Great Start - Hindsight is 20/20

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By Chris BeermanTryouts were very successful for us, but since hindsight is 20/20, it can be used as an evaluative tool to make the process better and more efficient in the future. I have a few thoughts on how I'll attack our tryout format in 2012. Number one, how to handle the players trying out for Elite teams vs players trying out for Regional-only. Next year I will divide the age group tryouts into the following nights: all 12's (Regional or Elite), Elite 13's-14's, 15-16's and 17-18's age groups will tryout by themselves and, just like this year, will also get a second tryout night. After the Elite teams are chosen, we will then have one more night of tryouts for the Elite players who did not make a team and the Regional-only players. This way the Regional coaches can have a fair and more thorough evaluation of the players and can form their teams in the same way as our Elite teams. Making these changes may drag out the tryout phase a little longer than this year, but I think the end result will be better and the evaluation process will improve for everyone. Second change I will make is once the elite teams are picked, we will immediately post the players' tryout numbers on our website and those players will then have 24 hours to accept. This year I had the coaches call their players to announce they made a team, and although it was a nice personal touch and was exciting for the players receiving the call, it was very inefficient for me in monitoring the timeline of the coaches making their calls; some were much more aggressive than others and some waited a couples days. This created a headache for me as parents began calling me to see if their daughter's had made a team. Also, the players not receiving a call didn't know if it was because they didn't make a team, or they just had made a team with a slow moving coach who hadn't gotten to calling yet. I liked our tryout registration format, won't change much there, but next year I will allow for about 15 minutes of slack time between the end of check-in to the beginning of the tryout to allow the evaluation sheets to be finished and printed up for our coaches to have at the very beginning of each session. I will also make sure that the on-court coaches know exactly what the drills are and how they work. I did have a 15 minute meeting before we got started, but as it turned out, it still took awhile for the coaches to get the drills up and running at the pace and intensity I was looking for. Regarding the check-in process, I love the fact that the players got sized for apparel at the tryout. I was dubious about how that would work, but the folks from Munciana pulled it off flawlessly and now every player's sizes are on record and it makes the apparel / uniform side of things much smoother and less complicated going forward. I will also give more time for the actual check-in process for each age group, moving from sixty minutes to 90 minutes prior to the tryout starting to give more time for the whole process to finish. We also need to make sure we have multiple check-in lines and many samples of apparel to avoid the long lines. All in all, for a first year club I felt it was a fair and efficient tryout and we got kids on the teams they should be on, but of course can be improved on.But enough about the tryout! Once our teams were formed, our coaches got to the business of setting up parent meetings to discuss everything from practice, playing schedules and club expectations, to the financial aspects of participating. Our elite teams will expect to play in about 10 tournaments or more with our 1's teams playing at AAU's to finish the year at a national championship event. The 2's and 3's teams will play in 8-10 tournaments and decide as a parent group if participating at AAU's is an option they want to pursue. Our regional teams will play in 5 to 6 tournaments and conclude their seasons' at our home tournament on April 28-29. Our financial commitment is divided into four categories: participation fees (court rental, insurance, apparel, coach's salaries, etc), personal transportation costs (how parents travel), tournament fees (the total costs of entering tournaments) and coaches travel costs (mileage, meals and hotel). Once the schedule is determined at the parent meeting, the actual costs for the entire club season can be calculated. We have a payment plan for each of the different costs and also fundraising options for the teams choosing to go to AAU's in June. I believe the parents appreciate knowing exactly how much they can expect to pay for the entire club season in late November and specifically where those expenses are directly going. I like this format better than a lump sum payment due to the drastic financial cost differences between the different teams depending on their schedules and how they choose to travel. I have attended all 23 team parent meetings (except two) and felt our coaches did an exceptional job being organized, confident and high energy as a great first impression to their parents. The vibe at the meetings was positive and all the teams are eager to get in the gym and start their training. Going to be a fun year! Hope everyone reading this had a great Thanksgiving and I'll be back again soon!


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