Sawyer YSA 01b: News: Tryouts and Cuts: Part 1

Tryouts and Cuts: Part 1

This article is written by Tony DiCicco, who has coached players of all ages, but is best known for guiding the U.S. Women's National Team to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal, the 1999 Women's World Cup title and the 2008 Women's u20 World Cup crown. Throughout his career, Tony has continued to be involved in youth development with multiple Select/Competitive Clubs throughout the Country.

Tryouts: 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.