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5 Tips for Helping Your Kid Ace Tryouts

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Start basic training Stamina and flexibility are the best predictors of success in any sport, says Andrew W. Mead, a program manager at the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Check the YMCA for kid fitness (like stretching and aerobics), yoga, or speed and agility classes. Most offer them, and they'll prime your child to take to multiple sports, not just the team du jour. Think: backup plan.

Cheer Taking your kid to games played by her peers (or just a little older) helps her see which skills she should be working on, suggests Frank Ging, a sixth-grade multi-sport coach for the past decade at West Babylon Junior High in West Babylon, NY.

Ease in during off-season Many teams conduct preseason training sessions. Ask the coach if your kid can join in the occasional workout. She'll hone her moves while building a rapport with the coaching staff. When tryout day comes, seeing a familiar face may help her stay calm.

Subscribe Yep, she can free her inner Mia Hamm by reading Soccer America. “Sports magazines inspire kids, leading to more confidence, which improves their overall performance,” notes Ging.

Take it (over) easy Give her a breakfast of both protein and carbohydrates on the big tryout day to keep her gusto going, advises Greg Penny, M.D., a pediatrician at Boys Town, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and education of at-risk youth.

If she still doesn't score a spot, suggest she try a team that doesn't make cuts, like a town intramural program or a church league. A realistic chat with the coach about her strengths and what she can improve upon can help her self-esteem and give her a new goal to work toward. And though you may be upset, “it's not about you; it's about them,” says Ging. Remind your child that many famous athletes didn't make the first cut—including Michael Jordan.