One of our Youth Elite Programme players messaged asking for a few tips for an upcoming trial they have, I thought I'd document these and make them available to everyone here on our blog just incase you're looking for some pointers too!
These combine what I found worked for me at trials as a player and later what myself and other coaches looked for in players attending trials.
1. Think about what has got you this far that coaches have liked. Write those things down and aim to do more of the same.
2. Note down things which help you feel most prepared before a match and tick them off so you turn up feeling prepared and ready. Some examples: 8 hours sleep, kit bag packed the night before, consuming certain foods, drinking a certain amount of fluid, listening to music, watching a highlight reel of yourself, visualizing your best performance, visualizing how you will react positively to making a mistake, watching a favorite tv show, practicing a weakness, mobility routine, bath ect.
3. Have confident body language, shoulders back, head up, smile, make eye contact with coaches.
4. Make sure your boots are clean!!!
5. Wear professional looking training kit that stands out (if wearing your own). Coaches have a lot of names to remember, if your appearance stands out they can easily refer to and remember you i.e “the player in the full red adidas kit looks like a player…”
6. Communicate constructively with other players whenever possible on the pitch, this can get you noticed even if you can’t get on the ball and make you stand out as a leader. Anyone walking past should know you’re on the pitch without even looking because they can hear you.
7. Exaggerate checking your shoulders every time before you receive the ball.
8. Receive the ball on the half turn.
9. If you make a mistake, react fast to win it back and make the next thing you do on the ball simple so that you can reset your mindset and mistakes don’t start to stack up and build pressure on you.
10. Play with energy and intensity on and off the ball. Every pass should be crisp and never lazy.
11. If you want to receive the ball, demand it with confidence.
12. Have a plan of what you want to do with the ball before receiving it (checking shoulders)
13. Don’t overthink things, you’ve got to this stage for a reason, the coaches clearly like you and want you to do well.
14. Focus on mastering your own performance and what’s within your control, try not to compare yourself with others.
15. Move well in the warmup - with control, balance and as much quality as possible. Players who stand out as good athletes will stand out by a mile and give the coach a great first impression. Often the best players are the ones who move well.
16. Complete the pre-match script so your mind is focused and calm.
17. Enjoy it! The coaches want to see that you’re enjoying playing and you are calm and relaxed in pressure environments.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
P.S if you're the parent of a talented footballer aged 12-18 who:
You believe could get selected by a pro club, if only they were stronger, faster, fitter or suffered less injuries.
Has trials coming up and wants to be in the best shape and form possible.
Has been released by a pro club for reasons related to their physicality or fitness.
Is currently at a pro club, but underperforming and at risk of being released.
Is currently at a pro club and playing well, but looking to gain an edge.
Then check out the details of our Youth Elite Programme here.