Facing the Pressure of Tryouts


By Abby Carchio

Over the course of my career, I have played for a total of ten different teams and for over 15 different coaches. With each transition, came a trial period. Whether that was in the form of a formal tryout or if it was just the first few weeks with the new coach/team, the pressure to “show my stuff” was ever-present. In these periods of transition, we often feel a lot of pressure to perform, impress, and stand out. I spent the first few transitions of my career succumbing to these pressures by overthinking, overcompensating and overdoing. Over time, I learned that to be successful in these situations, it is best to simply be you, be vocal and be the player with the best attitude on the pitch. 

As players, we each have something that we point to as our best football quality. In my club career, it was my ability to pick out intelligent passes. When it came time to tryout for the ODP State team, I felt the pressure to stand out as I was competing against the best players in Massachusetts. During the first scrimmage, instead of sticking to my strengths, I decided to dribble as much as possible and shoot anytime I was within thirty yards of the goal. My thought process was, “I only have a limited time to show my stuff and maybe if I am on the ball more often or if I score loads of goals, I will stand out.” Well, those 90 minutes were probably some of the worst of my career. I tried to overcompensate and do things that were not really part of my game. Not only did I spend the match dribbling into pressure and striking weak shots on goal, but I did not pick out a single intelligent pass. After some much needed advice, I went back for the second scrimmage with a new approach. I played MY game, I stuck to my strengths and was okay with the fact that other girls had strengths that I did not have. As expected, I performed much better in the second match and ended up making the squad. From then on, I knew the value of sticking to your strengths in the transition periods. 

My transition to college soccer was a difficult one. I was no longer a big fish in a small pond and the physicality of the game was difficult to keep up with. After starting the first few games coming off of the bench, I wanted to increase my chances of starting. I had a meeting with my coach and she explained that I was not standing out in the training sessions. She told me that I was playing well, but when it came time to put out a starting 11, she needed players with a confident presence. Being vocal on the pitch was something that I struggled with in my youth career and I had fallen into old habits through this transition. For the next few weeks, I actively made an effort to be more vocal on the pitch. I demanded the ball, I communicated with my forwards, and I directed defensively. My vocality showed that I had a command on the game and the confidence to instruct others. Being vocal in a tryout or transition scenario can give you the edge you need to show your competence. 

It is important to note that being vocal does not mean shouting at others. In fact, being vocal is a great opportunity to show your character and positive attitude on the pitch. Negative thought and speech is something that I have struggled with throughout my career and it was not until my professional stint in France that I learned the true power of a positive attitude amongst the team. In the early stages of getting a new coach in France, I was struggling to make the travel

roster for games. There was one specific match where I was sure my quality in practice was not good enough to be selected. When my name appeared amongst the group I looked at my coach quizzically and he said, your ability to connect the group through your attitude and demeanor is 

essential for us to win the next match. While simply having a positive attitude will not always get you selected for a team, it can be an added layer and factor that can push you over the edge. Always be kind, energetic and congratulatory throughout your tryouts and transitions. 

At the end of the day, every transition is an opportunity to play the game that you love. Replace the pressure with the opportunity to play YOUR soccer, vocally show your command on the game, and bring a positive attitude to each session.

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