This year I had the privilege and opportunity to lead youth tryouts for several programs in the metro area of Minnesota. It’s always a unique time of the year for players and this year opened my eyes to some of the challenges young players face. Some I had faced myself years ago but had forgotten. My team of evaluators and I wanted to focus on doing things differently this year. After completing two rounds of tryouts for several programs we saw the fruits of those changes.
Anxiety, stress, and worrying were things I dealt with as a young player trying to make a travel or high school team. I bet you’re nodding your head in agreement reading this right now! For whatever reason I had forgotten how debilitating those feelings were for me. Knowing this I had to ask myself what I could do to limit this for the players I encountered this tryout season.
I jumped on Google and read this short but sweet article on handling sports anxiety. The article talks about identifying what makes athletes anxious, and then normalizing that anxiety in a good way. These two things are followed up by forging a game plan, remembering to breathe, and staying positive through it all.
You may be asking yourself what the results were for me, the feedback from parents and organizers was that we were able to get the most out of the kids. The athletes were happy with themselves because they showed up as the best version of themselves. We challenged them but made them feel comfortable and confident.
I’ve applied this to my own life and to be honest it's helped. The cool thing about hoops is that it translates so well into ordinary life situations. This helped me without a doubt and I bet it will help you!