How to Impress a Coach at Tryouts: Part 3 – Performance

My last two articles have discussed important factors that come into play when trying to impress a coach at tryouts. This series spawned from my recent experience as an evaluator in our State District Camp; where I realized that many players didn’t know how to carry themselves in ways that would showcase their abilities and impress an on-looking coach.

In this 3-part series, I hope to give players an “insider’s look” at what coaches are watching for. This knowledge, applied properly, should help give you the edge you need going into tryout season.

  1. Off-Ice Strategy
  2. On-Ice Strategy
  3. On-Ice Performance

This article (part 3) is all about optimizing your performance on the ice. Let’s hit it!

Make Yourself Stand Out!

Part of showing well in a tryout is doing things that draw attention to yourself in a good way. The following list has some tips that will help you do this as best as possible:

  • SHOW GRIT – hard work, and good attitude go a long way. If you’re close to another player skill-wise, the player with the most grit will win out.
  • Tap someone on the butt and tell them good job after going against them in a battle drill. This shows work ethic and good sportsmanship.
  • Hit someone! In certain tryout situations, players may shy away from hitting. This gives you an opportunity to stand out. Show the coaches you’re willing to play physical. There’s nothing wrong with a hard clean check, and it’ll wake up the evaluators in the stands!
  • Play to your strengths – this is another way to do something that’ll make you stand out. If speed is your game, SHOW IT! If you’ve got a great shot, SHOOT A LOT! If you’re a playmaker, get with a goal scorer and be a setup man! If you’ve got hands, DANGLE!
  • Be LOUD on the ice. Coaches love players who call for passes and have fun out there. This will also make you stand out.
  • Body language – THIS ONE IS HUGE. Don’t sulk, shake your head, or slap your stick if you make a mistake. If you fall, get up quick, get back in line fast, and consider it a “fluke” that won’t happen again.

Doing the things mentioned in parts 1, 2, and 3 in this series will give you a great chance at cracking the roster of the teams you’re trying out for. These are the things most good coaches are looking for. And remember, STAY CLASSY, even if you don’t make the team. Thank the coach for the opportunity to try out, and ask him or her for some constructive feedback for things to work on moving forward. The hockey community is small, and paths cross a lot over time. Don’t burn bridges. Ever.

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