Hosting a youth soccer tryout can be challenging. You want to know which drills to use to evaluate the players properly and understand each player’s potential to build the best team.
These tips and drills for youth soccer tryouts will help you evaluate and understand your players to build the best team possible. These tips and drills will cover all areas of a player’s abilities and display their potential fit in your team.
Let’s dive in.
How To Evaluate The Players
The evaluation of the players at the tryout can be broken down into three sections: fitness, technique, and mentality. The ideal player will have high marks in all of these categories.
You can use a point system to measure where each player ranks in these categories accurately. Other coaches or trusted friends and staff can also aid in your evaluation. More than one judge of the players will help you evenly track each player’s prospects.
The first category is the fitness of a player. This will include endurance, stamina, and agility. You can judge players’ fitness by their energy levels, quickness, and how long they can play at high levels.
While fitness is ideal for a player, it is also important to note that a player can improve fitness through practice and conditioning. Keep this in mind, a player who has less endurance can be helped.
The next category to evaluate a player is their technique. Your technique can be measured by ball control, passing, dribbling, and shooting.
Your technique will be the most important category to pay attention to. A player’s technique can also extend to their general understanding of the game. Making smart decisions and quick thinking using their soccer knowledge are highly valued skills.
The final category you can use to evaluate a player is their mentality. A player’s mentality can be judged by their teamwork, response to coaching advice, and attitude.
A good player will want to work with the team and try to get along with others. They respond well to coaching advice and try incorporating feedback into their game. The ideal mentality is a positive attitude and that of a team player.
Now that you know how to evaluate a player, let’s get into some drills that will help you gauge where your players stand.
Best Drills For Tryouts
The best drills for tryouts will allow the players to display every part of their game. You can fully gauge the player’s ability by incorporating both offense and defense, as well as solo and team play.
Ensuring you have the best equipment for your tryouts is also very important! You can not accurately evaluate a player without the proper equipment.
1 on 1
A standard 1 on 1 drill will give players an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills on both offense and defense.
A simple setup is two sets of cones approximately 20 meters apart. The first player starts with a ball, and the other runs to the offender. The offender must get past the defender to a goal made of cones on the other side.
Pattern Passing and Shooting Drills
Many passing and shooting drill variations exist, but pattern drills are similar to in-game experience.
Have three players set up in a criss crossing pattern, running down the field and passing while running. This will help you judge their passing skills and overall ball control. The final pass should return to the first player, who takes one touch to receive the pass and then shoot.
Here is a link to a video explaining some great passing and shooting drill examples!
You can add defenders to make this drill more game-like. You can judge a player’s ability to finish under pressure by adding defenders.
Small Scale Scrimmage
The last drill we recommend is a team game of scrimmage. This way, you can gauge the player’s teamwork and overall abilities.
5 v 5, or 8 v 8, the scale is up to you. Smaller teams and fields will mean more precise passing and teamwork, while larger-scale scrimmages will also help you judge a player’s fitness.
In a scrimmage, you can see a player’s teamwork, passing, off-ball movement, decision-making, and overall understanding of the game. You can also incorporate halftime, where you provide feedback to players and see how they adjust in the second half.
Strategies for building youth soccer confidence
Building confidence is a key factor in the success of any youth soccer player. Confidence not only helps players perform better on the field, but it also helps them develop a love for the game that can last a lifetime. Here are some strategies for building youth soccer confidence:
- Positive reinforcement: Encourage players by giving them positive feedback, such as compliments on good plays or efforts. This helps them build confidence and feel valued as a member of the team.
- Set achievable goals: Work with players to set realistic goals that they can achieve. This helps them focus on specific skills and areas of improvement, and when they reach their goals, it boosts their confidence.
- Focus on strengths: Identify players’ strengths and work to build on them. By focusing on what they do well, players will feel more confident and motivated to improve.
- Emphasize effort over outcome: Encourage players to focus on the effort they put into their performance rather than the outcome. This helps them see progress even when they don’t win, which can boost their confidence.
- Provide opportunities for leadership: Give players opportunities to take on leadership roles, such as team captain or mentor for younger players. This helps them feel valued and builds confidence in their abilities.
- Practice, practice, practice: Encourage players to practice regularly, whether it’s on their own or with the team. The more they practice, the more confident they will feel in their skills.
Overall, building confidence in youth soccer players requires a positive and supportive environment, realistic goal-setting, and plenty of practice. With these strategies, players can develop the confidence they need to succeed on and off the field.
The evaluation criteria and drills used in tryouts are just as important as the players. These tips and drills for youth soccer tryouts will allow you to evaluate players accurately and find the best fit for your team.
The best drills allow players to showcase their abilities. Their evaluation can be split into three categories: fitness, technique, and mentality.
Solo and team drills that allow players to exhibit their offensive and defensive abilities are best. Some great drills to incorporate into your tryouts are 1 on 1, pattern passing and shooting drills, and scrimmage.
Use these tips and drills to make your tryouts an excellent stage to find the best of the best for your team!