So You Didn’t Make The Cut

Make The Cut

So You Didn’t Make The Cut Written By Mike Adams

So you or your kid didn’t make the cut. Now what? I recently had a friend whose kid didn’t make a team. She was looking for advice on what to do, how to console the kid. Her thoughts were either talk to the coach and convince him to change his mind or explain to her child that it happens in life. My suggestion to her was pretty simple; talk to the coach and find out what needs to be worked on for next year’s tryouts.

After giving it more thought, I thought of a few more suggestions:

1. Ask the coach what to work on. DO NOT ask why you didn’t make the team. Asking what you can work on for the next tryout already asks that question in a more proactive light.

2. Work on what they suggest. Seems a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised.

3. Keep involved. Even though you are not a player on the team, the team consists of many other things. I knew of a hockey player that wasn’t quite up to the level he needed to be and volunteered to keep stats during games. We let him because honestly by him doing that it allowed us to concentrate more on the game. He asked if he could help out chasing pucks at practice. Again, we let him because it was something we didn’t like to do. Well, he was also watching the plays, watching the drills, and the next tryout he knew more than most of the “players” on last season’s team as well as stepped up his playing. He not only made the team, but became captain.

4. If you can’t find a way to stay involved in that sport then try another sport that will help you with the skills you need. An athlete is not a person who does one sport. It is someone that stays athletic. The best base runner I coached found out later that she was better in track than softball. She was really good at softball, but running became her passion. She still plays summer ball and actually because of her track coach, she became a VERY scary base stealer. If she made it to first base, I could chalk it up to a score because she would steal the rest of the way around.

Although there are no promises in life, I can tell you what I have found that helps become a player that a coach wants on their team. The player someone the coach doesn’t want to cut doesn’t always rely on %100 skill.

Here are some things I look for in players for a team:

1. Make sure the coaches know who you are. This one can be kind of tough because you don’t want to be annoying. Standing in the back of the team, being the last in line for any drill, not cheering the team on, these are ways to not be noticed. Being front and center, being the first in line for drills is an easy way to get the coach to remember you.

2. Ask Questions. I am not saying inundate the coach with a barrage of questions, but if something doesn’t make sense, ASK! Some questions may be put off until after a drill, play, practice or game, but make sure you ask. When a player asks me a question, (why did the ump make that call, what is the purpose of this drill) it makes me think the player really wants to learn. On the flipside, a good coach should never turn away a player with questions. I once asked a team why we were doing a drill, they replied “because you said so”. A drill is never because “we say so.” Tt is to work on specific things to prepare for specific situations in a game. Just having them run a drill doesn’t teach them the game itself.

3. Show up early, leave late. When you do this, you are the first one and the last one the coach sees. Keep in mind that just showing up early and leaving late doesn’t make you look good. Be there early, see if you can help set up, make sure you are 100% ready when practice starts. If you are the only one there and you just sit because you are the only one there, the coach will notice. Same when you leave last. You need to be more than just “there.”

4. Work hard all the time. Most coaches will agree they would rather coach a hard worker than a naturally talented superstar that doesn’t work hard during a practice. Honestly, the superstar will probably still be on the team, but the hard worker is the one the coaches like to work with.

5. At least once a week (again not too much to be annoying) check in with the coach to see what you can work on. Every player, good or bad, can work on something. Don’t forget, it is more than just finding out what you work on, you actually have to do it! Good coaches have drills for everything, and they have ones that can be worked on alone, or indoors at a house as well.

6. Get along with your entire team. OK, before you go into this one too deep, I know there are some people that no one gets along with, but it is pretty obvious to a coach who is creating team upset. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see the same two players always practicing together during warm ups or two-person drills. Spread yourself around! If you are not the best, team up with the best and ask for pointers. This not only will help you get better, but I guarantee it will make the other player feel more important and they will play better. If you are the best, then you are conceited, sit down… Just kidding. If you are one of the better players at a certain drill, team up with someone who doesn’t get it. That way, you can help them. DO NOT, however, become a player-coach. Only give them directions when asked or suggest little things.

The best part about these suggestions is they work for any sport. Actually, they even work in life. Employers are like coaches. The tryouts happen every day. People are cut, people are hired. Knowing how to take that cut and better yourself is what will make you succeed in the end.

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Mike AdamsMike Adams Mike has over 20 years coaching experience between Softball and Hockey. His passion is with coaching and seeing players grow. Creating drills to focus on specific skills is his forte and is often called upon from different coaches to create them. He is Highly ADD which makes for a different type of blog but the ADD keeps him more in touch with his child side. You can contact Mike through his email

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