Tryouts always seem to be right around the corner. Give yourself an edge by reading and implementing the suggestions below, and whenever your next tryout is, go crush it!
Before any soccer season begins, first thing is first. Tryouts. That word for some causes feelings of excitement and anticipation. For others, an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and worry begin to surface. However, no matter how you feel about tryouts there a few things that you can do to improve your chances of success and leave a lasting impression on both coaches and other players.
Of course, there are the four pillars of performance in soccer: the technical, tactical, physical and mental parts of your game. Proficiency in these areas will definitely lead to higher chances of success.
There are many more things, however, that you can incorporate into not only your game as a goalkeeper, but also into who you are as a person that can and will help you at tryouts, and maybe even more importantly in life. I want to focus on four things that I have found both as a former goalkeeper and as a coach have helped me immensely during a tryout, and also in being a competent and helpful person in general.
Confidence in your own ability is extremely important during a tryout. Usually, tryouts are no longer than three, maybe four days depending on how many kids attend, and so spending that time constantly second guessing yourself and worrying about what everyone may or may not think about you is a waste of time. You are the only one who truly knows what you are capable of and that capability needs to be on full display during the short time you have in front of a coaching staff. Take a deep breath, or maybe 10 deep breaths if needed and show everyone what you are made of.
Mistakes are okay, even expected at a tryout. Know that it is normal to make a mistake and bounce back from it quickly. Coaches are going to see you mess up, what is important though is that you show them how you react from an error no matter how big or small. A goalkeeper who spends the time feeling bad for himself or not letting go of a silly mistake is going to lose focus and that is what coaches will notice.
Get on your feet, dust yourself off and get on with whatever task is next at hand.
There is a quote that most have probably heard of that I believe in 100%. “Those who think they can’t, and those who think they can, are both usually right.” Believe in yourself. You can do it.
For those that may be unfamiliar with this word, coachability is the ability of a person (in this case the goalkeeper) to absorb information given to them by a coach and act on it. The best way to show a coach that you are really listening to what they are saying is by doing what they tell you the very best that you can. It is okay not to be perfect in a certain area, and it takes a lot of practice and time to become good at something.
The important part is actively working to get better and showing the coach that you care and are working hard at it. If a coach sees that nothing they do or say makes a difference because the goalkeeper can’t or won’t act on their advice, they may think twice about rostering that person. It is a long season, and it makes it even longer when an athlete is not coachable.
Presence is a quality that is a little bit harder to nail down and explain but is also a huge part of a goalkeeper’s success. From a coaching perspective, presence is relatively easy to see in a goalkeeper. A keeper with good presence conveys confidence and tenacity in the goal box and in turn gives the coach and his teammates confidence that the goalkeeper knows what they are doing and can be trusted.
So how can you as a goalkeeper at a tryout have presence?
Be Tim Howard.
Now before you think, “Oh sweet, I can yell at my teammates as loud as I possibly can and shave my head bald”, let me stop you there. Of course I don’t mean to say that you should change your entire personality and game as a goalkeeper to try and match Howard. Everyone has their own background, personality, approach to the game, etc. and you should keep those qualities that make you who are you. They are important.
However, there are a few qualities that Tim Howard has that make him such a monster of a goalkeeper and give him that almost scary presence in goal. He is tenacious, passionate, aggressive and gives it everything he has every time he is called upon.
Bring those qualities to tryouts and incorporate them into not only your game but also into your life. Coaches, teammates, parents, teachers, whoever it is, you name it, will take note of and respect a person who has that drive and hunger to be the best that they can be. Have that presence and I promise you will be noticed.
When my dad was in high school he became very interested in music and specifically in drums. He had been a well-respected football player his entire life but decided to quit his sophomore year to pursue music.
The only problem he had was that he was absolutely terrible at drums.
My old man was so bad in fact that he got cut from band! They wouldn’t even let him play the cymbals in marching band, that is how bad he was. He was awful.
To make matters even worse, the drummer that was already in the band was exponentially better than him so he went back to football and luckily got a place on the sophomore team and ended up as captain of the defense that year.
In spite of his initial lack of skills, he decided that what he really wanted was to play drums. That summer he locked himself in his room and practiced drums for hours on end. To make a long story short my dad ended up as the first chair drummer (think starting goalkeeper for those that know nothing about band) and became an even more respected drummer than he was as a football player.
The point that I want to get across from this story is that hard, committed, efficient work will get you farther than talent will alone. Of course it is great to be naturally talented at things, but know that if you aren’t, all is not lost.
If you care about something enough, work, work, and work some more to be the best at it. Bring this attitude to tryouts. Be the person that sprints to pick up cones, that won’t quit during a conditioning session no matter how tired you get, that does the small, seemingly menial tasks with tenacity. If you can’t outperform a competitor than make it a goal to outwork them. If there was only one thing that I took from all of these suggestions and incorporated into my game as a goalkeeper it would be this one. Work hard, and push yourself!!