The 2018 sporting season is just around the corner, with many sports commencing their pre-season trials in the upcoming weeks. This is a really exciting time of the year as each season gives players the opportunity to restart and strive for greater heights than they reached in previous seasons.

Whether you are joining a new club, looking to make the team higher than you were in last season or just trying to retain your spot in last season's squad - here are 5 tips to remember during this upcoming trial period.

1. LEARN FAST

Whether you are trying to gain selection in a new team or your team has a new coach, it is crucial you learn everything about the way the team works as fast as possible. Learn their standards, protocols and procedures. Learn the warm up pattern. Learn everybody's name. Be told something, execute what you are told and remember it for future reference because coaches love nothing more than players who can retain information. It saves time and confusion. And once you learn it, you can begin to lead and teach other teammates who have forgotten or haven't got the grasp of it just yet.

This makes you indispensable to the team and goes a very long way to ensuring a final selection. Continue to the next point to understand more on how you can become indispensable. 

2. BE PART OF THE TEAM

An honest question you need to ask yourself during the trial period is; if I wasn't in the team, would my absence be recognised?

This refers to a whole range of factors, not just referring to your physical talent. These factors include:

- Would my absence bring down the mood of the team?

- Is there less talk in the squad without me?

- Are drills being performed at a lower level without me?

- Without me, are we making solid progress in becoming a better side?

If you can tick of just one of these checkpoints, you are on your way to becoming indispensable to your team and your coach will keep you in their squad regardless of how talented you are.

Further, if you make a genuine effort to make connections with teammates and coaches - it would be hard to lose a place in the final selections as most coaches want a cohesive, united squad.

3. BE VERSATILE

So often we have seen young athletes blow their opportunity to make squads due to their lack of flexibility in changing positions. In trials, they are often quite disjointed with a lot of stop-start play and large amounts of player rotation so coaches can give everyone a go. 

If you are asked to move into a position that you have not played before; suck it up, move into that position and give it a go. Everyone has to learn at some point.

You can almost put a line through your name if you tell your coach "I haven't played there before, this is my position and I am not changing."

This shows a level of selfishness as you are putting yourself in front of the team. Remember, as junior athletes, a coach may see something in you that you can't see just yet. Be open to new possibilities as you never know where it may lead.

4. EFFORT IS KING

irrespective of your talent on the field, if you put in maximum effort in everything that you do - you will succeed. You only have a limited window to impress, so put everything you have into every session and game. Do not sit back, fearful of what others may think because at the end of the day it is your selection on the line. 

From a coaches perspective, how hard would it be to not choose a player that gives maximum effort every single time they enter the field? You are in full control of your effort output so turn it up and earn that selection!

5. TAKE YOUR OPPORTUNITY

Thankfully in junior sport there are a number of trials players can participate in before a final selection is made. However, do not become complacent and think that you have a number of opportunities to stuff up before you have a stellar performance.

Grab the opportunity from the very first trial and use the remaining trials to reaffirm to the coach that you are going to be a great asset for the remainder of the year.

Good luck to all everyone trialling, be safe, have fun and give it all you've got!

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