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Tips For Choosing The Right Travel Team

"If you look at any superior athlete, you will find a strong parental influence. Parents introduce their children to sport, and then they support them."

- Ivan Lendl

Trying out for competitive teams: Part 6.2

Trying out for a competitive team, be it your local community team, a travel team, or a national team, is a stressful experience. For athletes trying out for youth and high school sports, it can be incredibly stressful for parents as well.

As part of the tryout process, it’s up to you as a parent to do your homework. It’s important to gather as much information as possible before deciding to have your child tryout and play for a team. As mentioned in an earlier post, don’t contact a coach and lobby for your child.

Tips for choosing the right teams to tryout for:

It takes a village to develop an athlete. Especially in youth and high school sports. Parents are the planners, drive their athlete to games and practices, and are their main support system. So, it’s important to communicate with parents.

Good coaches have clear expectations for parents, and understand that a partnership is needed to best support the athlete.

It’s also important for parents to volunteer. Be it a score or time keep at games, snack logistics, carpool, team tent at tournaments, game set up, ect.... a coach can’t do it all, so be willing to volunteer your time.

Sample questions:

a. What are your expectations for parents?

b. How can parents volunteer?

As parents, it’s important to empower your kids to communicate directly with their coach. However, if a coach expects an athlete to arrive early to a game, it’s good to let the parents know.

On competitive teams, playing time tends to be earned. It can also be taken away if rules are not followed and expectations met.

Sample questions:

i. How do players earn playing time?

ii. How do they lose playing time?

Consistency is important. Does the coach play favorites and does he bend the rules for some athletes?

If they try hard, have a good attitude, are coachable, and are good leaders, then yes they do.

In the end, you want to know if your athlete will get better by being on this team, are the rules and expectations fair and consistent, are parents part of the process, and will your athlete contribute to the team.

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