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Evaluation Process: What Do Coaches Look For in Players?

Tryouts are a crucial phase in the world of sports. Whether it’s for a school team, club, or professional organization, coaches rely on this process to assess and select players who will contribute to the team’s success. But what criteria do coaches use to evaluate players during tryouts? Let’s delve into the key aspects coaches consider when assessing potential team members, providing valuable insights into the evaluation process.

Skill Proficiency 

At the heart of player evaluation lies the assessment of skill proficiency. Coaches carefully observe players’ technical abilities, such as passing, shooting, dribbling, tackling, or serving, depending on the sport. They look for solid fundamentals, precision, and consistency in execution. Additionally, coaches analyze players’ tactical understanding, decision-making skills, and game awareness. A player who demonstrates a high level of technical proficiency and can make smart decisions on the field stands out during tryouts.

Physical Attributes 

Physical attributes play a significant role in a player’s evaluation. Coaches consider factors such as speed, agility, strength, endurance, and coordination. These attributes are sport-specific, as certain sports may prioritize different physical traits. For example, in basketball, height and vertical leap might be crucial, while soccer may emphasize speed and agility. Coaches assess players’ physical capabilities to determine if they have the potential to excel in the specific sport and position. However, it is important to note that coaches also recognize that physical attributes can be developed and improved over time with proper training.

Work Ethic and Attitude 

Coaches evaluate a player’s work ethic and attitude during tryouts to determine their commitment, coachability, and overall character. They observe how players respond to instructions, how they interact with teammates, and their level of discipline and dedication. A positive attitude, willingness to learn, and a strong work ethic are qualities highly valued by coaches. Players who demonstrate a growth mindset, resilience, and a team-oriented mentality are more likely to make a positive impression during tryouts.

Game Awareness and Intelligence 

In team sports, game awareness and intelligence are crucial attributes. Coaches evaluate players’ ability to read the game, anticipate situations, and make effective decisions under pressure. This includes understanding the flow of the game, positioning, and the ability to create scoring opportunities or make crucial defensive plays. Players who exhibit strategic thinking, good communication, and a high soccer IQ, for instance, are more likely to catch the attention of coaches during tryouts.

Competitive Spirit and Performance Under Pressure

Competitive spirit and the ability to perform under pressure are essential for success in sports. Coaches pay close attention to how players handle high-pressure situations, whether during drills, small-sided games, or full scrimmages. The ability to maintain composure, execute skills, and make sound decisions when faced with challenging scenarios is highly valued. Players who thrive in competitive environments, display a hunger to win, and demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity stand out during tryouts.

The evaluation process during tryouts is multi-faceted, as coaches assess players across various dimensions. Skill proficiency, physical attributes, work ethic, attitude, game awareness, and competitive spirit are all important factors considered by coaches when making their selections. It is crucial for players to showcase their best abilities, while also displaying qualities that make them valuable team members. Understanding the evaluation criteria can help players prepare effectively for tryouts and increase their chances of making a lasting impression.

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About the author: 

Amy Masters is a sports mom, coach and club administrator. She has been coaching youth sports for more than  10 years. She started Jr Lions Field Hockey, the youth recreation program for the Hunterdon County community growing it from 40 players in year 1 to 150 players by year 3. A few years later, she saw the love and competitiveness grow then started Omega Field Hockey Club serving NJ and PA players. Prior to coaching, she was a collegiate field hockey player for Lock Haven University. In her spare time (lol), she is head of marketing for iSport360, where she brings her love of sports to a bigger audience.

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August 16, 2023

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