Youth volleyball tryouts can be an exhausting process for directors and organizers, but proper planning can help eliminate some of the stress.
Planning ahead to determine the agenda and scoring criteria in advance, and pre-training all staff members and volunteers can make a huge difference in the overall success of evaluation sessions.
Get tips below on how to run a successful youth volleyball tryout.
Tip #1: Send out communication
When holding volleyball tryouts, it’s important to communicate the dates and information with parents and players as soon as possible. This will allow the registration process to begin on time, and will allow players ample time to prepare for the evaluations. Including information such as dates and times, fees, roster information, equipment requirements and skills tested will help ensure there are no surprises on tryouts day.
Tip #2: Schedule courts and staffing
As soon as tryouts dates are set, reserve courts and a gym as quickly as possible. Also make sure you’ve notified all staff, coaches, evaluators and volunteers of the dates and times you will need them. To ensure tryouts run smoothly, each person should have an assigned task to make sure all responsibilities are accounted for.
Tip #3: Secure equipment
It may sound simple, but you need to make sure you have nets set up and plenty of volleyballs to keep tryouts running smoothly. Assign a person to bring the balls to the facility and set up the courts to ensure the tasks get done.
Tip #4: Determine what kind of players you’re looking for
What kind of players are you looking for to carry out your vision for the season and fill your roster? It’s important to determine this before tryouts so you know what criteria to evaluate players on. Does a player’s height matter? His or her vertical jump? Overall athleticism? Hustle? Are you looking for ace servers more than pesky diggers and accurate passers? Knowing what skills and attributes you are looking for will help narrow down the roster during evaluation sessions.
Tip #5: Create a schedule
It’s important to keep your tryouts running smoothly and on time, and to accomplish this you need to have a schedule. When creating the day’s agenda, make sure it’s realistic enough for you to stick to. Determine how much time you want to allow for registration, warm-ups and cooldowns, and find out how long each drill should take to complete based on the number of athletes to ensure the exercises and overall tryouts are completed on time.
Tip #6: Set scoring criteria and format
Before tryouts begin, it’s important to set the scoring scale and criteria. Determine how each skill will be ranked (1 to 5, for example) and what each number represents. Make sure the same scoring scale is used by all evaluators and that criteria is set for each drill. Write out what qualifies as a 1 or a 5 — and everything in between — for each drill so evaluators know what they are looking for and how to score accordingly.
Coaches should also watch drills and make their own notes in case they see a skill that the evaluators might miss – such as leadership or teamwork skills.
Tip #7: Train staff
It’s critical to train all staff ahead of tryouts. Those helping with registration should be trained on how to check players in and assign numbers or bibs. If using an evaluation app, volunteers will need to be instructed on how to locate players in the software, check them in and add in other information.
Evaluators will also need to be trained. All evaluators should be instructed on the scoring scale, how each drill should be performed, what skills coaches and directors are looking for in each drill, and which ranking or score applies to each level of execution.
Evaluators will also need to be taught how to record scores. For those using paper sheets, evaluators will need to learn how to properly fill out the forms and sections. For leagues that use an app, evaluators will need to be instructed on how to use the app, what fields need to be filled in, how to correct entry errors, and submit scores.
Evaluators, coaches and directors will also need to be shown how to access scores and rankings – both in real-time and at the conclusion of tryouts as rosters are formed.
Tip #8: Determine how to communicate rosters and results
At the conclusion of tryouts, the results and new rosters will need to be communicated to players and parents. It’s important for leagues to have a plan for how to relay rosters to players who make the team, and how to inform the other athletes they didn’t make the squad.
Each league might opt to relay results in a different way. Some post the roster to the league website, while others might call or email each athlete. If posting the roster on the website, ensure player names are not revealed to protect their privacy.
Clubs who use the TeamGenius app can utilize the software to communicate results. Individual score sheets can be sent to each player to relay how he or she performed. It can also show how the athlete ranked in comparison to other participants. The app also gives the option of listing players by their tryouts number, allowing leagues to maintain a level of transparency while still keeping player results private.
However results are communicated, coaches and directors should make themselves available to answer questions from players and athletes. These conversations can help the player improve for next season, and can also help clear up any confusion they might have over the results or team placement.