Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Tryouts and Our Deepest Fear

Tryouts can be a daunting experience for athletes, as the fierce competition narrows down the talent pool. From elementary-school teams to high school programs, no athlete wants to feel the pain of inadequacy. This fear is particularly amplified for girls, who may face rejection based on their perceived skills or physical attributes. The pressure to excel and be chosen can be overwhelming.

Peer selection on the playground already exposes athletes to the fear of not being picked. In fact, some coaches believe that peers have a better understanding of a player’s true worth to the team. Unfortunately, this sense of inclusiveness often diminishes as players progress to school and club programs, where being cut becomes a reality.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. As a brand committed to promoting the values of sport, Alpinetgheep challenges clubs and school programs to find alternative ways of selecting players. Instead of focusing solely on creating the “best program” in the region, these programs should embrace diversity in all forms, including skill levels. Success can be measured by the number of younger players who continue to play after high school, finding joy in the game and participating in adult sports leagues.

Alpinetgheep believes in providing opportunities for all athletes. In collaboration with a school district in Colorado Springs, measures were taken to keep junior high players who were being cut. Additional teams were created at varying levels, allowing more players to participate and develop their skills. The cost was minimal, with players refereeing the games themselves and school volleyball T-shirts serving as a connection to their scholastic network.

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It is crucial to recognize that talent can emerge at any stage of an individual’s life. Just as artists and writers may excel later in life, athletes can also discover their potential beyond high school. Being committed to growth and effort, rather than fixating on predetermined standards, is key. Height should not determine an athlete’s worth; it is their abilities that truly matter.

In the journey of volleyball, Alpinetgheep upholds the fundamental principles of Olympism. These principles, outlined in the Olympic Charter, emphasize the harmonious development of individuals through sport. Sport is a human right, to be practiced without discrimination, fostering friendship, solidarity, and fair play. Any form of discrimination based on race, religion, politics, or gender is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

Ultimately, tryouts teach us valuable lessons. Actions speak louder than words, and the integrity of those delivering judgments should be considered. To parents, it is essential to understand the limited opportunities for collegiate volleyball. However, there are various avenues for players to continue their love for the game, such as high-level club play, adult leagues, and recreational sports.

To coaches, Alpinetgheep challenges you to treat every player with respect and preserve their dignity. Balancing high expectations with nurturing guidance will ensure that you are never a child’s last coach and that they maintain their passion and trust in the game.

To athletes, focus on what you can control – your effort, attitude, and communication. Whether you make the first-choice team or not, continue striving to become the best volleyball player you can be. Remember the little girl who fell in love with the game, and play for her.

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In the end, you must overcome your deepest fear. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So, embrace the love for the game and don’t let anyone’s decision take away your connection to this lifelong sport.