By Aimee Asebroek

High school tryouts are NEXT WEEK, and no matter what year you are, or how secure you feel, you need to pull out all of the stops at tryouts. Volleyball is becoming an increasingly competitive high school sport, and it’s not necessarily a given that you’ll make a team! As a high school varsity coach, here’s are some helpful tips for you to put your best foot forward at tryouts. Good luck and as always, MAKE IT FUN!

Tips for Tryouts

  1. Be loud and encouraging– in fact, can YOU be the loudest person in the gym? What’s the downside? I promise, your coach will love it. Maybe coach is deciding between you and a player who is better at volleyball than you, but YOU have a bigger voice and more spirit…
  2. Wear something bright – in fact, where something bright EVERY day of tryouts– be unforgettable.
  3. Be the first – first person in the gym to help setup, first person back from water breaks, first person to shout out a cheer when you break!
  4. Partner up with the best person possible – Do your best to partner up with a player that’s better than you. If a coach is going to be watching them– they’re going to see you too!
  5. Don’t buddy up with a slacker – I know you want to be with your BFF, but if she’s not as good as you, she might bring you down at tryouts. If she makes it too, awesome, but you have to do everything you can to make yourself look great.
  6. Try, try, try – What’s the downside? Run through the bleachers and the walls, and make a commitment to get on the ground after EVERY single ball. You might not be the best player there, but there’s nothing stopping you from being the hardest working.
  7. Suck up to the coach, but not too much – Make sure the coach knows you. Have a conversation with them when you can, introduce yourself, and make sure you say thank you at the end of the day. Be careful to not be obnoxious.
  8. Be Grateful, Be Satisfied – If you’re a freshman who has a goal of making JV or Varsity, it’s OK (in fact it’s GREAT) to just make the freshman team. Be thankful to be in the program in any capacity you can.

You Still Might Not Make the Team and Here’s Why (Oh yeah, and everything’s gonna be OK!)

  1. It’s super competitive and there are limited spots. Remember, programs are likely to only take 11-14 per team, and SOME programs only have JV and Varsity! Depending upon where you go to school, your program might be on of the best in the nation, or one of the worst- it’s kind of just the luck of the draw that your family happened to raise you in a specific city!
  2. You weren’t prepared- Just because you play club, or you made your high school team last year, doesn’t guarantee you a spot this year. Volleyball is a sport that requires constant refining and practice. Did you go to the maintenance program? Did you do a camp? Did you stay in decent shape?
  3. They didn’t need another of your position. Maybe you’re an AWESOME libero, but there are 3 other awesome liberos that are a little more awesome than you. At some point, the coaching staff has to make a really tough decision.

I know it’s brutal to get cut from anything. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be bummed if you don’t make the team, but I promise you, It’s ok, you’re still a volleyball player! You can still identify as a volleyball player, you can tell people you ARE a volleyball player, and you can still go on and fulfill all of your volleyball dreams even if you NEVER make your high school team!

If you get cut from your program, please don’t stop playing! You have so many options, the first of which is SoCal VBC Fall Ball, which starts with evaluations on Sunday, August 6th. This program will allow you to play at a high level, keep your hand on the ball, have access to the gym, and prepare for the upcoming club season. It’s fun and low-pressure, you get to compete, and the coaches are awesome. We have had past players in the club that NEVER participated with their high school program, played club and Fall Ball year-round, and went on to get scholarships to play volleyball in college.

Here’s the thing- you’re awesome. You’re kind, intelligent, funny and interesting– and whether you make your high school volleyball team does not change any of these qualities in you. We want you to be happy, healthy and thrive in whatever you do. We’ll be there for you cheering you on whether you make it or not– but don’t forget, you ARE a volleyball player, no matter what.

Keep us posted on your high school story so that we can track your progress, we want to know how best to be there for you in the Fall.