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Tryout Tips

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08-11-2012, 03:07 PM
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Tryout Tips

I'm looking for tips on running a high school hockey tryout (14-18year olds). This is my third year but always looking to improve and figured I may get some decent responses here.

If you coach, what are one or two drills/things you do that really separates the talent? What is the first thing you look for?

Also, tips on keeping it efficient and valueable- expect to have around 50 kids and keep 15+2 for varsity and 18+2 for Junior varsity.

Players, what would you want to do if you could design a tryout? What do you think best gives you the opportunity to show off for a coach?

Parents, what do you remember from your kids' tryouts that gave you a sense that the program knew what they were doing and conducted a fair and thorough tryout process?


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08-11-2012, 05:26 PM
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I hate tryouts that are 100% scrimmage. There's always thoes kids who want to show off to the coach, and NEVER pass the puck, and the kids on a line with him don't get showcased enough. You could have one of the best kids on the ice out there, but you wouldn't know because he wouldn't get the puck alot.

EDIT: Notice I said 100% scrimmage. Of course you are going to need a scrimmage, but just not the whole time. It would go better too if you switched up who they play with everytime too, to avoid what I said.

Last edited by O23L: 08-11-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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08-11-2012, 06:38 PM
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There's quite a few things you can do.

Agility drills, see how fast players can get through a series of cones that tests their ability to tight turn, pivot, mo-hawk on both sides, front and back. Let them carry the puck in some runs, and set up points where they'll need to pass off and then subsequently receive a pass. Usually end this off with a shot on net.

Check out some of the videos on youtube. Search up HockeyUSdotcom, Sean Skinner hockey, Jeremy Weiss and howtohockeydotcom.

They usually have some interesting ideas in their video that can be applied to these drills.

Scrimmage is a must if you want to see player's hockey IQ, position, etc.

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08-11-2012, 08:48 PM
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A lot depends on how much ice / tryout time you have.

Keep it simple.

We use our pre-game warmup to enable players to get a feel for their respective shots, and puck handling skills.

Then it's on to:
1 v 1's.
3 v 3's.
4 v 3's.
Full scrimmage.
And throughout the process, we're constantly changing the colour of pinnies that a player wears.

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08-13-2012, 05:09 PM
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One thing I hated was too many skating drills.. often coaches use them as time killers and to "get warm" but I found it just took away from actual tryout time and got players tired.

I also never liked "winging it" scrimmages. You always get the friends who hog the puck and dominate and the players who actual play a fundamental game in their positions never get noticed. It's too run and gun in a scrimmage to notice anything but the puck rushers.

Lots of 1 on 1's, 2 on 1's, 2 on 2's etc. with some puck handling and shooting drills imo is the best way to really see a players skills. Then a more controlled scrimmage to see some real playing ability.

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08-13-2012, 09:27 PM
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Good thoughts guys- thanks.

I agree, the scrimmages can be a complete waste of time depending on how they will be managed. I'm expecting 45-50 skaters, so for the first two tryouts I think full ice scrimmaging will be a waste. I think I'm going to focus a lot on small area games and I love 1 on 1 battles in the corner.

Last year I had an average sized player tryout who, basically, was average all around in skill. We did some 1 on 1s in the corner and he came out with the puck every time and it didn't really matter who he was up against. I loved it.

I would like a drill to do to time players and have subjective information also, but I haven't really found one I'm thrilled with. Any suggestions?

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