I have a question for anyone who has ever run a descent tryout, actually it's a few questions.
Our team (U of Maryland) is holding our tryout this Tuesday the 19th and we're expecting in excess of 50 people to show up. Our leadership has had some disputes as to how to judge the tryout, how to keep track of everyone during the tryout, and who should judge the tryout.
So, I ask anyone with the pertinent knowledge, what is the best way to keep track of everyone? We are making everyone come to the tryout wearing a "numbered hockey jersey" and an idea was to make everyone register with their name, jersey color and number and some other specific information before stepping on the rink. Is there anything better we can do on short notice since the tryout is in 4 days?
What is the best way to judge the tryout? Should we score people on their skating ability, shooting, passing, stickhandling, etc.? Or should we just eyeball it and write down the names of those who we feel should make the team during the tryout and why, and then discuss it afterwards?
Finally, who should judge it? Should it be a mix of club leadership, coaches and outside people? just outside people? Just club leadership and coaches? Thanks for your help.
Penn State and Michigan State have excellent tryouts. Talk to them.
I recommend bringing in a handful of experienced individuals for judging with a tryout size of that degree. Make sure that they are non-skaters that will watch from outside of the rink and will not cause a distraction to those trying-out. My second opinion is that the tryout will be impossible to do successfully in one evening skate. Beyond skills, the squad will only be successful with players willing to make a committment to the team. Often you will find some of the best players are the same people who do not attend team practices or functions, but somehow have perfect attendance at games. These people will end up hurting your team. If possible, try holding a tryout emphasizing general skills, a tryout scrimmage, a conditioning event, and have them fill out a sign-up form with their background information. This is how many of the higher level ice hockey organiztions conduct their selection process. You often send in a form that allows them to get a feel for your experience level before you step onto the rink. You then take part in an event, whter a social or conditioing practice, to find out how the players interact with each other off the rink. I have had great experience conducting a tryout in this manner, although I only deal with about 35 players.
Travis is right. Have the players fill out a little something with there background on it just to give you some idea of what they are all about. That way you will have some idea of who you really need to keep an eye on. As far as drills go, 3 on 2's, 2 on 1's, a few cone drills forward and backward, and then a short scrimmage usually does the trick. Often for a tryout of that size 2 sessions will do the trick. Good luck this season.
There are several ways to judge hockey players, but there are several key things to keep in mind.
The most important person to be judging and cutting players is the coach. The coach knows what kind of hockey he/she wants the team to play.
Look for strong fundamentals. If a player lacks important fundamentals, they will not get much better. For example, players that stare at the puck when they stickhandle don't usually pass well. Players that shoot with their head down, a VERY common mistake, won't score well. Players that can pass well usually do well in roller hockey. Take a player with strong passing skills and a weaker shot over a shooter that can't pass.
Fill roles. Don't just look for goal scorers. A good team has players that do specific jobs and play a role. If your defensemen can all score goals, but can't stop a 1 on 1, they are going to get lit up against good teams. If you pick up an orr-wannabe defensemen, you better have a solid stay-home guy to pair him with.
Look for roller hockey players. Ice hockey players have similar skills, but playing roller hockey is much different than ice hockey. Players that will slow down the play and set something up are very very valuable. Players that can control the puck leads to a team that controls the game.
Weed out weak skaters early. Start tryouts with skating, stopping, cross-overs, and other basics. Players that cannot do the basics well should be eliminated early. "Thin the herd". It makes it much easier to make decisions about the better players.
Have a person or two help the coach evaluate the team. Pointing out strengths and weakness that are somewhat obvious helps the coach focus on the closer decisions.
We've had close to 100 skaters at a tryout. Trying to keep track of all of them is difficult. Split players up into groups or heats. We separated by color (we provided jerseys). Have a sheet for each group with their numbers on it. Depending on the number of skaters, you might want to hold the session over 2 or more days. Cross off players immediately when you have decided that they will not make it.
Be sure to start with a very strong, organized first impression. This will set the tone for the entire season. Be serious. Work the skaters hard. Players that have done nothing all summer will make themselves noticed if you make them skate. Players that do not do every drill hard at tryouts, will certainly not skate hard in practice.
Scrimmages are the best way to evaluate players game-time qualities. Look for puck movement. Scream for puck movement. Point out some of the border-line guys and match them up with veterans. Play them against other border-line and veteran guys. See how they work with more experienced players.
And near the end of the first day, skate them hard. Very hard. We focus on fundamentals, a short scrimmage, and then (in the words of Coach Tremblay) "We skate 'til someone puke". And we do, and someone does.
I hope some of this helps. If you have any more questions, contact current MSU Chairman Mike Mackert at [email protected]
Thanks everyone. The tryout is set for tomorrow night, I just hope that it all runs according to plan....last year's went well, but it'll be nothing like the turnout this year.
I thought you graduated from Maryland last year?
VP of GMURHC
Got scared there for a sec, thinking I'd be back to personally spoil GMU's season or something? Just kidding. Yes, I graduated, I'm going to help out as an assistant coach this year. See you at the tournys.