Club'ing EU Style: Tryouts

Brace Yourself. Winter is coming and everybody all over Europe knows what does this mean - tryouts. It's time to organize everything and start the search for that new blood that will drive Your club through the seasons in front of You. What does it take to have a successful recruting period? Definetely a lot of luck, but You can help Your luck, by taking the right approach.

Step 1 - Preparation
First of all You need a plan. Where? When? Who? 

You have to decide do You want to do it indoors or outdoors. Of course a field is the perfect place, but in the cuntries in which it's snowing during winter it's not always easy to get a turf field. You can of course do it in a gym, but it's always better to do it in the conditions the players will practice and play in the future. If You can, then do it on turf, unless it's minus 10 Celsius outside, cause that wouldn't do anybody no good.

Date is another important decision. If You have import coaches and players You should always wait for them. If they arrive late, then try to figure out a way for at least one of them to come early. You need their help and experience to do it the right way. I would say do it twice. One time during the week and one time on the weekend. People work and study in different ways and that way You have the best chance of getting everybody to participate.

Third thing You need to decide is who are You actually looking for and this changes along with the experience of a team. If most of Your roster is based on people with 5+ years of experience, then I would say it's a very small chance that somebody starting football at the age of 30 will ever catch up to the veterans. One thing you always need is young blood. Invest in young players, that will always pay off. If a rookie has 10 or more possible years of playing time in front of him, You know he can be even better then the players that are active now, but if You have problems with the roster, then we know You must take almost anybody who might be useful.

Step 2 - Promotion
Team management running around town with posters? Players handing out flyers? Well, we've been there and done that, but even during the time since football started in Poland we learned that it's a wild goose chase and You never know where to exactly go not to waste time. If somebody would ask me how to promote I would use two ways: Media and SOCIAL MEDIA! The second one is from my standpoint the most important. Why? Cause it has great reach and each cheap. `

Send out a press release, record a promo (You can find different examples of tryout promos all over Youtube and I must say many teams really do a great job in taking an original approach) send it out and take over social media. You probably have at least 30-40 players. Each one has many friends, so it's better to ask them for help on their computers. Nothing works as good as buzz marketing!

Another great possibility that Facebook is giving, are the payed ads You can use. What's so great about them? You can target them to the exact group You're looking for, so You don't waste any money on the people that are not relevant.

Another thing i would say is that it's better to do a broad 2 week campaign with something happening everyday, then throwing info here and there for over a month. 

Step 3 - Day 0
The day has come and hopefully You see tens of guys willing to become football players. Make sure You prepare stickers with numbers for them (hint: Your team and sponsor logos on the stickers will always look good), so it's easy to take notes move them and coordinate the whole workout. Make sure that somebody from Your front office is at the site. It's important to show the guys showing up, that You treat them serious. If Your players come to watch, make sure they wear club gear and actually show up to help, not to goof around.

Now to the workout itself. The most important thing is a good warm. You don't want anybody to get injured. Also make sure the players sign a paper that a) they allow You to take pictures, record videos, etc. b) that the club isn't responsible for any injuries. The workout itself is also a big challenge. usually You see 40 yards dash, broad jump, 3-cone drill etc. But think about it, 90% of those guys never did those things, they don't know the technique or the proper stance. So does it makes sense to do all of that? 

This isn't an NFL combine, where everybody comes prepared. It's better to come up with a list for drills that will be easy to teach and easy to compare. What You really want to see is if the guys are athletes and had anything to do with sport, before they came to Your tryout. Running, jumping, some strength, that's what You need. If You make the decision to go with the combine drills, send the guys instruction videos, before they come, You probably know where to find them.

Hope this will help You do it the way You want to. And I wish You the best tryout ever in 2014. It's all for the good of our sport.

Kuba Glogowski