Soccer Tryout Tips

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Coaches of competitive soccer -- such as travel, high school and college teams -- require you to do well at a tryout to make the cut. The coaches plan a mix of ball-control exercises, timed runs and measured jumps, small-sided games and a full-field scrimmage, often over several days. Preparation can give you the best chance at doing well at your tryout.

Be Prepared Tactically

Make soccer a part of your daily routine long before the tryout. Find 30 minutes a day to work with the soccer ball, recommends Vince Ganzberg, Lawrence Academy Soccer League director. Juggle the ball in your backyard, dribble with your dog as a defender and play pickup games with friends, he suggests, or do the wall drill: passing, volleying and heading the ball against a sturdy wall. Work on your shooting, ideally against a buddy who can play goalkeeper. If you are trying out as a goalkeeper, work on your ball distribution on goal kicks and throws by playing in as many league games as possible.

Be Prepared Physically

Play as much soccer, in formal leagues or informal pickup games, as you can fit in to improve your endurance and speed. Arrive at the tryout after a good night’s sleep. Avoid junk food ideally all the time, but especially on the day of the tryout. Have a meal three to four hours before and a light snack an hour before the tryout. Drink enough water to be hydrated, and take bottled water with you to the tryout.

Be Prepared Mentally

Be ready to play in small-sided games of 6v6 players -- again, pickup games can provide invaluable preparation for this format -- as well as a full squad of 11 players. You may be assigned to perform drills to test your competitiveness, such as 1v1 games. At tryouts, all players make mistakes. If this happens to you, take a deep breath and forget about it. Use the next play to settle down and make a simple pass, Ganzberg suggests.

Be Flexible

Show your versatility by agreeing to play anywhere on the field. Avoid telling the coaching staff running the tryout that you only play in goal or on offense. Focus more on how you are playing than where you are playing. Try to make good attacking decisions if you are placed up front and apply pressure on defense if you are assigned to the back.

Be Positive

Display a positive attitude; you can be sure that coaches are looking for character as well as skill. Coaches might choose players with average skills and a great attitude, because players can improve their skills with practice. A player with good skills and a bad attitude, however, is difficult to change.

Let Your Light Shine

Let yourself smile if you love playing soccer. Show your ability to dribble without being a ball hog. Whatever your strength is -- athleticism, soccer smarts, persistence, good positioning, leadership -- showcase it at the tryout. Try doggedly to win 50-50 balls. If you are in goal, show your courage and fearlessness.