The travel tryout process consists of one to as many as three sessions where the head coach of each team and, in some cases, neutral evaluators rate the players on their skills in a number of different areas. Generally, those areas include: skating - speed, stopping, edge control, agility: passing/stickhandling - agility, accuracy and strength; shooting - accuracy and strength; hockey knowledge - decision-making and ability to "see the ice" and where the play is developing; goaltending - agility, flexibility, recovery, quickness, decision-making; and coachability - the ability to listen, pay attention and give 100 % effort at all times.
While there are some subjective components to the list above, at most tryouts the top 4-6 players and the bottom level players are easy to identify at the first tryout. Evaluation of the middle level of players is a more difficult task. All coaches look for different player attributes depending on the overall composition of the group of players trying out and usually also factor in the ability of a player to contribute to the team as a whole.
Players are strongly encouraged to attend all tryout sessions but are required to make at least one tryout session to be evaluated. Each Travel team is required to hold tryouts at the beginning of each season. At the conclusion of each tryout session, the head coach will notify the players (usually on a personal basis) whether or not they are being asked to return for future evaluations. At the last tryout, the coach will compile a final list of players that he or she intends to roster for the season. Players are expected to commit to the Team as soon as possible, or risk losing their spot on the roster.
Tryouts present a difficult task for the coach. With the possibility of only one to three evaluation sessions, a coach must make a decision about each player that will last for an entire season. For example, if a tryout lasts for 1-1/2 hours (80 minutes after zamboni time is accounted for) and 30 players tryout, the coach can only focus on each player for about 2-1/2 minutes of that tryout session. Therefore, it is especially important that each player give his or her best effort in every segment of the tryout.