who don’t make the cut, the ammunition has already been loaded. The coach had the team picked before tryouts even started, they say. I wasn’t given a fair shot, they claim.
I agree. There’s no way to determine players who will best help a team in a matter of hours. If we want to put our best teams on the court and on the field, it seems like we’d have a better tryout procedure in place.
That’s why I really like the system utilized by the WCMS seventh-grade basketball team this year. With an abundance of players trying out, the decision was made to have a first cut and allow all the players who made the first cut to practice with the team for two months this summer. After practices in June and July, a second cut will be announced and the team roster will be finalized.
This is a great concept and one I wish more teams would use. It allows the coach to eliminate some players who might not be as strong early in the process, while continuing to evaluate other players for an extended period.
Through two months of practices, a coach can really get a feel for which players can help the team. It can show who is out there hustling every day. It can reveal how kids interact with their teammates. Most of all, it can reveal the best players.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of coaching sports it’s that kids mature at different ages. The best basketball player in the county at age 8 is not going to be the best basketball player at age 11. The best soccer player at age 12 is not going to be the best soccer player at age 15.
One reason for this is growth. Some kids may be average size in middle school but don’t grow much after that and are left behind. Others may lose their dedication and fall behind skill wise.
Whatever the reason, if we’re going to put our best teams out there in all levels of Warren County athletics, a fair tryout system is the best way to achieve that goal. That can’t happen in two hours.