Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

AHU Coach’s Corner: Four tips to follow for all levels of hockey tryouts


The season is barely over, and now the attention turns to spring training and tryout preparation.

First and foremost, I want to personally thank all the coaches, players and families that make our organization great. We really saw the power of our hockey family in action this year, and I’m very proud to be a part of AHU.

As we move into spring training and tryouts, it’s really important to remember all the positives in the tryout experience. Tryouts are really metaphors for life, and youth sports teaches us values we can use throughout our lives. Tryouts can prepare us for similar situations in our adult life, such as college applications, job interviews, and more.

Here are a few tips for standing out at tryouts:

Work Hard

Hustle on and off the ice every time – a player who gives their all is noticeable. Nothing leaves a better impression than hard work and effort. Hard work beats talent. Even if you haven’t mastered certain skills, AHU coaches are looking for kids who have a great work ethic and put their best effort forward. A coach looks for players that they can trust to put out on the ice and will give everything on every shift.

Also, don’t let tryouts be the first time you’ve stepped on the ice since last season. Get on the ice in spring training a few times before tryouts so you can regain the feel of the puck and condition the muscles needed for skating. If you aren’t able to attend spring training sessions, go to Power Skate or Stick Time. Play 3-on-3 games – these are great ways to practice your hockey skills and stay in shape.

Be A Team Player

Hockey is a team sport; it is not just about one person. Great players make other players better, so demonstrate your ability to be a good team player. Pass the puck, communicate with coaches and linemates (don’t forget the goalies) and compliment great plays from other players.


Coaches do notice when you don’t listen. If coaches are giving your tips or explaining a drill, be quiet and listen intently. Coaches are sharing what you need to demonstrate, things you need to work on and what they are looking for in the next drill. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand. You may have heard coaches say they would rather have “coachable” players than one standout player. Coaches want to see you are receptive to feedback and have the potential to improve. Attitude is a very big part of building a team. Pay attention and listen to the coaches’ instructions so you show them you’re excited to be there.

Have Fun

This is a big one – it’s why we play hockey in the first place. It’s fun. So get out there and play your game, demonstrate what you do well, what you bring to the team. Don’t worry about what someone else does better than you. A strong team needs a diverse skill set in their players. Don’t forget to show how much you love the game. Laugh. Have fun. Learn something new. This is the greatest game on earth. Hockey gives us a chance to develop skills, make lifelong friends, learn the power of teamwork – and have fun! Why would you play if you’re not having fun?

To quote Sidney Crosby, “The biggest thing for me is the passion that I’ve always had for hockey. I remember growing up, no matter what I did in life, my parents always told me to try to do my best at it and be my best. I can say going through different things that that passion is the most important part.”

Once again, thank you for an incredible AHU season filled with great moments with coaches, players and families. We hope to see you at Spring Skills!

Kurt Goar is Arizona Hockey Union’s coach-in-chief.

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