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Coping With cuts


By Tony DiCicco

 

The most difficult part of coaching isn't dealing with losses, it's cutting or rejecting people from the team. It's not just a simple matter of reducing numbers, it's a matter of making decisions that in essence short-circuit the dreams of players. I don't think there's any coach, either at the professional level or the youth recreational league in a small town, who doesn't feel the pain of not choosing someone or cutting someone from the team.

Sometimes young athletes put themselves in situations where they say, “If I don’t make it today, I have no chance of ever reaching my goals.” That’s not true and it’s up to parents and coaches to deliver that message strongly and consistently.

Getting cut and having to rebound from disappointment is part of what some great athletes have had to deal with.

When I was cutting players from the national teams, it wasn’t because they were bad players. In fact, they were often very good players. I frequently had to make choices because I felt there were two or three players who were better for a particular position or role on the team. Coaches have to make decisions and players and parents have to understand that putting together a team is a game of numbers, of roles, of needs and responsibilities.

When someone doesn’t make the squad, initially they feel hurt or even angry. It’s regrettable, but understandable. Some players who are cut will use it as a source of motivation for continued practice to get good enough to eventually be on that team. Others will shy away from further evaluation and tryouts because it was such a belittling and scary experience for them.

What I’d like to stress is that being cut from a team is not the end of the world, and it’s not, although it may seem like it at the time, a personal attack. If parents can somehow make their children understand this fact, then it will allow them to move forward – and maybe next time they will make the team.

As tough as it may be for a coach to cut a player from the team, it’s a lot tougher on that player and her parents. There’s no getting around the embarrassment, the emptiness, the rejection.

The best thing I can suggest to parents is to offer unwavering love and unconditional support. It may seem like it to your child, but the world hasn’t ended and it’s up to the parents to keep the sport experience in proper perspective.

If parents get upset, it will be projected onto the child, only making matters worse.

What isn’t constructive is making excuses for your child by saying it was a political decision or that the coach made a poor decision (which might even be the case). If you make excuses, you’re only teaching your child to deflect responsibility and discount the value of merit.

What you have to remember is that for the most part, coaches really do try to get it right. If there are 20 players on a team, odds are that practically every coach will agree on the first 10 players for the team. And most coaches will agree that the next five should be on the team. But probably more coaches will disagree on the last five players chosen.

Coaches have an image of what they want their team to be, and they’re looking for players who can help them attain that image.

As a parent, you must show love and support for your child, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into judging and criticizing the coach’s decision. If you do, everyone’s a loser.

Click here to read the full article at SoccerAmerica.com

(Tony DiCicco has coached all ages but is best known for guiding the U.S. women to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal, the 1999 Women's World Cup title and the 2008 U-20 World Cup crown. DiCicco, the founder and director of SoccerPlus Camps, coached the WPS’s Boston Breakers in 2009-11.)

(Excerpted from "Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls" by Tony DiCicco,Colleen Hacker & Charles Salzberg courtesy of Penguin Books.)



10 Things You Should NEVER Do at a Volleyball Tryout


1. Don't give your setter a hard time. Got blocked? Hit out? Shake it off and move on without placing blame.

2. Don't bring your cell phone into the gym. Coaches don’t want to see you texting when you should be concentrating on volleyball.

3. Don't form cliques. Be sure to rotate who your partner is for drills and invite new people into your group.

4. Don't ever quit on a ball, even if you know it’s unlikely that you’ll get to it. Even in pepper! Coaches want players who give their all on every ball.

5. Don't talk when the coach is talking. it’s disrespectful and sends a bad message to the coach.

6. Don't do anything halfway. Lazy footwork on free balls, not covering the hitter, walking to shag balls, etc. Give your all whenever you’re in the gym.

7. Don't pay attention to your parents on the sidelines. No conversations or gestures. Coaches want to focus on the player, not the parent.

8. Don't carry a mistake with you into the next play. A coach can tell by your body language if you’re not over being blocked on the previous point.

9. Don't be resistant to stepping into another position, even if it’s not the one you’re trying out for.
Coaches want players who can adjust and are willing to be versatile if that’s what’s needed to make a drill work or help the team.

10. Don't give off a negative vibe. Look like you’re having fun playing the game. Smile, be upbeat, support your teammates, and enjoy yourself. Coaches like players who bring positive energy to the court.

Bonus:Don’t show up for a tryout wearing a t-shirt from a rival school or club!