Hockey Tryouts: What You Need To Know!

Here is a list of helpful hints to remember before and during tryouts.
Here we are again, it is that time in late summer when all youth hockey players, parents and coaches are gearing you for tryouts.

It is that time to prove yourself to a coach or selection committee, whether you are beginning hockey for the first time as a Mite or getting ready to make the AAA Midget Team.

The key elements to having a successful tryout is to be properly prepared - that goes for both the parents and players. Players need to be prepared mentally as well as physically and parents play an important role in assisting their child in the preparation stage.

There are as many different styles of tryouts as there are coaches in the country. But there is one common element - players will be evaluated on the basic skills of the game: skating, puck control skills, shooting, passing and an understanding of the game.

Here is a list of helpful hints to remember before and during tryouts.

Players Checklist:

  • Get on the ice a few weeks before the tryouts. Even if you are active during the summer, you need to get your "hockey coordination" tuned up.

  • Get yourself into skating shape, no matter what age level you play.

  • Talk to the coach in advance to get a better understanding of what competition you will be facing.


    • Present your best effort during all activities.
    • Remain calm and play close attention to instructions.
    • Make sure your equipment is in great shape.
    • Always be on time and ready to go.
    • Be relaxed, go out and have a lot of fun.


    • Be nervous or anxious.
    • Enter tryouts without being in skating shape.
    • Be afraid to ask questions.
    • Forget that an all out effort is important.
    • Forget to have fun.
    • Forget it is truly only a game.

Parents Checklist:

  • Find out the organization's policies and procedures at tryouts.
  • Assist your child in getting some ice time well before tryouts begin.
  • Ask who the coach is and how the players will be evaluated.
  • Keep expectations realistic.
  • Know your child needs to enjoy himself/herself and be relaxed.
  • Remind your child this is not a matter of life or death.


    • Keep the tryouts in the proper perspective.
    • Keep everything positive.
    • Have fun with your child.
    • Stay calm for your child.


    • Create additional pressure for your young players.
    • Get uptight during the tryout process.
    • Create a negative environment.
    • Set unrealistic expectations.

Activities In Preparation For Tryouts:

  • Get On The Ice & Skate: Concentrate on quick stops and starts; change of direction and tight hockey turns.

  • Puck Control: Handle the puck while skating; use your skates; front to back as well as side to side dribbles.

  • Off Ice: Stick handle in your driveway using a tennis ball; wiffle ball or street hockey puck. Get on roller blades to get the rhythm of skating. Practice shooting the puck.

Both parents and players must remember it is not a matter of life and death. It is supposed to be a game all of us enjoy to play and watch. Pressure and unrealistic expectations are the biggest problem that a player has to deal with during the tryout process. Be calm, go out and have a ball!

Submitted by: Val Belmonte