I’ve been working a lot of tryout prep clinics to help players get ready for the 2021-2022 club tryouts at Cobb Atlanta Juniors. I worked 8 hours this week and 8 hours the previous week. During this time, I have worked with about 50+ players who are training to show their best when tryouts finally arrive.
Some of these players are trying out for Elite, some Travel, and the rest are trying out for either ATL or Premier.
This will be my third season coaching 15-1 ATL. This means I am either a 3s team or a 4s team depending on how many Travel teams are formed ahead of me. All of our tournaments are within an hour drive of Atlanta. But being a 3s or 4s team doesn’t mean we are less competitive than the teams ahead of us. We may not get the elite athletes that the 1s team may get but ATL players are just as passionate and competitive as many of the elite athletes. Last year, we scrimmaged the 1s team twice and split sets with them both times.
Last season is when I actually started scouting for this season. I was intentional about watching the 14s teams play and building relationships with them throughout the season. That has paid off for me during these tryout preps. It means that I am not starting from scratch when having conversations with players about this upcoming season. I actually entered into this preseason with about 10 players on my watch list and that has been extended to about 22 players going into the last week or tryout preps.
After the first week of tryout preps, I talked to about 8 players after the sessions, gave them words of encouragement, told them what I would be looking for at tryouts and told them that I looked forward to working with them over the next few weeks leading up to tryouts. I also made sure to communicate that I could not make any promises when it came to picking my team. While I see the potential in each of them, I never know who is actually going to show up at tryouts. Every year, there are players who come to tryouts who I’ve never seen play before and they impress me.
With each tryout prep, I have been intentional about touching base with each of the players on my watch list. When they first arrive I would say “Hey! Glad you’re here tonight!”. I was also intentional about giving them feedback during the clinics to see how they would respond to my coaching.
I have been really impressed with so many of the players coming to these clinics and I wish I could take all of them on my team but I only have 11 spots and it’s tough considering how much I have invested in these players during tryout preps and how much effort they have given me as a coach. But I know each player will land where they need to be and that they will receive great coaching.