As a high school coach, I know the heartache of tryouts and cuts more than I would like to! I have been coaching for 11 years now. I was an assistant for 5 years and now I am head coach for the last 6. My assistants are literally the best people I know! We have spent hours upon hours trying to make the right decision on what players will make our team most successful! It is the most emotional, gut wrenching part of the job! Here is what we as a coaching staff look for in our potential players! There are several intangible things we find important other than skill.
5. Student than Athlete – As a high school coach, nothing is more important than being a good student than an athlete. At our school we have a pretty strict attendance policy, and nothing is more frustrating than keeping a player on your team that CAN NEVER PLAY!! We totally love players who take school seriously, that go to class and try to get good grades.
4. Versatility – This is really important as a coach! Nothing sounds more like music to my ears than when I ask a player what position they play and I get the response, “anywhere you need me.” Somebody who can only play one position is hard to find a position for on the team, but someone who can play several positions is easy. When you have multiple options it makes our job a lot easier. Also, when a coach asks you to play another position, it is not because we think you’re awful at your choice position. We think the team would benefit from you playing at the other position and we trust that you can get the job done where we put you!
3. Hard Work – I hold open gyms three days a week after school for three months in the fall for two months in the winter. I want everyone to have an equal opportunity to improve and show me what they have! Nothing is harder than having a player show up at tryouts and never having seen them before. These open gyms give them an opportunity to show me how they play. Three days is not a lot of time to decide who is good enough to be on the team. If we see them in the off season then we can make a more informed decision.
Also, it says a lot about a player who is dedicated enough to put the work in to get better, not only for themselves but for their team. When I coached with my former coach he would always say that in order to win you need a little bit of skill and a lot of luck. My favorite quote is by Thomas Jefferson, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” There is nothing more true than this!
2. Coach-ability – We have been blessed with a lot of talented athletes and some are more coachable than others. As coaches we believe that if it’s not broken then don’t fix it! If a girls is batting .400 then why would I change her swing?! I’m not stupid, even though at times I may appear to be so! However, when it’s not working, we will want to try something different, to make you get out of a slump. Even though it is not something you are used to, but if it helps you improve than why not?! The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I will admit, I am not perfect and I don’t know everything, but I have coached with the best of the best! I know a few things and all I want you to do is try.
1. Attitude – Girls sports are hard at times to coach! I am a girl, I know what goes on. Attitudes can make or break a team! I have been really lucky to always have girls on my team who have the great attitude and will to win! Positive attitudes can be the difference between a win and a loss. No matter the situation a player who can be positive is priceless, it can be contagious! I had a short stop last year, that it didn’t not matter the situation, she somehow pulled the team together. She was contagious and she has left a legacy for the younger players, they want to carry on her tradition!