You Didn’t Make The Cut…Now What?


You trained hard leading up to tryouts, getting in extra ball time, putting in hours upon hours training.

You thought you were ready.

Tryouts came and went and, even though you were under the impression you did well, your name wasn’t called when the team was selected.

What happened?

You literally did everything you thought you should do to make the team. Not getting selected can be an incredibly frustrating experience.

Sports is not always fair. It can’t be. Given the nature of sports, the ultimate object of a club team is to win and the coaches must select a team that is talented, gels well together, has the right number of positional players, and has the willingness to learn and improve in order to win those games.

So what do you do now?

Dealing with not being selected can be both a challenging and determining time for an athlete’s sporting development.

Below are some tips to help you strengthen your coping skills to effectively deal with non- selection and build ongoing motivation and commitment to continue to strive to achieve your goals in sport.

– Accept the coach’s decision

Don’t complain that you should have made the squad or reprimand the coach for their decision. This will make things worse for everyone involved. The truth is, at this point, you don’t know why the coaches chose not to choose you as part of the team.

– Embrace your feelings

Take a moment to figure out what it is that you’re feeling. Are you angry? Are you sad? Are you embarrassed? Are you confused? Understand your emotions and allow them to happen. Don’t push away your feelings and try to convince yourself that you don’t care about what happened. You do care, and that is great! Once you have accepted your feelings, you can use them to fuel your commitment to the sport.

– Talk to people

Be proactive in connecting with your support network (e.g., family member, friend, teammate, coach) and express how you are feeling when ready. Tell those you care about what support you need from them. Be kind to yourself and allow some time to digest and accept the situation before resetting your goals.

– Talk with the coaches

Once you’ve had time to accept the decision and understand what you’re feeling, ask the coaches why you didn’t make the team. They may be able to let you know what skills were needed or in what areas you were lacking. You can use this constructive criticism to help you train harder and smarter.

– Create a plan of action

How will you train and improve? Reflect back on what the coach told you were skills needed and incorporate those into your training. Work closely with your coaches to see what part of your game needs the most help. You can also ask those who did make the team what they did to prepare.

Go to the games of the club team you were cut from. Show the coach that you are genuinely interested and that you mean business. Take notes on the other players who made it over you. What are they doing differently? What are they doing well? What mistakes are they making? Analyse their every move.

Remember…Use non-selection as an opportunity

Michael Jordan is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time and often stated “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed”. He was even cut from his basketball team in Year 9.

While it may be hard to appreciate at the time, non-selection situations offer athletes powerful opportunities to learn and grow their skills. After understanding and dealing with the initial emotions of the situation, make sure you clearly understand why you were not selected and what specifically you can improve in future. Use this information to reset your goals with renewed drive and commitment and ultimately come back even stronger than before.

If things ever get too much and you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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