Advice for kids and parents during try outs

John O'Sullivan, Founder of Changing The Game Project, shares advice for kids, parents, and coaches during try-outs. Find out more about how parents and coaches can help young athletes through a difficult try out process.
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Advice for kids and parents during try outs

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Tryout time in youth sports can be one of the most difficult times not just for athletes but for parents and coaches as well. I remember as a coach dreading tryouts. Because that's the time you're gonna have to tell the kid that your dream to make this team this year is not gonna happen and I think there's nothing worse as a human being than seeing a child's dream crushed. So my advice for parents is that, be realistic leading up to tryouts. You should get good evaluation from your coach, you should know where your son or your daughter stands so that if they're on a bubble and they might not make it, that shouldn't be a total shock to them. The worse situation is when it is a total shock than if they see it coming. When coaches work for me I always make sure that kids knew this tryout is an important event, you might not be here at the end of it, so really prepare for it and do well. The next thing is if your son or daughter doesn't make the team, what an incredible opportunity in that moment of disappointment to use it as a motivational and learning experience. So get feedback from the coach, "what do they have to do to be on the team next year? What are the weaknesses, what are the things they can work on? Where do you see their role coming up?" The amount of late bloomers in sports is off the charts and we're so focused these days on early success, gotta be on the winning team, gotta make it at age8 or age9 but some of the world's most elite athletes, Steve Nash in Basketball didn't start playing until he was 13. Best soccer players in the world got cut from their team at 15 or 16 and now they play for Rio in Madrid. So when there is disappointment, help your child be motivated, they're gonna be sad, they're gonna be unhappy. That's okay but get them refocused on the daily commitments they can make so that next year when that tryout rolls around, they can make the team. I think as a coach, my proudest moment is when I have a kid who didn't make it the year before, come next year plays all lights out and made the team and that look of achievement on their face that they have truly committed to something and done something great, that sticks with them far beyond their sports career.

John O'Sullivan, Founder of Changing The Game Project, shares advice for kids, parents, and coaches during try-outs. Find out more about how parents and coaches can help young athletes through a difficult try out process.

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John O'Sullivan

Founder of Changing The Game Project

John O’Sullivan founded the Changing the Game Project in 2012 in order to help parents, coaches and youth sports organizations create a more child-centered sports experience for our young athletes. John is a former collegiate and professional player, and worked for 20 years on the youth, high school and college level as a coach and club Technical Director. He holds a USSF A License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, and a US Youth Soccer National License. His blog is now one of the most popular youth sports websites in the US, and he has been a featured presenter at TEDx Bend Oregon, IMG Academy, and this week at the NSCAA Convention. The Changing the Game Project provides live and online parent and coaching education workshops, webinars, and consulting services.

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