Coach Toby Rappolt and I often talk about the futility of assessment. Take your roster and force-rank them from first to best. Take that list out a month later and won’t be accurate. Young players are so malleable, their moods change, they grow. They learn to run and forget how again. The bad players come to ten practices in a row and figure it out, while the good players miss a week or two and stagnate.
This makes tryouts a tough time. Just because a boy looks good today, it doesn’t mean it’s a permanent condition. And yet we have to choose.
Going through the process, I decided there are two things that will make a difference if a player wants to make a travel team:
Play on a good team. Players on a quality team train against better players, which makes them improve. They progress faster. Like being on an express train vs. a local, the gap gets wider over time. So while it’s feasible in theory for a kid to play Upper House and then make the travel team, in practice it’s unlikely because of the higher demands, especially the speed of thought required. It’s a pace you don’t see anywhere else.
Second, passion is a differentiator. The more you play, the more you will improve. To really separate from the crowd, players should ask themselves, do I make 100% of all practices? Games? Do I play all through the year? Do I like this sport so much, I ask to play all summer long in leagues and camps? Do I train on the days my team does not? Do I watch games on TV, do I find clips on YouTube? Do I improve my fitness by running extra, cross training and lifting weights?
While it’s hard to make picks for the Vikings travel team, a truly great player usually stands out from the early days:
P.S. Several of my players missed practice on Wednesday due to their school performance of Macbeth, hence the title.