It's The Final Countdown... da da da DAAA

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By Chris BeermanHi everyone! Thanks for continuing to follow my blog describing my process of building a club from the ground up. The past few blogs have outlined my journey to the present, and going forward, the rest of the blog entries will be in real time; which I'm excited about. The past couple of weeks have been about preparing for tryouts and making sure everything is ready to go, hence, The Final Countdown. After the parent meeting I opened up tryout registration, and within a few days, began receiving the forms in the mail. As we've gotten closer to the tryout dates of November 8-10, the mail has steadily increased, and I'm getting a clearer picture of the kinds of numbers we can expect in the specific age groups. I'm sure, like with most clubs, my most popular age groups at this point are my 13-16 year olds, but I'm beginning to see an increase in the registrations from the older and younger ends of the age-group spectrum. My Munciana pros tell me that almost 80% of registrations are returned in the last week before the deadline so we'll see what happens within the week. In order to make sure players feel they are prepared for tryouts rather than rusty from a long layoff, our tryouts will occur the week after the state champion in Kentucky is crowned. In addition, we will also be conducting a pre-tryout camp the week before tryouts called, quite simply, the Rustbuster Camp. Tryouts will occur at KBA, which is a five-court facility, and we will run three different 90 minute sessions divided by age groups (12-14's, 15-16's and 17-18's). The first day of tryouts: (1) players will check-in at their allotted times, (2) we'll make sure their paperwork is in order and they are trying out for the appropriate age group, (3) players will get sized for apparel and finally (4) begin their tryout session. Players will be trying out for our Elite teams or Regional teams. Players not chosen for an Elite team will then decide to play on a Regional team. Due to practice court space limitations, we will be able to offer 15 total Elite teams or approximately 2 teams per age group. Elite teams will have a longer season and play in more tournaments. My tryout evaluation philosophy is very simple: judge the players while they are actually playing volleyball. We (the coaches who are evaluating players) need to see the players perform the skills appropriate for their intended position and age group the best we can while giving them enough reps to show their true skill level. I think it's very important to have at least two days of tryouts for each age group since many times I didn't notice a player on day one, but saw her on day two and took notice. Or vice-versa, I was very high on a kid day one, but my initial evaluation changed the more I watched her. Having two days of tryouts is also the best way to make sure you are forming your teams in the fairest way possible. My main goal is to place the right kids on the right teams. Each team is of high importance; I will be invested in every single team and age group. I literally want no mistakes. Our tryout format will include evaluating overall skill level, position-specific skill level, athletic ability, focus, attitude, and competitiveness Every one of those facets should be a part of the evaluation, because many times a player is picked for a team based on their strength in one of those areas, but they fall short in the others and the team experience is not what it should be. Our coaches will be divided up into (1) evaluators and (2) court coaches. Coaches will be "evaluators" during their own age group's tryout session and "court coaches" during the other age group sessions. Objectively, the "evaluators" will judge players on the physical and mental characteristics I listed above on a 1-5 scale. My role as Club Director will be to evaluate everyone to make sure the coaches are seeing the same things I am seeing, and to add a subjective aspect to the process. We will also get input from the court coaches running the drills. On Day 2 of tryouts "evaluators" and I will either finalize our initial evaluations from day one, or change our initial thoughts based on a more thorough review of the players. I'm looking forward to the coaches meetings that will follow tryouts and "talking out" each team to make sure we are all on the same page. It's extremely important that the parents and players feel the tryout process was fair, unbiased, and their daughters are placed on the appropriate team. Thanks again for reading the blog and be back again soon with more "real time" discussion. Also don't hesitate to pose a question or comment on the blog in the comment section; I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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