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What To Do During Warm-Ups and Downtime at a
College Showcase

It’s Saturday morning, your team has arrived at the college showcase it has been eagerly looking forward to, and your games are at 11:00 a.m. and at 3:00 p.m. Those 140 minutes your team will be on the field is all you have to concern yourself with, right?

Well, yes and no.

Clearly, on-field performance dominates all else. But there are other considerations more pronounced at a showcase than in a regular tournament.

Perhaps surprisingly, many college evaluators observe a prospect whenever they can throughout the day, not just within the lines. One NCAA DIII coach noted: “Between games, when I’m idling standing at the field chatting with a colleague, I’m often unobtrusively watching a prospect. I want to see what he does to get himself ready.”

Coaches do note if a player uses warm-ups constructively, or just goes through the motions. Whether the player is laced up and ready to start drills, or is still searching for uniform parts. Whether he listens attentively to pregame instructions or lets his mind and eyes wander. Whether a player engages in positive camaraderie or just distracts his teammates from their attempts to get ready. Whether he is ready to play when he steps out on the field, or still needs the first five minutes of the game to be totally up to speed.

Goalkeepers are in a category all by themselves. Coaches know that a ‘keeper may do a lot of things in a game, but making actual saves can vary greatly from match to match, opponent to opponent. So warm-ups can reveal things the game might not. Quickness and agility. Ability to go right, to go left, to extend high, to quickly dive low. Proper mechanics, good hands handling the ball, and so on…

Another unique note was sounded by a New England school coach: “When the season starts in September, the weather is perfect at the school. When we get to the playoffs in November, it can be freezing. I do a lot of cold-weather showcases. If I notice a player can’t deal well with the cold, obviously that goes into my notes.”

He went on to say that his observations will extend to between games, if he runs across a player he’s evaluating.

Players reveal their abilities while playing on the field, but they reveal their character 24/7. Point is, you never know when and where someone might be observing you at a Showcase.

Bohdan E. Porytko, Morristown NJ, 2008.

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