In this, the fifth and final part of the series, we look at how to tell the trialists whether they have been chosen to join your squad or not.
Once the time arrives to make the selection for the squad, emotions will be running high for you, your team hopefuls and their parents.
Choosing new members for your squad is a time of mixed emotions for a soccer coach. It is such a rewarding experience, seeing the expressions of joy when trialists are told they have been selected for the team.
However, it’s not pleasant informing those not chosen that they haven’t made it. It’s a tough message to give and even harder for the young trialist to accept.
Delivering the bad news isn’t easy but what you say and how you say it may make a difference.
Make your choice as soon as you possibly can after the trials have finished.
Think back to a time you found yourself in a similar situation. Maybe a job interview that you really hoped was successful. Think about how nerve wracking it was and how stressed you felt waiting for an answer.
Multiply these feelings by hundreds and you’ll get an idea of what the trialists are going through. It’s only natural that they are eager to hear the outcome, so make your selection in a timely manner.
You can help control expectations using good communication at the start of the trials. Ensure trialists and their parents are told in advance of when you will give your decision.
Give your decision personally.
Never deliver your message in a written letter. This can prove devastating for those trialists unfortunate not to make the team.
Putting it in a letter may seem like an easy option for you as a coach but is most certainly not the right way to go about it.
The trialists gave you their best efforts during the trials, now they deserve your courtesy and consideration on their game.
If you have lots of players who haven’t been selected for your squad and it really isn’t possible to tell them all individually, get them all together and inform them as a group. However, always offer to meet privately to discuss the matter.
Make it obvious your decision is final and the reason for the meeting isn’t to give parents or trialists a chance to make you change your mind but is for you to explain your reasons for not choosing the player.
Think back again to the job interview that was unsuccessful. All you received was a letter informing you of that. No explanations. No feedback. Nothing to suggest where you could have improved or where you were lacking. If this had been explained to you, it would have been invaluable in knowing where you need development, so improving your chances of success the next time.
Tips on having the conversation
You don’t want to make the player regret that he attended the trial. Understand that it is probably painful for him and he will be feeling somewhat upset at not making the squad.
What you say to the trialist and more crucially how you put it can make all the difference in how quickly he recovers from the disappointment and whether he uses the situation to his advantage by having the determination and motivation to develop his skills.
Receiving such news can have a detrimental effect on the self-esteem and confidence of a player of youth and junior soccer age. Do all you can to make this setback as easy on the player as possible; the last thing you want is to wreck his enthusiasm for the game.
Make him understand that it isn’t a reflection on him as a person. Give him praise where it’s due and tell him and his parents skills you were impressed with as well as what areas need working on.
Offer specific advice on how the trialist can improve his game and encourage him to come back and try again next year. He may need another season to develop his skills and hone his game enough to be capable of playing at a more competitive level.
If you have read the articles in this series, you should have the relevant know-how to give this feedback. Use notes and evaluation forms that have helped you make your decision.
Sometimes parents find it difficult to accept that their child hasn’t been successful and will try to compare him with other players who were selected. You must be clear and firm in this type of situation.
How to deliver the good news
This one is easy. Just simply tell the player he has been successful and enjoy seeing the happiness on his face!
The next job is to integrate him effectively with the rest of the squad but that’s for another day and another soccer article!