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Telling Players They Didn’t Make the Team

By TeamGenius, 09/29/21, 11:00AM EDT


It's not easy for coaches or players

Photo Credit: Tim Bates/OJHL Images

It’s never easy to be told that you didn’t make the team. And telling players that they didn’t make the team is just as difficult of a feeling.

Tryouts can be a stressful time for parents and players and there are many factors that go into a coach’s decision on finalizing the roster. A lot can change from the start of a season to the end of it and it’s important for coaches and players alike to enter tryouts with a clean slate and a fresh perspective.

Remember, tryouts exist to place players at appropriate levels with their peers to ensure the best possible experience on the ice, not to discourage them from playing the sport. Coaches should be ready to provide options to players of what their best fit could be and inform them of the next steps.

There are a number of things coaches should remember when having to name the final roster for a team to improve the experience for everyone involved.


Coaches can inform players if they were successful in making the team in a number of ways. It is recommended that however you let the players know that it is not done in a public setting. The coach can contact each player individually or meet in-person to inform them of their decision. Naming a roster privately saves players from seeing the reactions of others or risk being embarrassed or disappointed in front of their friends.


Let players know upfront when the deadlines will be for roster selection and how the process will work. Will there be a series of cuts throughout Tryouts or just a final selection? It’s unfair to players to be hanging in the balance on a decision that is out of their hands. Players and parents will want to plan their next steps if they don’t make the team and the longer they have to wait the more it will inconvenience them.

Photo Credit: Brian Woo

Positive Messaging

Explain to the players what you liked about them during the tryouts process. Every player offers a unique skillset to a team and it’s about finding the best match and combination of skills as a group. Encourage them to try out again next season and give them areas of their game you think they can work to improve on.

Be Accountable

Be prepared to answer any questions a player or parent may have about why they didn’t make the team. Let players know before tryouts begin about what you are looking for. Provide an evaluation sheet and explain how the tryout performance wasn’t a perfect fit for the team. Avoid comparing players to each other and focus on the individual’s skills.


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TeamGenius is the leading hockey evaluation software provider for minor hockey associations. Founded in 2015, TeamGenius serves thousands of youth athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers with an easy-to-use platform for managing tryouts, clinics, coach & player development programs. TeamGenius is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, visit

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