The friendship between Diane and Alicia started six years ago when both began playing soccer in their local recreational program. After attending elementary school together, they were looking forward to being in the same middle school home room. Before their middle school started in September they decided to try out for the soccer team together. On the first day of school, both girls were faced with a personal dilemma. Alicia was named to the soccer team. Diane was not, as she was one of several players not making the final roster.
Why Roster Cuts?
It can be difficult for youth athletes to understand the team tryout process and the eventual roster cuts which are made. The decision to make cuts, especially for school-related teams, may be one based on financial reasons as the cost of operating a team can directly affect roster size. While some larger school districts – particularly at the middle school and freshman levels – may create additional teams to avoid player cuts, financial realities make this impossible for smaller districts.
Achieving a higher level of competitiveness may also be a reason for player cuts. In a perfect world, every coach would have the ability to properly rank the talent of those players trying out. However, the world is not perfect nor is any coach. For example, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks was told by his coach he was too short for high school ball.
At the high school level, many coaches utilize the tryout/cut process to avoid situations where players become disheartened over not seeing any playing time. Whether a starter or a player listed last on the depth chart, every team member must put in the required ‘sweat equity’ at each practice. Just as the starting midfielder has to do his homework just before bed time, so does the player never leaving the sideline. In some instances, not cutting players can have an adverse effect on the team.
Bouncing Back from Disappointment
Increasing Effort – When Anthony was initially cut in high school, was he disappointed? Yes, but he did not allow it to consume him. He continued to work on his skills. A six-inch growth spurt during the summer and a school transfer certainly helped put Anthony’s basketball skills in front of college recruiters, but had he given up would that have happened?
Keep Your Friends – As in the scenario of Alicia and Diane, there are going to be times when one friend makes it and another doesn’t. Don’t let resentment and disappointment ruin a friendship. And for the friend ‘making the team,’ make it a point to include your friend in outings and pick-up games.
Look Elsewhere – There may recreational leagues not affiliated with a school. This goes with getting better at the sport. Or, try another sport which is played at the same time. In the case of Diane, her running stamina for soccer may make her a candidate for the school cross country team.
Athletics Mirror Life
While getting cut may presently seem to be the most devastating event in a person’s life, it is merely a bump on the road toward becoming an adult. Taking time to reflect on what happened is going to be a natural occurrence, but in time you will grow from the experience. Refresh and reboot to a more positive future. Most importantly, never give up.