Daily Archives: March 5, 2010

What’s the deal with conditioning and HS tryouts?

This is the week for high school tryouts. And with it come the interesting stories.

I’ve heard from several of my students who told me that much of their tryouts were spent not showing their skills, but running, running running.

Not to go all Seinfeld on you, but what’s the deal with that? I know tryouts for the most part are perfunctory. Most teams, especially varsity teams, are chosen well in advance. Still, wouldn’t you think that coaches would want to take as long a look at the skills of their players as they can, to make sure no stone is left unturned?

All I can figure is they’re trying to weed out the girls who are just dabbling, or trying softball for the first time. That’s a shame. A school sport should be more inclusive, at least at the lower levels. Why make it miserable right off the bat?

Some schools have trouble even fielding teams at all levels. Running the girls to death is no way to get them out. It’s not that I’m anti-conditioning. It’s an important part of sports performance. But why not ease them into it? Or build up to it? After all, it’s not soccer or basketball. It doesn’t take all the much endurance to play our sport. Conditioning is not the game-changer it is in continuous motion sports.

Start with a reasonable amount and work your way up. Better yet, work conditioning into skills training to maximize your efficiency. With a little effort and imagination it can be done. And that way, you’re not turning off kids who might otherwise be able to make a real contribution to the team.

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