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Focus On What You Can Control

by Ryan Morgan

Trying out for a club team is like interviewing for any job. There are some things that are in your control and some things that aren’t. It’s important to focus on the things you can control and understand that the other things aren’t worth worrying about. Even if you are a great thrower, if the team already has great throwers then the 6’9" guy that can’t throw may get selected over you. Here, I’d like to focus on three things that I would like to see from all of my tryouts, regardless of my team’s needs: commitment, willingness to adapt, and decision making. 

First, for a tryout to have any chance of making the team he must show his commitment. Elite club ultimate requires a significant time and money commitment. Additionally, a newcomer to the team will require more time during the season to gel with his new teammates. A tryout should show that he is prepared to make the requisite commitment by attending all preseason tryout events. This may require missing family events, having less time to study for a test, or delaying that vacation but an elite club player must make the team a priority. A tryout who misses preseason events severely disadvantages himself. 

Second, a tryout must show a willingness to adapt to the team’s style. Just because you had the green light to send it in your former team’s huck-n-hope offense doesn’t mean you will have the same luxury with this team. Get a feel for what kind of offense or defense the team is accustomed to running and show you can be an asset in that system. A good rule of thumb is not to try anything unusual unless an established player does it first. Generally speaking, don’t be the first tryout to attempt a 40-yard hammer or a blade to the break side. If you are comfortable with a special throw, show it off during warm-ups and not in-game. Perhaps over the season improvements can be made to the system to take advantage of your skills. But for the tryout period you should adapt your play to the team. The team should not adapt to you. Of course, if you find out that this team plays huck-n-hope too, then huck away! 

Third, every tryout must demonstrate good decision-making. At the elite level every possession matters. Every turnover matters. So, good decision-making that will reduce turnovers is a much more important factor than at lower levels. Sometimes knowing how to play smart is a more important quality that being talented. On my team, a talented player that makes poor decisions will get cut while a less talented player that makes good decisions has a much better shot at making the team. Some examples of good decision-making include:

  • Seeing poaches
  • Recognizing mismatches
  • Throwing high percentage passes but knowing when to take calculated risks
  • Appropriately choosing to initiate or not initiate a fast break after a turnover
  • Remaining calm even as the stall count gets high

Ultimately, both sides are trying to find the perfect fit for them. As a tryout, as long as you focus on those things you can control including commitment, a willingness to adapt, and good decision making, then you can feel good about your effort. Good luck! 


huddle Issue 2 Trying Out

Tuesday, May 28th, 2008

Thoughts From Chris Ashbrook
by Chris Ashbrook

Answers To All Of These Questions
by Tully Beatty

Play To Your Best, Tone Down The Rest
by Lou Burruss

Things To Focus On At Any Level
by Jeff Graham

Go After Similar, More Experienced Players
by Greg Husak

Focus On What You Can Control
by Ryan Morgan

Hard Work Stands Out
by Miranda Roth

Strong Fundamentals Trump Team Needs
by Nancy Sun

Athleticism First, Attitude Close Behind
by Chris Talarico

Thoughts From Team USA Tryouts
by Ben van Heuvelen

Perspective From The Team & From A Player
by Ben Wiggins




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