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So your child didn't make the team. Now what?

By Tom Bly, Chair, Coaches Program, 05/03/19, 11:30AM EDT


7 thoughts for Parents to keep tryouts in perspective

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

The Tryout period is one of the most stressful parts of the hockey season for players, parents and coaches. There are only a certain number of spots available on a team and not everyone can make the final roster. Keeping Tryouts in perspective and finding the positives from any outcome can help all parties accept and move on with the final decision.

The purpose of Tryouts is to place athletes with like-skilled players for the best opportunities at skill development. By evaluating the skill level of players, they can be appropriately put on a team with their peers.

Parents want what’s best for their child and want to fix whatever is making them upset. However it is important to remember to look at the Tryouts from your child’s perspective and not as mom or dad. Here are seven thoughts for parents of what to do if your child doesn’t make the team.

Life Lessons

There are many life lessons that not making a team can offer a child. It teaches them about not always getting what they want, how to handle disappointment and working towards their goals. These are valuable teachings that will help players later in life as they not only try out for more teams but enter the work force as well. Players will learn to work hard in order to achieve what they want in many areas of life.

Offer Skill-Building Exercises

Help your child improve for the next tryouts. Volunteer to work with them or help them build a skill-building schedule. Programs like the OMHA Players Club can help players improve their shot, coordination and agility through a series of three different challenges and they can all be done from their own driveway or basement. It’s a great way to keep improving over the off-season without actually lacing up skates.

Looking to work on your hockey skills over the summer?

Download the 5000 Puck, 10,000 Touches and 30/30 challenge tracking sheets and register for the OMHA Players Club! Work on the challenges at your own pace in your driveway or basement and be eligible for prizing.

Be Supportive

Offer your support and listen to your child. Let them know that you understand the emotions that they are feeling. Be supportive and help them redirect their disappointment into creating positive solutions. Don’t blame them or make this about yourself. The decision not to select your child was not personal.


Not making the final roster isn’t the end of the world for a player. There are many other options that exist where they can still play hockey next season and make new friends on another team. The passion for the game is still there and you don’t have to be the best at something in order to enjoy it. Reset and create short and long term goals and stay engaged and focused on achieving them. Tryouts are used to put players together that have similar skill levels.

Photo Credit: Brian Woo

Be Prepared

Know the next steps. Be aware of what your options are and what the process is if your child doesn’t make the team that they wanted. This isn’t the end of the road and they are still able to play hockey next year. Reach out to your local association if you have any questions about the best route.

Seek Feedback

Once emotions have cooled off, you can calmly approach the coach and ask what areas your child can improve in to have a better chance of making the team next year. Coaches should be able to provide feedback and reasons why they decided to go in a different direction. You may not be able to control the Tryout process but you can control how you react.

Take a Break with Other Sports

Trying out other sports in the summer helps players stay in game shape while taking a break away from hockey. Come back in the Fall with a renewed energy and focus on the game without risking burnout in the off-season. Playing other sports has been proven to help boost hockey skills like hand-eye coordination. Players can grow their skills without actually picking up a stick or puck.


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Tom Bly is a Barrie, ON native and holds the position of Chair, Coaches Program in the OMHA.

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