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With school back in session and new demands on your time, you may find it difficult competing for a spot on a school or club sports team. There’s nothing more intimidating than showing off your skills while coaches and trainers shout instructions and make notes on a clipboard. For most athletes, tryouts are a fact of life – so here are some tips for making the team.

Be In Shape
In order to try out for a sports team, you have to prepare yourself mentally & physically. Hopefully, you worked on weight training and speed training during the summer. If you’re physically fit and well rested you’ll have a better chance of making the cut. Get at least eight hours sleep the night before try-outs or practice and make sure you’ve had a high-energy meal before you head to training.

Be Prepared
If your school offers clinics or camps, try to attend them so you get a chance to work with the coaches first hand.

Be Reasonable
Don’t think you can make the varsity squad just because you were one of the best players at the park. Check out the level of competition and be reasonable in your expectations. Your best friend who played six seasons of competitive soccer might be ready to play varsity but you may be better suited for JV, intramural or recreational play.

Make sure you take in plenty of fluids so you don’t dehydrate. Work hard but if you’re too hot or feeling queasy, tell your coach and take a rest. Taking a break is not going to hurt your chances as much as puking or passing out on the field will.

Have No Fear
Don’t worry about being cut or sitting on the bench – that’ll just distract you. You’ll do much better if you relax and have a good time. Just try your best and forget about what the final roster will look like.

Don’t Whine
There’s nothing coaches hate more than a whiner. Taking a break is cool – but don’t go on-and-on about how tired you are, or about how no one is passing you the ball. Buck up and don’t snivel.

Have a Positive Attitude
If your coach asks you to play a position you don’t usually play – just do it. It’ll show that you’re a well-rounded, team player. If you’ve never played that position, and haven’t got a clue what to do, let the coach know while showing you’re eager to give it a try. Get a clear idea of what’s expected and do it.

Show Your Stuff
If you’ve got game, don’t be afraid to show it. But don’t be too much of a ball hog or a show-off unless you’re able to score on 100% of your shots. And involve the other players. You’ll get to know them better and they’ll warm up to you as a possible teammate.

Communicate with the other girls on the squad. Even if it’s just a “here!” as you pass them the ball. Communication is very important. If you are talking and setting things up, involving your teammates, coaches will pay attention. Off the field, talk to the other girls and be as friendly as possible. Coaches look for personality and chemistry.

Push Yourself
Never quit! No matter how much you’re hurting or your body is telling you to stop (unless of course you’re throwing up, seeing spots, feeling like blacking out, or pulled a muscle).If you’re not on the ground on a respirator or being attended to by a trainer or EMT, you can keep going. When you think about quitting, go one more minute. Then when you think about quitting after that, go one more minute. Repeat over and over until you’re done with your workout. Endurance is 70% in the head, and 30% fitness.

What If I Get Cut?
If you don’t make the team don’t sweat it. It’s not the end of the world. It happens to a lot of people. Even Michael Jordan was cut from his junior high basketball team. Just because you don’t make the cut, it doesn’t mean you should stop playing sports. You can always find another place to play – like a drop-in centre – or try another sport. Be positive, work hard and you’ll increase your chances of making the team next year.

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