I’m sharing my thinking here, but based on stealing his thread and putting some of my own thoughts around it. I’ll admit that I have done a little editing of Idaho’s post, the parts in italics, but not much. I hope that there is something in here that those of you trying out for teams this spring find helpful. This is about intangibles, attitude and approach, not about running faster, jumping higher, so you won’t see little things like “score” and “don’t get scored on.”
1) Talk on the line.
The captains don't know you, so it is important to speak up. Don't be afraid to say 'I want to handle this point'' or 'I can get open in the middle' ask to be in the play. Ask to be the MAIN PLAYER in the big play if/when you are feeling it.
I really like this point about speaking up. I think it's important to know when to speak up and when not to. You want to be remembered for asking/ playing/ working hard, but not for interrupting huddles, making it hard to call lines, etc. Pick the right time to talk with the captains and coaches about what you want to do.
2- Be aggressive on O.
Don't let someone else steal your glory because you are not cutting. Cut early, and often. If you don't get it, clear hard, and look to attack again. Take some shots deep. If it's there, don't be afraid to let one fly. If trapped, maybe your hammer is your best option. Showcase your throwing repertoire. As a handler, attack, attack, attack.
Most modern offenses are handler driven, and early in the count is when handler defenders play lax. Punish them, and put yourself in a power position to make some aggressive strikes.
Idaho’s edit of his own text: Cutting: sometimes it's good to stop, and take a look around/re-gain position, when your defender relaxes, make your move. Handling: if you miss a few early on, reel it in for a few points to re-gather your confidence, and momentum.
You make a team by showcasing what you can do, not by hiding in the stack and not making mistakes. There is obviously a balance here, as Idaho gets to in the second part. I would add that, when I evaluate a player, no single turnover or mistake takes someone off the team. It’s important to see aggressive cutting and moving, smart choices about when to showcase the skills, but … those skills must show up.
3- Cover the other team's best players.
There is a big difference between getting a D on the other team's best handler/receiver and D'ing some scrub. Putting D PRESSURE on the other team's best players will get you noticed and talked about during discussions. Even if you get owned, sticking with them (with persistence) for a whole game is to your advantage. Make your presence known with smart spacing, and body position. Make the offense work harder than they are used to, and push them out of their comfort zone.
There are so many points in here that I want to call out a few of them.
- “Putting D Pressure” – It is important to recognize the difference between ‘getting a block sometimes’ and really putting pressure on the offense. Blocks are noticed, but smart captains and coaches (and at this point, most of the teams have smart ones) recognize that consistently shutting people down, taking cutters out of the play, forcing the offense into bad positions is probably even more important. The best cornerbacks in pro football don’t have the best stats, because no one even throws it near them. When Deion Sanders played, they used to give him one side of the field and let everyone else cover the other one. No help.
- Consistency – it’s one thing to have a few great points… it’s another to have a great scrimmage, great tryout or great set of tryouts.
Realistically, you won’t end up on the best player the whole time – hopefully everyone is fighting for that, but it makes a lot of sense.
1) Show that you are eager, interested and motivated.
Don’t dawdle. Be the first one to the huddle and always focus. Tryouts for Ultimate teams may feel long, but finding it in yourself to stay focused, energetic and up for 3-4 hours is important and it’s really not that long.
2) Be nice.
If someone makes a weak call, or gets mad because of physical play, or spikes it on you. Be nice. Contest, or no contest, apologize, if necessary, or turn the other cheek. Club teams do not want to babysit big egos, or head cases. These people might be your future teammates so don't burn any bridges early on.
[Direct quote from Idaho]
3) Talk on the sidelines
This was one of my favorite points Idaho made: “Be active throughout the tryouts.” Use the entire time that you have at the tryouts to show what you can do. When you’re not on the field during the scrimmage, you are still getting an opportunity to be a factor. Sidelines are huge in tournaments and they are huge at practice and they are huge at tryouts. Come off the field, get a quick drink and get ready by the time the pull goes up. Know the defense that is being played. 3-4 hours is a short time – USE ALL OF IT.
4) Show some fire
Give it all you’ve got throughout the practice. You might get tired. You’re going to get tired in tournaments. Show that you can push through it. Finish everything with as much as you’ve got. Recover and do the next thing. You might only get 2-3 practices/tryouts to show what you’ve got.
5) Don’t pout.
You’re going to make a mistake. Don’t pout. Immediately try to fix it – try to get the disc back, ask what you did wrong. Fight through it. Redeem yourself. Your teammates are going to make mistakes – don’t get mad, don’t pout for or at them. Immediately try to help that person redeem. I think it’s fine to get mad sometimes, but this isn’t the time or the place.
6) Listen and learn
Being able to learn how to play a defense, how to show improvement is often as important as getting it right the first time. If you blow a D one time because you didn't understand and one of the veterans, captains or coach helps you understand, then the second time and the third time, you get it right - that is huge. Tryouts are the time to learn about a strategy and then put it into action - there will be time to put your own ideas in later after you make the team.
7) Related to the last one: Seek feedback
Maybe you know a veteran and can ask. Maybe it's from the captains (at the right times), but ask for input. Getting feedback when it's too late is helpful only for 12 months later the next time around. There are often so many players at tryouts that it's hard for organizers to give structured feedback to everyone throughout. They also won't be able to do it during every drill or scrimmage. But an email will often get some or a question after practice.
8) Be ready!
This may sound obvious, but... if you need a little extra time to get your body going, get there early and do it. If you have a specific routine, get there early and do it. The teams will all do their own routines, and you should be prepared to do those routines right along with them. If you need to tape, eat, meditate on the field, get it done before that. It doesn’t hurt to be early and stay after anyway – dedication and effort can be great x-factors.
6) Be confident
You know what you can do, go do it. There is no reason or place for fear.
7) Tryouts rock. Remember that - they are fun. You're playing Ultimate with some great players. You are meeting new people, getting to see people that you know – enjoy this time together.
Thanks again to Idaho for writing a lot of this for me. I hope that this helps – and good luck to everyone!