Trials & Tryouts - Part 2


On The Day - Create A Welcoming Environment

This can be achieved by having coaches, parents or volunteers placed at the entrance of a trial event to welcome the players and parents, to provide them with information on logistics of the trial and to put the players at ease by talking to them and being open and approachable.

If a specific individual has been invited to trial for your team, I would recommend having a point of contact to meet the player and their parent when they arrive. There is nothing worse than a player making the effort to come and trial for your team to then be greeted by blank faces unaware that they were invited to trial.

Trial Sessions

When running trial events, the practices and conditions that you place players in will determine how they play and what skills they display to the coaches. The following 4 practices will allow players to demonstrate their abilities across all phases of the game; attacking (in possession), defending (out of possession), positive transition (winning the ball) and negative transition (losing the ball).

Possession Practice

Set Up:

Area 44x30 with 5 v 5 in the middle area and a target player (T) for each team at either end of the area. Team in possession attempts to play from one target player to the opposite target player to score a goal. When a team scores a goal, the direction is changed and the team maintains possession and attempts to play the opposite way, giving directional flow to the session.

Target players cannot play directly across to their opposite target player, as teams must combine and maintain possession to play through the area. When a target player receives a pass, they rotate roles with the teammate that passed to them, with the receiving player coming on to the pitch via a pass or a dribble.

Assessing Players:

This possession practice will allow players to demonstrate a number of key skills in the four phases of the game;

- Attacking & Positive Transition

Passing and receiving skills, game awareness, movements off the ball to create or exploit space, playing under pressure, combination play.

- Defending & Negative Transition

Pressing as a team, tracking runners, defending as a unit, individual defending skills, making play compact/predictable.

1 V 1 To Goal Practice

Set Up:

Area 30x18 with a goal and a goalkeeper at both ends. Defender (D) starts with the ball and plays a pass across the area to the Attacker (A). The attacker attempts to beat the defender to score in the goal. If the defender wins possession, they can score in the opposite goal. Play continues until a goal is scored and the players then join the opposite group, with the attacker becoming a defender and vice versa.

Assessing Players:

This practice puts players in a scenario where they can dominate 1 v 1 in both attack and defence. The set up also allows for Goalkeepers to be assessed;

- Attacking & Positive Transition

Dribbling skills, ball manipulation, spatial awareness, finishing skills, goalkeeper distribution

- Defending & Negative Transition

Defending as an individual, recognising pressing cues, tackling, recovery runs, shot-stopping.

2 V 2 To Goal Practice

Set Up:

Area 30x18 with goal and a goalkeeper at either end. One of the Defender’s (D) starts with the ball and plays a pass across the area to one of the Attackers (A). 2 x attackers attempt to beat 2 x defenders to score in the goal. If the defenders win possession, they can score in the opposite goal. Play continues until a goal is scored and the players then join the opposite group, with the attackers becoming defenders and vice versa.

Assessing Players:

This practice now puts players in a 2 v 2 scenario where the attackers and defenders must work together across all phases of the game. The set up again also allows for Goalkeepers to be assessed;

- Attacking & Positive Transition

Dribbling skills, passing and receiving skills, movement to create and exploit space, ball manipulation, spatial awareness, finishing skills, combination play, goalkeeper distribution.

- Defending & Negative Transition

Defending as an individual, defending as a unit, recognising pressing cues, interceptions and tackling, recovery runs, shot-stopping, communication, when to press and when to cover.

Games

A vital part of any trial is assessing players in the appropriate game format. The 1 v 1, 2 v 2 and possession practices isolate key skills required in soccer however it is the game itself where the players must apply these skills so decision making of when, where and how to execute skills now take precedent.

Alternatively, the performance within a game should not exclusively determine a coaches decision on whether a player is suitable for the team or not. All factors from the trials event, as well as what you already know about the player and their prior experiences, should be taken into account and if a coach is ever in any doubt it does no harm to invite a player back in for a second tryout.

Player/Parent Feedback

If a player has taken the time to come and play for you, you can safely assume that they are serious about their game. Therefore, the least we can do is give them constructive feedback and advice that can support their development.

We’ve all heard the generic feedback to parents and players along the lines of “she isn't for us”, “you are not what we are looking for right now” or “he is a good player but is not better than what we have already got”. Our remit, as coaches, is to improve the performance of players. So instead of being generic, make sure you give your trialists concise technical feedback that motivates them to keep playing the game and to continue learning.

Also, don’t be afraid to suggest them to another club if you feel they might be more suited to a different philosophy.

Summary

By being organised, welcoming and setting up practices that link into the club’s style of play, players will be more at ease during the tryout period and can hopefully perform to their abilities. Coaches will also have a clear model on what they are looking for from the trialists and be able to communicate this and any decisions to players and parents.

#Trials

KINDERGARTEN & TEAM REGISTRATION