It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble when conducting youth sports tryouts. Your club is so focused on getting players registered, evaluated, and placed on teams that it’s difficult to take a step back and assess if there are improvements your organization should be making.
This is where an outside perspective can help. At TeamGenius, we’ve assisted clubs from various sports and sizes through common issues to make their tryouts more efficient.
Using our own experiences and knowledge we’ve learned from other clubs, we’ve compiled this list of youth sports tryout tips to help your organization improve its tryouts process.
1. Organize the Check-In Table and Process
When parents and players arrive at tryouts, their first impression is often of the check-in or registration table. Because of this, it’s important to make sure the check-in table itself is organized and that the lines are short.
Staff members who are running registration should have player information organized and readily accessible. To make the check-in process quicker, clubs who are using player evaluation software can enter player information into the application prior to tryouts. This allows staff members to simply mark players present instead of having to enter all of their information during the event.
Another way to trim time is to pre-assign athlete tryout numbers. This allows clubs to have bibs organized and numbers entered into the evaluation forms prior to tryouts.
Clubs should also be prepared to handle walk-up athletes on the day of tryouts. Having a plan in place for how to deal with players who didn’t previously register will help tryouts run smoother.
2. Standardize Your Scoring Criteria
TeamGenius recommends clubs standardize their athlete scoring criteria prior to tryouts. There are many advantages to having standardized scoring criteria, including:
- Ensures all Athletes are Scored on the Same Criteria: A set grading system helps ensure that evaluators are scoring players based on the same guidelines. [Click here for more info on setting criteria.]
- Allows Data to be Quickly Compiled after Tryouts: Having standardized scoring criteria assures clubs that all player scores are in the same format. This allows organizations to easily export athlete grades, compare the results and rank players.
- Allows you to Quickly Form Teams: Having data available quickly allows clubs to easily form teams. With rankings and grades readily available, organizations can form rosters with ease.
- Minimize Court, Field, and Ice Time: Using a standardized scoring system can reduce the overall time of tryouts. This lets clubs reserve facilities for less time, which can save money.
- Reduces Number of Volunteer Hours Needed: Speeding up the scoring and team formation process also requires less time put in by volunteers. This can allow clubs to use volunteer hours in other ways or send volunteers home early.
3. Train Coaches and Evaluators on Scoring Criteria
To ensure scoring criteria is used correctly, TeamGenius suggests training all coaches and evaluators on the grading system prior to tryouts. This gives clubs time to show each evaluator and coach what scoring system should be used, what criteria to look for, and what constitutes each grade. This will help ensure athletes are all scored fairly. Find additional find on how to prepare your evaluators for tryouts here.
4. Keep Players’ Scores Organized and Accessible
Another youth sports tryout tip we recommend is to organize athlete tryout scores so they are easily accessible. For clubs using player evaluation software, athlete scores can be stored in the application. Clubs who use paper forms should ensure they have an organized filing system. Keeping these scores on-hand will help in multiple ways. For one, it allows clubs to have information to refer to if parents question a player’s team placement. Keeping athlete scores will also allow clubs to provide athletes with feedback on what they need to improve on for next year’s tryouts.
5. Communicate the Tryouts Process to Parents
To keep parents in the loop, and to reduce the number of phone calls from families, TeamGenius recommends that clubs fully communicate the tryouts process to parents. This should include:
- When they can expect registration information
- Registration fees and deadlines
- Tryouts information
- When tryout results and roster information will be shared
- How athletes will learn of their team placements
- Where parents can look for team information, including schedules and contact information
6. Evaluate What Went Well and What Didn’t Soon After Tryouts
Tryouts are a busy time for clubs. During the chaos of evaluations and team formations, clubs might lose track of what worked for tryouts and what needs to be improved on for next year. To prevent this, TeamGenius suggests holding a full review and assessment of evaluations soon after tryouts. This gives staff members a chance to reflect on tryouts while the event is still fresh in their minds. It also provides plenty of time to make changes before next year’s tryouts.