In February the Washington D.C. Current will host their annual tryouts for the 2016 roster. Currently only nine players are inked heading into the event, allowing this year’s tryout to be more open than ever. As a result this makes the end of February a chance for a prospective player to launch their professional career.
These potential players must be prepared for the tryouts weeks, even months in advance. Players who were on the team last year and are not signed for this season have been training since the finale in June. Yet, it is not too late to prepare yourself and your body.
Each year there are athletes that show up and have the abilities to make the team but bad preparation led to them missing the cut. You can be a great ultimate player, but when you go one-on-one with a professional athlete the question becomes can you keep up.
“Signed players are the best measuring stick for where a new player is” said three year veteran Erik Salmi. “You want coaches to feel like they know a player and not have to guess. Can they make plays and routinely get open against experienced defenders? That’s always a good sign”
This year if you want to be the player to make the 30 man roster or be a part of the practice squad, here is what you need to do to impress the coaches:
Will Smolinski (Head Coach)
Looking for: Great teammates, willingness to work hard, high fitness level.
“We are looking for great teammates and players that are willing to work hard over the next couple seasons to build this franchise as a perennial contender. We are looking for players to come into the tryout with a higher fitness baseline. We expect all players attending try outs to have started working out January 1st so they are two months into their training on our open try out date.”
Player must haves:
Offense: Good field vision, sense of space and time; Defense: Dictate play with body, take appropriate chances.
“Offensively this year we are going to be very focused on finding players who have good field vision and sense of space and timing. We are also looking for players that are ready to push back against traditional Ultimate offensive theory. It’s time for us to stop pretending that the field is only 40 yards wide and that we have 8 games to play each weekend. Defensively, we are looking for players that can dictate with their body and take appropriate chances to generate turnovers.”
Samantha McClellan (Assistant Coach – Offense)
Looking for: Ability to make big plays, attitude to criticism and on the field, disc skills.
“I want to see who is the fastest, who can jump the highest, who can read discs and make big plays. I also want to see attitude, specifically how they react to direct feedback, as well as the attitude I see when they are on the field. When feedback is given, I want to see a concerted effort to implement the feedback immediately. Disc skills are also a must.”
Player must haves: Athleticism.
“Skills, strategy and positioning can be taught, and throws can be improved. Athleticism is something that although it can be trained upon and improved, it is largely unable to be taught. I want the best athletes with the best field awareness, because those two things are the building blocks for everything else in this sport.”
Jacob Nuxoll (Assistant Coach – Defense)
Looking for: Complete Players.
“A good player knows what s/he is best at and makes sure that they shine in that moment. If you’re fast, run hard. If you can throw, hit your targets. If you love defense, send some plastic to the ground. Do what you do while avoiding any catastrophes elsewhere.”
Players must haves: Fundamentals, Athleticism, Leadership, Spirit.
“There are a lot of ways somebody can make a team. A buddy of mine once rostered a guy because he gave such great high fives. Though, I wouldn’t recommend that players spend the next 6 weeks fine tuning their high five…”
Going into the tryout each coach will be looking for different skill-sets. However across the board the team is looking for players in top shape. The strength and conditioning coach for the Current, Lizzie Bellinger, has provided the following workouts for prospective players.
If you have been really lazy in December:
– Run 3-6 miles 2 days this week at an easy pace
-Do this interval workout 1 day this week
– 1) 5 min warmup jog
– 2) Run (moderate pace) 1 min
– 3) Slow jog for 1 min
– 4) Repeat for a total of 20 min (10 cycles)
– 5) 5 min cool down
– Lift weights 2 days this week (do arms and legs on same day – or lift 4 days this week and break it up). Use weights about 50% as heavy as the heaviest weight you can lift.
|Abductors||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Adductors||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Calf Press||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Squats||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Deltoid Fly||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Rows||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Lat Pull-Down||3 to 6||10 to 20|
|Push-Ups||3 to 6||10 to 20|
If you have been pretty active in December:
– Run 3-5 miles 2 days this week at a challenging pace
– Do this interval workout 1 day this week:
– 1) 5 min warmup jog
– 2) Run hard 1 min
– 3) Slow jog for 1 min
– 4) Repeat for a total of 20 min (10 cycles)
– 5) 5 min cool down jog
– Lift weights 2 days this week (do arms and legs on same day – or lift 4 days this week and break it up). Use weights about 80% as heavy as the heaviest weight you can lift.
|Abductors||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Adductors||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Calf Press||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Squats||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Deltoid Fly||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Rows||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Lat Pull-Down||3 to 5||4 to 8|
|Push-Ups||3 to 5||fatigue|
A common misconception is that if you have throws and do not make mistakes on the field you have a good shot to make the team. While this is true you also have to be athletic – these tryouts will be meant to push players to see their level of exertion. None of the workouts listed above mentioned throwing and catching, which must also be done on your own.
“We have had some really talented individual players wear the DC Current uniform but all of them are unique. I have enjoyed working with each and every one of those players but any coach that tries to make somebody the next Jeff Graham or Alan Kolick or Nick Hirannet is chasing ghosts” said Smolinski. “Our process is about seeing what players look like at try outs and putting each of them in a position where they can be successful and help this team and get fans excited about watching them play.”
At the tryout there will be an open playing field for all of the players. For the entire 4 hours, none of the coaches will care about what a player did the previous season or what their playing resume may include. Players will earn their right to be on the team.
The only exceptions of course are the nine already signed players. However, these players are now competing for playing time.
The format of the tryout will be divided up into one hour of skill assessment, one hour of athletic assessment, and an hour of scrimmaging. This should be the best way for the coaches to determine each prospect’s strengths and weaknesses. The extra hour of the tryout will consist of introduction, warm-ups, breaks, etc.
“Being a pro ultimate athlete is much more than just being a great player. It’s no different than more mainstream sports. These guys are role models. We are looking for guys who want to help grow our sport and represent our club and league. We want guys who will take ownership in the whole pro ultimate experience,” said general manager Matt Dewhurst.
At the tryout, prospects will experience the new player development program being implemented by the team. The coaches will not just be looking to select the top 30 players who show up for the event.
While a team may consist of 30 rostered players, the Current are looking for more prospects to join the organization this year. The 2016 the team will be expanding their practice squad not only to benefit the team but to help grow the D.C. ultimate community as whole.
“A team is so much more than the 30 official roster spots. There are practice and pod players that help make us so much better each and every week. You never hear about those guys, but they are a huge part of our team” said Dewhurst. “Plus, you never know who will go from practice player to roster player the following year. It’s part of our attempt to build a program that can generate new talent from within.”
Before the conclusion of the tryouts, each prospect will receive a ‘feedback form’ from the coaches. It is intended to be able to tell every player where they stand as an ultimate player and what skills they need to improve on.
This will also be a manner of telling the players, who are invited back, what to improve on before the invite-only tryouts the following two weekends.
Here are some last minute tips and recommendations:
-Build up Cardio Base.
-Footwork Drills (backpedal, chop step, acceleration, lateral movement, ball technique).
-Know your throws.
-If you want to be on offense, do not turn the disc over.
-Show off everything you have.
-Wear something that catches the eye.
-Bring your A-game.
The open tryouts this year will be held in Chantilly, Virginia at the Nova Field House on February 28th from 9am-1pm (four hours later than the two previous seasons).
Make sure to bring turf cleats or athletic shoes, FIELD CLEATS ARE NOT PERMITTED. Water and light food will be provided, but bring what you know you will need to hydrate and fuel up.
The price for the tryout is $40 online and $50 at the door. Tickets can be purchased here.
The Invite only tryouts will be March 5 and 12 at Archbishop Carroll High School from 12-3pm.