It’s that time of year again! Even though it still feels like winter some days, spring is here and that means lacrosse tryouts. Whether you are the leading returning scorer on your varsity team and looking to prove your leadership skills, or the new freshman just hoping to make the JV squad, tryouts are an opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and set the tone for your entire season. The key to having a good tryout lies in preparing yourself physically beforehand, and focusing on what you can control during the tryout.

Physical Preparation

The best way to ensure you’re ready is to make sure you are in shape for the physical demands of tryouts. Being in good shape will not only allow you to feel confident and play your best, but it will also minimize the chances of injury, allowing you to fully participate in all team activities. Everyone knows that when you are out of shape and tired, your physical skills decline and your confidence suffers. Put yourself in the best position to play well and impress your coaches by showing up in shape when tryouts start.

Control What You Can

As an athlete, there will always be things outside your control: your opponents, the officials, the weather, your playing time, even the position you play. It’s important to focus on what you can control, and not waste time and energy worrying about the things outside of your control.

Positive Attitude – You control your own attitude. Every practice and every game represents your opportunity to make a choice to be positive and enthusiastic about your participation in sport. A positive attitude is contagious and is something your coaches will notice. It will also make you the kind of player that your teammates want to be around. Find the silver lining, even when something negative happens. How you respond to adversity says a lot about who you are, so think about how you will respond when it happens to you.

Work Ethic – No one can outwork you without your consent. You decide whether you give 100% effort or something less than your best. Coaches always notice players who work hard, and lead by example. In all my years of coaching, I have never seen or heard of an athlete getting in trouble for working too hard. Play to the whistle, jog on and off the field, be the first person in line for drills, and be the last person to leave practice.

Intensity/Competitiveness – It’s not enough to work hard and have a good attitude. You need to play scrappy and let your intensity show. Competitiveness matters to coaches. They want players who care whether they win or lose and competing hard in practice is the best way to show that you are that kind of player. Not only does playing with intensity elevate your game, it also forces your teammates to raise theirs, and that’s good for the team.

Team Spirit – Be a good teammate. Let me repeat that – Be. A. Good. Teammate. It’s one of the most important characteristics an athlete can have. Support your teammates, don’t belittle them. Respect your teammates, don’t gossip about them. Encourage your teammates, don’t mock them. There is not a coach on the planet who won’t have a spot on their roster for someone who is a great teammate and makes their team chemistry better. Whether you are the star player or the new kid on the block, you’re an important part of the team and you have the power to make your team comradery better or worse.

Remember that tryouts are the start of a new season. Starting off strong with a good tryout makes it more likely that you will have a good year. There are no guarantees in sport, and you can’t control everything. Expend your energy focusing on what you have the power to control. Stay positive, work hard, compete to earn your spot, and be the best teammate you can be. If you do all that, good things will happen for you on the field and in life.