15 kids per coach…
Coaches with preconceptions…
5 minutes to bat and bowl...
One chance to shine...
How on earth are you supposed to stand out at a junior rep trial?
Obviously it’s a tough assignment!
During my time at QLD Cricket I was involved as a selector/advisor at a lot of junior rep trials and I can tell you it’s also a very tough task for the coaches and selectors.
No matter how hard you try to go in with an open mind...
Very limited time to get through a lot of players and your eyes having to be in many places at once make it hard not to go in with some sort of idea of the team you want, making it very hard for players to stand out.
It’s often a hot topic…politics in junior cricket.
I think you’ll find that in any sport, any age, any level there’s some sort of politics. People tend to go with things they know and like. Not just in sport but life as well. And if a player’s been in the team and done a reasonable job, someone’s got to do something pretty special to jump the queue.
Aside from that, at the end of the day selections are always going to be a matter of opinion that are open to debate. There's no clear right or wrong.
In saying that, here’s our top 6 ways to stand out from the crowd at rep training.
1. BE EARLY
If you’re not early you’re late. Get to the ground with plenty of time to get your gear on, screen up, fill the water bottle and make yourself known. There’s nothing worse that a player rocking up just on time or even late, instant cross against the name and one that's very hard to come back from.
TIP: If you are going to be late, please make sure you or your parents notify whoever you need to early enough. It’s a sign of respect and they’ll appreciate it.
2. BE INDEPENDENT
Once you arrive make sure you’re independent. That starts with getting your own bag out of the car and carrying it yourself. It should absolutely never happen but when I see a parent carrying a players bag for them that’s the ball game, no coming back. Your parent’s won’t be there to carry your bag at the carnival.
3. INTRODUCE YOURSELF
An extension of #2. This one isn’t a necessity but going up to confidently introduce yourself to every coach and selector on the day makes for a great first impression and you’ll be in their mind throughout the day then. Don't over play it and look like a suck up, but this is a good one.
4. PLAY YOUR NATURAL GAME
DO NOT try to be something you’re not. I think a lot of players think they need to be the most powerful hitter of the ball, fastest bowler and biggest turner. If you go away from your natural game, you’ll look stupid. This is where understanding your strengths and weaknesses is so critical, a learning process that we take all of our junior academy players through. Stick to your game, if it’s not good enough then seek feedback on how you can improve it to a level so that it is.
5. POSITIVE INTENT
There’s other ways to stand out. Always show positive intent in whatever you do. If you’re bowling appeal when you think it’s out, celebrate when you get a wicket. Don’t carry on and go overboard but compete as if you would in a game, that shows enthusiasm and competitiveness which coaches love.
If you’re batting with a partner call loudly and positively. If you’re batting on your own, drop a few balls close to your feet, call loudly and take off as if you’re going for a single. That show’s coaches that you’re thinking about how you’d bat in a game, not just mindlessly hitting balls.
I know not everyone is loud and boisterous but you’ve got to find an alter ego when you cross the white line.
Note: I’ve got a great PDF about creating your own alter ego in sport. If you’d like it hit me up on FB chat. I’ll comment below this article so you can access my profile.
6. THANK THE COACHES
You've turned up early, shown your independence and introduced yourself confidently to the coaches. Stuck to YOUR game and done so with a positive intent in everything you did. Well done. Now it’s time to confidently thank the coaches for the session and walk away knowing you’ve done EVERYTHING you can do to make that team.
If it happens great! If not, it’s not the end of the world (or anywhere near it).
Junior rep carnivals are great fun, allow you to meet new mates and learn a lot. But playing junior rep cricket does not mean you’re going to ‘make it’ as a cricketer.
I’ve seen so many players come from no rep cricket to be very good senior crickets and visa versa, plenty of young guns fall away.
No matter what always seek feedback on how you can continually get better.
Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - ACI Co Founder and Coach