Positive Coaching Alliance: 5 tips for removing biases from youth sports tryouts

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Positive Coaching Alliance: 5 tips for removing biases from youth sports tryouts

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Development Zone of Positive Coaching Alliance. US Club Soccer is proud to welcome Positive Coaching Alliance to its members, specifically related to Players First. Positive Coaching Alliance is helping to advance the Players First pillars of Coaching EducationParent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety.

Chris Knutson, co-founder of TeamGenius, shares five tips to eliminate biases and create the fairest possible environment in tryouts. 

Ideally, every tryout would see all participants perform to their highest potential, evaluators score each individual justly, and each drill is explained and ran flawlessly. However, this is often not the case. Youth players might not play up to their best abilities, evaluators might score players inappropriately, and drills can be unorganized or ineffective. 

These five tips can help clubs remove biases from their tryouts:

  1. Get third-party evaluators. Those who rate the athletes in tryouts should be outsiders with no prior connections to the participants or their families, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
  2. List players by their tryout number only to the evaluators. Not having the athletes names leaves the scorers with less material for biases.
  3. Vary the types of drills. This allows players with different strengths to showcase their best skills. Include technical skills on the ball, scrimmages, and game-time scenarios. 
  4. Make sure to note the intangibles. Traits such as, coachability, hustle, and effort can’t be seen in physical attributes or statistics, but can help make a player and team great. 
  5. Make results transparent to players and parents. Sharing both the evaluation form templates and scores will help show the participants’ families that the tryouts were free of bias. 

Click here to read the entire article and download the five tips.