Club tryout procedure is a hot topic during this time of year as the club season gets underway. Every club has its own unique way of running a tryout and selecting teams, so we took a closer look. JVA reached out to several club directors and asked what their team selection procedures are and why.
The major factor was whether a club falls into one of these two categories:
1) Team selections are determined on-site at the tryout
2) Team selections are determined a few weeks into practice after selecting a core group at tryouts
Club Fusion’s Mike Bui (Chicago, IL) shared that his club selects a core group of players, does a two-week evaluation period, and then places athletes onto specific teams. He noted that some girls might have an awesome tryout or they could be having an off-day, and allowing the players to show their skill level over a two-week period makes for more accurate team placement.
This method seems to work at Fusion but is not the best fit at every club for a variety of different reasons. Let’s take a look at the feedback from club directors that offer players a spot on a team at tryouts.
Milwaukee Sting team selections are determined on-site at tryouts. The coaches, staff and Board all agree that they would rather not have to do this. One factor that drives this decision is that Milwaukee is a large metropolis area with a variety of clubs, all of whom give team offers right away. Also, Milwaukee Sting is unable to lockdown a site to hold tryouts on the first legal day that tryouts can be held. By the time tryouts are held, many kids already have offers from the competing clubs in the area. However, Sting’s 10’s and 11’s teams are not formed until January once the girls have had a chance to develop their skills.
Munciana Volleyball (Muncie, IN), the co-host of the JVA Rock n Rumble in Cleveland, carries out a three day tryout and then selects teams right away. Co-Club Director Wes Lyon believes that having players go through a few weeks of practice is intriguing, but doubts it would affect many placements. Lyon states “in today’s world of instant gratification, extended tryouts could be a tough sell in many parts of the country.”
Similarly, A5 Volleyball (Atlanta, GA) Executive Director Michael Fletcher recognizes the merits to selecting teams after some amount of training, but offered a list of reasons why his club selects teams right away. His first reason is that athletes and their families typically want to know who is on their team as a part of the process of committing to a club. Fletcher also explained that some players prefer to play on a different club’s “1” team rather than accepting a spot on A5’s “4” or “5” team. Team bonding begins immediately at A5, so the sooner the teams are selected, the more bonding. Fletcher said that perhaps most important on his list of reasons is that A5 doesn’t think the parents in his area are ready for such a draconian change to tryout protocol. Michael’s last words to me: “for us, the tryout process ain’t broke, so we ain’t gonna fix it.”