Proven Tips for Returners and First Timers
Tips for Veterans:
- Accept your role as the savvy vet: You are the one who is prepared for everything… even for your teammates being under prepared. “Anyone need sunblock? How about Gatorade powder?” This is your time to shine. “Tender ankle? Hold on, I got an extra brace in the car.” “Gotta leave early and need a ride? Hold on, my girlfriend is around the block” Make yourself an in-disposable asset to the team.
- On wearing last year’s team gear: ball’s in your court. At its best: it shows you’ve made this team before, and can act as instant intimidation to any up-and-comer trying to guard you. At its worst: it’s a target, meaning Joey Hustlepants is gonna try his absolute hardest on you to make a name for himself.
- Inceptioning: Anytime there is a conversation about past tournament glory, subtly steer the conversation towards that one tournament where you had that one good game. i.e. “Yea, that Regionals finals universe point win was pretty sick, but you can’t say it was better than that one sectionals pool play game against Springfield, right? Man… I was grooving that game. I had like 4 scores. We crushed them.”
- Excuses are easy to find when you are looking for them: Ultimate is full of uncontrollables. It’s your job to shift the blame for any mistakes you make during tryouts off of you and onto these uncontrollables.
i.e. “I would’ve got up for that huck but my ankle is all messed up from rolling it during warm ups on this patchy field.”
Or, “I would’ve ran that down but my ankle still hasnt recovered from last year when I rolled it… at last years tryouts.”
Or, “I got no agility. These cleats are too new, they are killing my feet.”
Or, “I got no agility. These cleats are too old, they are killing my feet.”
Or, know your season. “Man, sorry about that drop. My eyes are bugging out from these spring allergies… I could barely see that disc.” (This one is especially easy to sell if you’ve just moved somewhere new for tryouts.) “We don’t have pollen like this back in Kansas.”
- Find your match up and exploit it: Tryouts are a great time to suddenly become BFFs with Andy Cantthrow from last years summer league team. Between your chatting sessions, you can conveniently match up in drills and scrimmages. Captains aren’t gonna remember that you kept Mac’ing and D’ing the same chump every time. They’re just gonna remember that you kept getting Mac’s and D’s, right?
- Dog-eat-dog World: when no one is looking drink as much n00b’s water as possible or even just pour it out. When the next water break happens they will invariably bring up that someone drank their water. Shoot back with, “Are you seriously accusing one of us of stealing your drink?! Talk about trust issues.”
- Sell yourself: when you’re uncleating, make sure to mention how much you work out. Say something like “Sorry I got to jet out of here. I’m maxing out on squats today.” Whether or not this is true is of little consequence. Other examples: “Does anyone else here do Crossfit?” then mention some combination of sprints, pull ups, and push-ups… and then throw out a random amount of time it took you to complete. If you really wanna sell it, ask one of the players that confirmed they also do Crossfit how long it took them. They’ll surely respond with a similar time, as they are undoubtedly completely full of shit too.
- Making a name after hours: the tryout committee and sure locks for the team will undoubtedly go and get drinks after tryouts. It’s your job to infiltrate the drinking destination and buy everybody rounds… because people like you when you buy beer.
- Drop the guilt bomb: Anytime you are around the captains talk as if you are already on the team for this season. Make them believe you are really invested, and your self-worth as a person and identity are entirely dependent on your status as a member of this team. Tell them how excited you are to hit up that Waffle House again that’s next to the team hotel at Sectionals every year. Tell them how pumped you are to actually be healthy and playing your best for that early east coast tournament you always go to. Ask if other guys from last years squad are a sure thing to be playing again with US this season. Point out new guys you see at tryouts who might be fringe additions for US this year. Lay it on thick, and really put the ball in their court to have to crush your dreams if they want you off this team.
Tips for First Timers:
- The Bait and Switch: Beg, borrow, or steal some sweet merch that everyone knows will have some cache. Be it a club natties jersey from years past that indicates “I’ve been to the show, therefore I’m good”, or some college swag from one of the many storied programs like Stanford, Wisconsin, or Carleton. (However, be wary of swag from Santa Barbara, Florida, and Kansas as they carry some baggage.)
- Standing out from the crowd: Just like in College, Club is 80% about style and 20% about playing well. Accessorizing properly can be the difference. In the case of arm bands, you can never have too many. Shooting sleeves? Check. Arm bands on top of shooting sleeves? Go for it. Head band around the neck? Check. Backwards trucker hat that has something mildly offensive written on it? If you got it, sport it. Livestrong bands? Those weren’t a passing fad.
- Self-Preservation: Whenever there is a break and the captains are explaining something new, save your energy and sit on the ground Indian style. Captains will love the initiative to preserve your energy for when it matters. You can extend this self-preservation further by always walking and taking your time to reach the huddle. Not only will captains pick up on your smarts by being cautious about wasting energy, but its a great power move as well. By being the last one to the huddle you will establish your superiority, because they will not be able start without you.
Final Note for First-Timers: It’s really hard to make a club team for the first time. Like really hard. And club is really expensive. I don’t know if you realize how expensive it is. This team is really cliquey too. You probably wouldn’t have that good of a time. So… I wouldn’t even try out if I were you. Just leave another spot for one of the veteran returners. Last year’s team didn’t really even have any holes anyways. Seriously, just don’t try out.
A savvy Veteran Returner