With kids in sports, there are many learnings that help them make teams they try out for. These same themes help you land jobs and move around easily within a company too.
- Learn about who might be there and share what you are doing with your existing coach. The sports community is often small and coaches have coached against each other, played with each other, went to school, or taught together and could have relationships with the coach you are trying out with. All it takes is one call from a respected colleague that vouches for you and you are on the team. The same is true for that new role you are going for! Share your desires with your manager. All it takes in some cases is an endorsement for you to move into another role!
- Get there early. This shows you are serious about improving and committed to getting better. You will also want to have some drills or skills that you are working on so you can demonstrate that you are there to work. If you have chosen one area to work on, often the new coaches may wonder over and help you with that skill. Getting them engaged in your development and showing them how coachable you are by demonstrating that skill later in the practice can go a long way.
- Be unique / noticeable. This is simple; wearing something unique, a new hairstyle a different pair of shoes or something that can uniquely identify you. “the guy in the orange shirt” as an example. That will help them remember you and it is important to be consistent throughout the tryouts so they always have that familiar anchor!
- Introduce yourself to the coach. This can be when you get there early or even before the tryouts begin. You could have a conversation with the coach about the tryouts, their coaching philosophy, or even to get their feedback on your goals a few days before the practice. This can also help get them engaged in your success.
- Touch the line! Never come up 1″ short of the line even in a race. You would be surprised at how many people don’t finish drills, stop 1″ short, gear down before the finish line. Great coaches are watching this and great teammates hold you accountable to finishing drills, sprints and plays. Always finish!
- Make Eye contact with the coach and nod your head for understanding! Coaches want to be heard and they want to ensure that their message is getting through to the team. So many players don’t look them in the eye when they are speaking or acknowledge their points. Looking at them and nodding can differentiate you. Or asking a good question for clarity, then nodding again and executing can be very appreciated by the coach. Also never argue with the coach! You can ask for clarity but never argue with them; even if you don’t agree, they are the coach! Their opinion matters more than yours! Shut up and row!
- Cheer on your teammates! Coaches are looking for leaders; people on the team who can lift their teammates up and pump the tires of others are often more valuable to a team than the leading scorer or the best player. Your teammates will also appreciate you cheering them on especially when you are tired.
- Dive for Balls, get physical! Commitment is a key element coaches are looking for! Who is willing to put their body on the line? Who is willing to do what it takes and go the extra mile that others are not willing to do? Those are the types of people who win championships and everyone wants on their team!
- All out effort on Defence! There is often no glory on defense and that is exactly why coaches pay such close attention to your defense. Everyone can keep track of who scored how many points but coaches are looking for girls who don’t want to be guarded by people who hustle, or that girl that tries her absolute hardest on defense; you earn more respect from coaches and teammates on defense than you do in any other way.
- Want the ball! Be hungry for the ball, ask for the ball, be aggressive to go and get the ball. Coaches are looking for people who want it and if the skills are not there yet, they can teach that, but it is far more difficult to teach confidence and a desire for the ball.
- Talk / Communicate in the practice and game. The ability to communicate to teammates is a next level skill that is done so much more at the next level. If you are communicating the most of your team, it is assumed you are a far better contributor and you are! Tell your teammates they are doing great, let them know if your player is moving in behind them! Communicate! Coaches are looking for that
- Running within the lines! When you are within the lines of the field or court, never walk inside the lines – jog / run or be stopped but don’t walk! Save the walking for when you are off the field. People will notice this! Your competition will notice, your teammates will notice! How is she jogging off the field when she is that tired? Wow are they ever hustling all the time! Make the effort! People are watching!
- Be the Demonstrator or the first in line! Coaches are always looking for volunteers that they can show how this new drill works on or where to be positioned etc. If you are in the front of the line, you will be chosen for this task and perceived as a leader. Be first, show the coaches you want it!
- Own your break – when the coach breaks for water be the first to get the water, and the first back. Jog back if you are between the lines! This can give you some more discussion time with the coach and also shows them that you are back, refreshed and ready to play. You are into it and not wanting to waste any time. This is leading by example and soon they will be calling the others over to get there now! you are ready to work.
- Thank the coach! Coaches are coaching because they love watching people grow and having an impact on them. Thank them for their time and for teaching you or making you better! That is why they are there!
These strategies have been proven to help kids make sports teams, help adults get hired a companies and help careers flourish in the real world. I encourage you try some of these ideas and see how they work for you!