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Coaching Tips

Thoughts on Tryouts

The other day I heard about a millionaire executive who interviewed his salesmen by taking them to dinner. If they put salt of their food before tasting it, he immediately disqualified them.

His reasoning was that they should taste first, then make adjustments if necessary. Kind of like a sales call. Listen first, instead of trying to sell.

We’ll never know how effective his selection process was. Maybe he found great salesmen this way. Or maybe he missed out on great candidates because his method was crazy.

I’m not here to judge his approach. I just want to point out that all of us evaluate others, and all of us use certain standards. Did you ever wonder exactly what you look for in a person? And if it’s the best way?

It’s an important question for coaches because we have to make decisions on people. We must hire assistants. We must hold tryouts. What do we look for in those situations?

Years ago, I worked on the baseball desk at UPI, and had some input on hiring. Every spring we needed three part-timers for the season. We tested them by dictating a story, and having them type it. The test included several difficult names.

Our thought was that anyone who knew the names must be a real fan, thoroughly acquainted with baseball. Was this the best method? Probably not. Some of the people we rejected wound up as baseball writers on big daily newspapers.

So ask yourself? Are you asking the right questions and using the right standards in your evaluations?

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” go here.


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