The Cut – part one

The Pre-Season Interest Meeting

“Success doesn’t just come and find you, you have to go and get it.” – The Cheer Truth

This time of year means a lot of different things to people. The shorter days and colder evenings signify the approaching holiday season. It means new boots, fuzzy and cozy sweaters, colorful scarves, and bulky jackets crammed into skinny lockers. It’s the very end of high school football season, so most schools have already had Homecoming and Spirit Week. The hallways are dotted with giant school pride posters, showcasing our school colors and how great we are compared to everyone else. Accompanying the remnants of these posters are much smaller flyers that encourage students to join various winter sports.

“Any boy can hold her hand, but only the elite hold her feet”. Obviously the cheerleaders want boys on their squad.
“Shoot for a Championship. Join Basketball.” Not very creative, but clearly for basketball.
“Keep Calm and Ski On.” Ok.
“You can Run, but You can’t Hide! Join Indoor Track.” “ Join the Pack and Run Track.” It seems like the runners are pretty creative. Maybe that’s what they think about when they are out running.

Like most coaches, I enjoy the pre-season or interest meeting for the upcoming sports season. It is full of hopeful student athletes, some veteran and some brand new. When you walk into the meeting, the room is filled with anticipation and excitement. Smiling faces watch you as you pass around a sign in sheet, introduce yourself as the coach, talk about the sport and the various positions, and remind them to get their physicals done as soon as possible. Next, you explain procedures for tryouts. You know in your heart that each one of these kids has the potential to not only make the team, but to serve a vital role in making the team successful. Still, you know deep down that not all of them will make it through the first week.

Even though you aren’t supposed to, you can’t help but to work out in your mind what position each student could play. Returning players can easily be designated based on previous performances and newcomers can be sorted by size. For example, in basketball centers and point guards are usually taller and muscular; in cheerleading back spots are tall and commanding, while flyers are slender and flexible; in track sprinters and horizontal jumpers have powerful lower bodies while high jumpers and distance runners are more lanky. Still, you know that each player will have to tryout and there could be some surprises along the way.

So, during the evening after the pre-season meeting, you look over your sign-in sheet and start organizing you paperwork for the upcoming season. You want to have everything in order for the first practice. That way you can get through all of the rules, procedures, paperwork, and safety tips as quickly as possible in order to get practicing. You label your accordion folder sections – Emergency Procedures goes first, then contact and medical information (which will be alphabetized by athlete name when you get all of the information back from parents), followed by schedules, attendance, and practice plans/plays or routines. Even a phone chain in case of a last-minute change to the schedule can be created at this point.

You clean out your bag from last season and the full accordion folder goes in, along with a change of clothes and sneakers for practice. It then sits by the door, waiting anxiously to be for the first practice.

Stay tuned for part two next week!

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