Football Trial Preparation

We often receive emails asking for tips and advice on how to prepare for a football trial.

So, this article should help to calm any nerves and help you plan out the weeks leading to your trial.

Trial Nerves Are Expected

Whether you’re attending a live assessment trial or an exit trial, it is likely to be one of the most stressful events during your football career. These stress levels can be even higher for youth footballers.No matter how experienced a you are, the thought of putting your talents on show to impress a recruitment team, will cause cold sweats and anxiety for even the most confident players.Therefore…Understanding how to prepare for a football trial is essential to give yourself the best chance of success.Below is our guide for everything you need to consider in the build-up to your trial.

How to Prepare for a Football Trial?

In some ways being noticed by a football scout is the easy part, as now is when the real hard work begins.

This is when you need to increase your football training intensity, to ensure you are ready come trial time.

If you’re not already doing so, we suggest training on certain aspects every single day to ensure your game is well rounded in all areas.

No matter how good you think you are, there is always room for improvement.

football_training_field

Start a Training Journal

You should create a personal training and development schedule to work towards your trial date that covers the main four areas of the football academy framework:Technical preparation: Working individually on basic skills, such as dribbling, passing, shooting, close control and ball manipulation.Tactical preparation: One of the best ways to improve your tactical awareness is by watching professional footballers.Try to watch games from all over the world, concentrating on players in your position.Notice how hard they work when not in possession, how they communicate with teammates, their style of play and how efficient they are with the ball.This will give you an understanding of awareness, positioning with and without the ball and vision.Mental preparation: Try to visualise the trial game in your head. Imagine yourself dribbling past a defender, scoring a goal or saving a penalty.Relax your mind and keep focused. Try to surround yourself with positive people, who can encourage you and keep your mind clear of negativity.Some of the main personality traits clubs look for are:
  • Commitment
  • Bravery
  • Team player
  • Winning mentality
  • Hunger to learn
  • Players who don’t drop their head in negative situations
Physical preparation: This is the time to put in the work on your physical fitness. Hit the gym and get the sprints in.You need to improve your flexibility, speed, cardiovascular endurance, strength and acceleration to give you the edge over your competition on the day.Special consideration should be given to foot speed, straight-line speed and speed endurance.Often recruitment teams may pick a player on athletic ability alone, with the idea that technical skills can be developed in training.

What to Eat Before a Trial?

As we mention in our football nutrition section, food and fuel intake plays a huge part in sporting performance and helping you reach optimum sporting output.

It’s important you consume the correct amount of fuel at the best possible time to fully prepare you for your football trial. You want to be fully hydrated, with enough carbohydrates in your systems to make sure your muscle glycogen stores are fully stocked.

Proper nutrition in the days leading up to a trial will allow for a better sleep pattern in the build-up to the big day. This also gives you the confidence to know you are physically and mentally prepared for your trial.

On the morning of your trial, you must consume the right amount of carbohydrates at the right time, this differs depending on kickoff or training time. Check out our pre-match preparation plan for a detailed plan on nutrition consumption.

Get a Good Nights Sleep

Experts suggest that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on all areas of athletic performance, ranging from lower cardiovascular ability to a decrease in muscular strength.Therefore it is essential you get a good night’s sleep in the days leading up to the trial.We suggest sticking to the same sleeping pattern every night, to ensure your body is used to getting a full 8 hours (or more for better results) of quality sleep a night. A study by Stanford University showed that sporting performance can improve by as much as 9% by extending your sleep length.

Image Is Important – Make Sure You Look the Part

football_boots_for_a_trial

Football trials are similar to job interviews and your first impression has a lasting effect on recruiters. If you want to be taken seriously you must take your image seriously.

However…

We are not suggesting splashing out on the most expensive professional football boots etc. But you need to have suitable training gear to help your performance. We suggest:

  • A Large Sports Bag
  • Clean Football boots with studs suitable for grass. (Make sure any new boots are worn in before the trial).
  • Moulded Football boots for hard ground
  • Astroturf trainers
  • Shin pads
  • Training tracksuit
  • Shorts, socks and t-shirt or football shirt, this should be suitable for training and a good fit for you to be comfortable.
  • Water bottle
  • It may also be wise to bring a football, so you can warm up with a dribble around the pitch if you arrive early, to loosen up.

Having the correct equipment can also give you the psychological boost you need at a trial. So make sure you look and carry yourself in a manner that tells the recruitment team you mean business.

Always Arrive Early

Punctuality is key! You want to arrive in good time so you can assess your surroundings, relax and do some light stretching.This will enable you to visually plan out your trial and perhaps meet any of the recruiters before other trialists or players arrive.

A Good Attitude Is Important

Professional coaches know that skills can be taught and fitness can be trained. But a player’s attitude must always come from within.

So you need to show that you have the desire to work hard, apply yourself and leave everything on the pitch. They are looking for someone to support the team’s goals both on and off the field.

It is your ATTITUDE, not your APTITUDE that will determine your ALTITUDE

Play with a smile on your face, be enthusiastic and work as hard as you can for the team. If you make a mistake, give your all to rectify that mistake by tracking back and making it difficult for the opponent and you’re sure to impress at your trial.

Understand the Team and Coaches Philosophy Before the Trial

Try to carry out as much research as possible on the team you are trialling for. It’s important to understand their style of play and the type of player the club is looking for.Often a team will have the same philosophy from under-9’s all the way through to the first team. Therefore, watching the professional team, especially players in your position, will give you insight into what they require before you turn up.

The Coach Is There to Coach, so Listen and Learn

A big part of player recruitment for coaches is assessing how the player reacts to instructions and how the player learns.The best way to show this to a potential coach is to be attentive, concentrate and listen to all information.Once you have taken the instructions on board try to demonstrate what they have asked for in real game situations. This will highlight your commitment to learning.
Here’s a great interview by fourfourtwo with former Manchester United first team coach Rene Meulensteen on how to prepare for a trial.

So Remember…

The best ways to prepare for a football trial are:

  • Start a Training Journal: Tactical, Mental, Technical and Physical
  • Plan your nutrition
  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Look the part – Ensure you have the correct kit
  • Research the teams playing philosophy
  • Always arrive early with a positive attitude
  • Listen to the coach and be prepared learn

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Our website provides readers with content for informational and educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice from qualified healthcare providers. You must always consult a qualified healthcare professional when undertaking fitness, training or nutiritonal programmes.

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