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I took last week off from the podcast to take some teams to Chicago for a Memorial Day weekend tournament. It was a great weekend and a fun way to wrap up the year for the teams.
We played on grass fields which really slowed the game down compared to what we’re used to when playing on our home turf fields. It was a different challenge for the players which they adapted to well.
I love playing on grass but it’s so seldom that you get to play on grass fields that are smooth and allow the ball to roll properly. We’re going to continue to see more and more complexes move to field turf because it’s low maintenance and allows play under most weather conditions.
This week’s question is from Nick .
He asks about tryouts that are spread out over six days.
“I coach a varsity high school girls team and we have tryouts that span over six days, I wanted to know if you have a specific evaluation system for tryouts and how you might structure tryouts for that many days to maximize the evaluative capacity of each activity and day.”
Thanks for the question Nick!
My suggestion would be to have four phases of each day: warm-up, technical, small-sided games, full-sided game. The technical topics would vary and the small-sided game format would highlight that topic.
I assumed Nick was having tryouts for multiple teams: Varsity, JV and C Team. In that case I would move players during the day or from one day to the next so that by the last day I would have the teams together.
Then Nick responded and said,
“Unfortunately we only have a varsity team. Our school doesn’t have the resources to field a JV team. We usually have around 35-40 girls try out and I try to pare that down to about 23-26 for the final roster. Any advice you can give on that type of tryout would help immensely. I wish I could take them all, but it’s just too many players to manage effectively.”
I suggested that I would use the same system but use the small-sided games to separate the players into groups. During the full-sided game I would play the top players versus the rest and use that time to put the top players into different positions.
In This Episode
Since we’re getting ready for tryouts not this weekend but next, I thought I’d talk about topics around this subject.
I’ve talked about tryouts in two previous episodes. The first was in episode 16 – How to Run Tryouts for More than 2,000 players. It dealt with the process we use within our club. The second time I talked about tryouts was in episode 63 – Surviving Tryouts. I looked at all of the challenges around the tryout season and how to deal with them.
I review some of those issue in this episode but focus more on the importance of tryouts and how I evaluate players and place them appropriately during the process.
I’m going to be talking to an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist about sports injuries and injury prevention. We’ll discuss steps parents and coaches can take to help young soccer player stay in the game and be healthy and active the rest of their lives.
Tom – thanks for being such a detailed and insightful reference for us coaches. My question is that I am moving with my team from 7 v 7 to 9 v 9 effective this fall. I will admit to being a bit intimidated and am not sure I understand the full impact of the change. What are some points of emphasis for coaches in this position going into pre season training?
Thanks, Mike Cincinnati, Ohio
Mike – I’m glad you find the info helpful.
I don’t think the just from 7v7 to 9v9 is too complicated. Focus on making the connection for the players between the positions they played in 7v7 and the extra ones added for 9v9. Assuming you’ve played 2-3-1 for 7v7 you’re either going to add one forward and one defender to create a 3-3-2 or some other variation (4-3-1, 3-4-1). Help the players see that now they have additional options. Then you can focus on the technical components just as you’ve done before. I think you’ll be surprised how quickly you and the players become comfortable with the new format.