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Unpacking Tryouts

You want to make a team.

It doesn’t happen.

What does it mean? Does it have meaning?

Let’s try to unpack what not making a team after a tryout means.

  1. It means that a particular series of connections will not be made. However, you do not know if those connections will be positive or negative for your child.

  2. Maybe your child is not as good as you think. Are you capable of evaluating your child’s skill level and are you aware of the coaches needs for the team? Try asking.

  3. The possibility that your child is not as good as they think they are is a difficult proposition to confront. The first response is often “the coach is attacking me and is evil” or “the coach is an idiot” etc.

  4. The next layer of questions the child will confront are equally as important. TYPES OF QUESTIONS: Do I not know what I thought I did? Am I not who I think I am? Am I not working hard enough? Do I misuse my time? Am I playing the wrong sport?

  5. An even more important question to ask. Is your child trying out for the A team or fighting for more playing time because of the parent? Is the dynamic surrounding the child’s soccer experience dysfunctional?

  6. If your child is acting out the parents dreams for them, resentment will emerge. The parent will spend a lot of money and the child might choose to fail on purpose. Further, they might partially fail and layer their resentment on top of each non-soccer interaction, further straining the parent-child relationship.

  7. When your child wants to make a team and does not, the easiest thing to do is to quit and be resentful. The problem with quitting is that they don’t take positive steps to improve. Soccer is an analog for life. Helping the child manage emotions in this situation requires a skilled practitioner.

  8. For some kids, it is best to quit. Some (children/parents) cannot handle life’s setbacks. This parent usually ruins their relationship with their child.

  9. For some children, not making the team IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY NEED to re-assess, focus etc. They realize that they aren’t as good as they think, but that fact motivates them. For this kid, not making the team is the greatest gift.

  10. Most of our kids live in a bubble. They live in a semi-frictionless world and when disappointment crashes into their frame of existence…...their character is tested. The parent’s character is tested also.


  1. When you don’t make the team, don’t connect the setback to your self-worth.

  2. Evaluate which specific areas of the game you need to improve. These things are often manageable. The reasons you were cut aren’t as gargantuan as you think.

  3. Establish micro-routines. Add 10-20 minutes of additional training to your regimen per day or every other day. Watch one professional soccer game every two weeks. Etc.…

  4. Find the micro-routine that works for you…...

  5. PARENTS – please, please, please get professional help for children that fall into severe depression as a result of not making a team.

  6. Ask the coach or evaluators for a list of items you must work on.

  7. Find a high-level trainer to give you a list of tasks that will help you improve on the list given by the coach.

  8. Find a mentor or friend that is doing or has done what you wish to accomplish and pay attention to their routines.

  9. Parents – Do not blame the coach or evaluators if your child does not make the team. It is lazy and low-resolution thinking. Use the experience to help your child learn more about themselves and manage their emotions when setbacks occur.