For many students, back to school means more than just returning to the classroom. For those who hope to be student athletes, it’s time to make that first impression and work to secure your spot on a team.
Tryouts for some fall season teams might already have been held during the summer, but there are some teams that won’t conduct tryouts until after the start of school. For instance, most high school baseball programs have at least a preliminary tryout during the fall because of the weather, even though the season won’t start until spring.
Playing a sport in school is a great way to add to the school experience — plus give your child something to add to that college resume. Being on a team helps give children an easy path to making friends and finding their niche, not to mention set a foundation for a lifestyle of health and fitness.
Among some of the sports that traditionally begin in the fall are swimming, football, volleyball, cross-country, soccer, bowling, golf and fencing. Besides baseball, teams that most likely will stage tryouts during the fall are those that take place during the winter, such as gymnastics, wrestling and basketball.
The larger the number of students who try out for a team, the more difficult it probably will be to make the final cut. Here are some pointers to give your child a leg up on making a team:
- Make sure your child sees the doctor for a physical examination. That will surely be a requirement for being on a team. Get it out of the way early. See if your child’s school offers these exams on site.
- Find out when tryouts are being held. If your child misses tryouts, that’s the first sign to a coach that his or her dedication is lacking and will certainly be considered. Your child should be proactive and seek out when and where tryouts will be held. If there are no announcements, he or she should go directly to the athletic director’s office for information.
- Be punctual. If a tryout is scheduled for 10 a.m. on a Saturday, your child should not be sauntering in at 10:05. Arrive at the tryout site at least 15 minutes before they are scheduled to begin in order to be ready to participate at the scheduled starting time. Anyone who fails to do this will delay the session and that is not a good way to impress the coaching staff.
- Look like an athlete. Don’t wear jeans or collared shirts to a sports tryout. Make sure to dress for the sport you hope to play, right down to the footwear, and bring the proper equipment. The school will supply some items, like soccer balls, for instance, but your child should not expect to borrow a potential teammate’s golf club. And with wood baseball bats now mandated, your child should have his own. If he borrows someone else’s and it breaks, you should be prepared to replace it.
- Attitude counts. Being attentive to the coach’s instructions and making sure not to disrupt the tryout are important. Showing hustle and a solid work ethic are qualities coaches appreciate. Advising your child to treat the tryout with the seriousness it deserves can make or break his or her goal of making the team.
Best of luck to all the young athletes who try out. Have a great season — or seasons!
Local sportswriter Joe LoVerde coached youth sports on Staten Island for nearly 40 years. He’s now joined by his son, Mike, sandlot baseball player on the Island and a senior at Lyndon State College in Vermont, where he’s on the baseball team and majors in Electronic Journalism Arts.