I wrote in an earlier article that tryouts are a stressful time for players and parents. Only a chosen few will be selected from the many that show up for the coveted spots on the team.

Sometimes it’s a numbers game, sometimes it’s political, but whatever the reasons, your expectations weren’t met and you or your son/daughter didn’t make the team. Now, what do you do?


This leads to my first point. Prior to tryouts, lower your expectations! I’m not saying you or your kids shouldn’t set standards or strive to achieve great things; however, some things are out of your control. It’s in these situations that you shouldn’t expect your needs will always be met (such as a coach cutting your kid from the team).

Unless you’re the one picking the team, you do not (or should not) have any say in the matter. Take the emotions out and let it be. The attitude going into tryouts should be, “Do your best and let the chips fall where they may”. Really, what other choice do you have?


You gave it your all and your name wasn’t selected. You now have two choices.

  1. Let it quash your dreams


  1. Use it as fuel for bigger things to come

If you’re getting cut for the first time, CONGRATULATIONS; you’ve just had a great learning experience! Parents…use this moment to teach your kids that sometimes life hands you a setback. Being cut is not what defines you but it’s how you handle the setback that will.

I’ve coached hockey for over 20 years and had the unpleasant experience of “releasing” many players. It’s not fun! However, I urged players and parents to use this experience as motivation for the future. Very often I was quoted as saying, “Prove me wrong!”. Even though you didn’t make my team this year, I still want the best for you and hope that you’ll use this experience as motivation.


Here is how to best handle the situation when you or your son/daughter didn’t make the team.

  1. Thank the coach or organization for their consideration
  2. Ask for feedback on what to work on for the future
  3. Give your child/parent a big hug and tell them that you love them
  4. Get to work on the next challenge
  5. Do not post or rant negativity on social feeds! This will come back to bite you!

Life is about successes and setbacks. Both are good if viewed with the right perspective.

  • Adam Bennett is a coach & mentor for student/athletes at International Hockey Academy Florida in Clearwater, FL. Visit for more information.

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