TIPS ON HOW TO IMPRESS AT A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL TRIAL
As a footballer with aspirations of breaking into the professional game, the cold reality of football trials is at the least daunting and regularly proves to be too much pressure for some very talented and seasoned players. A trial with a professional club is similar to a very important job interview with the added pressure of sheer numbers of applicants after the realistic small numbers of places in the professional game.
The thought of backing yourself not only against your peers during a trial but also having the added pressure of top scouts, coaches and managers hawking over the trial looking for any weaknesses or lapses in concentration is a lot for any player. The purpose of this blog is to give you a few pointers of how you can prepare yourself physically and mentally prior to a trial to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Remember “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” so take notes and take it seriously or you’re destined to fail before you take a step on the field.
PRE-TRIAL EQUIPMENT PREPARATION
Let’s not understate the importance of a professional trial, this could be a pivotal moment in not in your career but also your life. The importance to be 100% prepared is a necessity, and that starts at turning up on trial day with all of the correct gear for the job.
The night before your big trial, use this checklist when packing you bag and you’ll turn up fully confident you are packed and ready for all eventualities.
- 3 x football boots – a pair of studs and a pair of moulds to be prepared for whatever surface the playing field will offer and a pair of decent AstroTurf boots in case the plating surface is on a 4G pitch.
- Running trainers – you never know there could be some fitness training or gym work thrown in to test your minerals on the treadmill and the last thing you need is to be wearing your Sunday best that will give you a blister in 5 seconds and seriously hamper your progress.
- Shin pads – although you may not be playing games for the full trial, surely enough drills and training is going to be played at full pace with tackles flying in hard. Every player is there to win so there will be no love loss on the pitch.
- Toiletries – although this will not affect the coaches final decision on your future no one wants to start a new career at a football club known as the smelly soap dodger from trials, so don’t forget your Lynx Africa.
Please do not underestimate the fitness expectations of football players at the top level. Sure you may have been banging in 50 goals a season in your local league playing against Barry from the Black Horse Pub, but this is a pro trial and professional levels are expected.
The ideal that silky skills, a David Beckham pass and a rocket of a shot will be enough is a fantasy, yes all these factors help but they need to be built around a platform of professional fitness few will reach unless signed to a pro club.
30 mins a day on a treadmill isn’t going to cut it. Think football related fitness, sprint sessions, speed and agility drills all alongside the hours on the treadmill to get you into the pro player fitness bracket. Remember it’s no good having the best pass in the world if you can’t keep up with the game and get circles ran around you for 90 minutes by fitter players.
KEEP YOUR HEAD AND PLAY YOUR GAME
A professional trial is often an adrenaline roller-coaster evoking many different emotions that you need to try and subdue and player you game. The sheer apprehension and nervousness leading up to a football trial is often enough to throw the best of players so here is how you beat the nerves. Remember going into your trial that only your performance will determine the outcome of the trial so live in the now, you’re here to play football and that’s what you do best so don’t forget that.
You need to blank out the “what if’s” and thoughts of the future, simply play to your strengths. If you are a holding midfielder with a great defensive game don’t start running around the pitch thinking you’re Ronaldo after a 40 yard screamer. Alternatively if you do smash a 40 yard screamer don’t lose your head, remember coaches are looking for professional footballers. Take it in your stride and get back to your game.
In reality as individuals we all prepare for things in different was, be it an interview or a trial. I just hope my words give an insight into what is expected from players signing up for trials at professional clubs. A final point I’d like to leave you with is never give up, decent players have trialed and been let go from multiple clubs before landing that dream contract at a professional club. Be humble in triumph as in disappointment, it shows great character and trust me these things are picked up on and remembered by clubs. If it doesn’t work out first time around, simply dust your boots off and get back on that horse.