Tryouts preparation guide
Building a strong foundational membership for your esports program is key to it's continued development. Whether your school is interested in building a varsity team or simply wants to develop the level of consistency that will allow them to compete in state championships, hosting tryout opportunities will set the precedence for a level of quality that will help the players and their school sponsors understand what to expect from their teams.
There are 3 key reasons for hosting tryouts:
Establishing Skill Level - It's important for school sponsors and players alike to have a clear understanding of their current skill level and how they perform in a competitive environment.
Understanding Commitment Level - Skill level is only one part of the equation; players can't apply those skills if they miss gameday! Hosting multiple or extended tryout events can help school sponsors gauge the overall consistency and ability for players to make it to practices and games on time.
This can also help sponsors and teams understand which players should be positioned as main players or substitutes. For more information on the role of substitutes on a team, check out our "Can I have substitutes for my team?" guide.
Positioning Key Players - Once the skill and commitment level of each player starts to become clear, it's important to start discussions concerning positions and leadership. Are there any players that stand out in terms of game sense, mechanical skill and shot-calling? Are there any that prefer particular positions and synergize well with particular members of their teams? This is a good time to make a note of these details so every player can enter the preseason with clear expectations of their role in the team.
Note: We now have team captain slots available! Check out our team captain guide for more details.
A tryout event can take many shapes and forms - here are a few examples of what tryouts for a school esports program can look like:
Small Scale Tryout Tournaments
This can be a short, weeklong tournament where the players who score exceptionally can be considered to qualify for seasonal competition. If the game is team-based, tryout teams can be randomized, or students can be surveyed for their skill level and paired in balanced teams. Tryout tournaments can be held for both junior varsity and varsity levels.
Tournament organizing software like Toornament can be helpful for organizing tournament brackets.
Training camps can be a good way to give players a preview of the competitive season, while also assuring a higher level of baseline skill. The benefit of a "bootcamp" style of tryouts is that it allows players to start as entry level recruits and help them decide for themselves whether or not they're good candidates; this is a more comprehensive and demonstrative approach that can help build a level of retention right from the start.
We offer two levels of camp coaching (beginner and intermediate). Our coaches can teach at both junior varsity and varsity levels.
If students are not able to attend tryouts in person, players can submit materials for review. They can submit recorded scrimmages (with examples of their communication skills), list past competitive experience, and submit video interviews.
A couple of final points to keep in mind:
Regardless of the style of tryout, It's important to clarify all the requirements for making a team from the start. For example, if players are expected to attend 1 practice and 1 gameday a week, it should be clearly indicated to them (a written handout or registration form with these details would be recommended). Requirements can include a specific rank in each game, familiarity with specific roles, requirements to bring peripherals or other equipment, and even GPA requirements.
Tryouts can be announced in a variety of ways; we recommend a combination of verbal, paper and digital notices. The school's morning broadcasts can be a good way to get the news out, as well as classroom announcements from faculty members who will be sponsoring the program. Flyers posted around campus can be a good way to catch some student's attention, and emails coupled with social media posts can also help parents stay in the loop.
These considerations will help to streamline and make tryouts a fun and effective way to build core teams that'll take your esports program to new heights!
If you have any questions, please reach out to email@example.com.