Frequently Asked Questions: Tryouts
How do I register my daughter for tryouts and is there a fee involved?
All players are required to register for tryouts via the on-line registration process. You create an account on the Blue Sombrero site and add your daughters as participants. You can choose to register instead by submitting a printed hardcopy registration form (pdf) by the tryout time. The registration process for fall tryouts will be open from July 1 through the entire tryout process. There is a $25 non-refundable registration tryout fee.
What age groups or grades does the Freedom support?
The Loudoun Freedom will support girls' teams from 3rd grade through high school grades. It is possible to start teams as young as 2nd grade. Support for specific ages may vary depending on the season. For example, high school-age AAU teams are not typically active in the winter due to high school seasons.
Does the Freedom support boys' teams?
The Freedom is a girls' basketball organization and does not support boys' teams. The Freedom is for and about girls.
How is the eligibility for each team determined?
Teams are based on school grade. See the age determination rules on the Tryout Information page.
When are tryouts?
The Freedom has open tryouts twice a year. Tryouts for the spring season are held over two weeks in February. Tryouts for the fall season are held in early August. You should check the Freedom Tryouts Information page for specific dates and times. When the dates and times are set, information will also be listed in sports information listings in local newspapers.
Why are there two tryouts a year?
Teams change. it is rare that teams do not experience going into the fall season. Some families choose to not play year round and there are potential new players who show interest in playing during the fall. Players should have the mentality that they have to re-earn positions on teams.
Does my daughter have to attend tryouts?
Interested players are expected to make at least one tryout if they wish to be selected for a team. No player is guaranteed a spot on a team. All current players must re-earn spots on teams. The Freedom will schedule alternative tryouts in the spring for high school varsity players still participating in state or district playoffs due to the possibility of injury.
Does my daughter have to attend both tryouts?
All players are encouraged to attend both tryouts to give them the best opportunity to be evaluated by coaches. Attending both tryouts gives players more opportunities to demonstrate their abilities to the coaches. Please notify us with the reason if your daughter has to miss a tryout so that we know you remain interested in your daughter being considered.
What if my daughter cannot attend either tryout?
There are times when a players cannot make either tryout for the grade due to vacations or other conflicts. Your daughter can attend a tryout for a different/appropriate age group if possible so she can be evaluated. If your daughter cannot attend any of the scheduled tryouts, please communicate this to the Freedom organization. Every effort will be made to schedule a make-up tryout session for players who cannot attend the tryouts.
Are parents able to watch tryouts?
Parents are welcome to watch tryouts but we ask that parents refrain from coaching from the sidelines or distracting the prospective players. Seating in gyms may be limited. Parents should stay off the court
Can my daughter play up?
Players interested in "playing up" should register for their correct age group and attend at least one tryout in that age group. Contact the Loudoun Freedom regarding how the organization will handle this situation. The ability to play on older teams is more than about skill level or physical ability; it is also about placing players where they may experience success. Final decisions on requests to play up will be made by the Freedom organization.
Can my daughter play down a grade?
Typically players participate on teams within their own grade. There are rules that allow for a player deemed to be young for their grade to play down a grade if they meet certain age requirements as of August 31 of the upcoming year. You can see requirements per grade on the Tryout Information page. Contact the Freedom organization if you have questions about the specific requirements.
Can my daughter play for a Freedom team if I do not live in Loudoun County?
Interested players from bordering AAU districts can play on Freedom teams. A team that intends to participate in AAU qualifying tournaments can have a maximum of 3 players from bordering AAU districts.
What do players do once they arrive at the tryout?
Upon arriving at the tryout location, parents should check their daughters in at the registration table to confirm or submit registrations. Players will receive an identifying number. Players should not bring their own basketballs to tryouts. Players can shoot around until the tryouts begin.
How are teams selected?
The goal is to build viable, competitive teams. There are a limited number of positions on teams. Each player has an equal opportunity to make a Freedom team. Players will be evaluated by coaches based on their basketball skills, knowledge, athleticism, attitude, competitiveness, and their potential role and ability to contribute to the team.
How many teams are there in an age group?
The Freedom will seek to form multiple teams in an age group only if the teams are viable and can compete. The ability to have more than one viable team in any grade depends on player turnout at tryouts, having coaches in place for teams, and having practice space to support the team. If there is more than one team in an age group, the goal is to place players on teams where they will experience the most success.
How many players are placed on teams?
The majority of teams typically have 10-11 players though this can vary. The number of players chosen for placement on a Freedom team may vary depending on turnout at tryouts, player talent, inuries, or other factors.
Can my daughter tryout for a specific coach's team?
All players in an age group or grade attend the same tryouts for that grade. Players cannot expect to request coaches in the event that there is more than one team.
How will I be notified if my daughter is selected for a team?
All registered players who attended tryouts will be notified of their status either by representative of the Freedom organization - whether they are selected or not. This has generally been done by phone or email in the past; starting in Fall 2015, registered prospects will be sent an email through the registration system informing of them of their status. We try to inform players of our decisions as soon as possible but team formation and communication can take time.
My daughter has been offered a spot on a Freedom team. What happens next?
Upon being offered a spot on a Freedom team, families will have 24 hours to accept the offer. Accepting a spot on a Freedom team includes paying an initial installment or downpayment toward the season fees as an official indication of acceptance of the offer. If a family does not take this step, the offer will be revoked. The Freedom will communicate with parents about uniforms, practices, fees, preliminary schedules, and other introductory information as needed. You will need to ensure that you provide your daughter's birth certificate and also sign and return the "Freedom Liability Waiver and Medical Release" form if you did not provide these at trouys...before your daughter can participate in team activities. Teams will start practicing as soon as gym space allows. The coach will also hold a team meeting for parents and players where the she or he will discuss their approach, expectations and plans.
What is involved in the commitment to a Freedom team?
See information about practices and playing situations below. It is expected that players make as many games and practices as possible. There are always potential conflicts but absences disrupt the team, coaches planning, and teammates. Parents should communicate with the coach in a timely manner regarding potential absences so the coach can plan accordingly.
How many times a week do Freedom teams practice?
Freedom teams typically practice twice a week as gym space allows. Because the Freedom attracts players from all over the county, we attempt to schedule practices in central Loudoun locations; however, gym space availability dictates our practice locations. Players should be prepared to practice on the days, times, and locations the team is assigned.
Where do Freedom teams play? How much do they travel?
The Freedom is not a league. Spring teams play in at least 6 to 9 weekend tournaments between April and June, though some may extend their spring season to include tournaments in March or July. Tournaments generally involve 3-4 games over the tournament weekend. While most tournaments are local (Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Winchester, Prince George's County, Washington, DC, etc.), schedules could involve an element of travel or potential overnighters. The coach will be responsible for laying out a proposed team schedule at the beginning of season so parents know what to expect.
Do Freedom teams play year round?
The primary AAU seasons are the spring and fall, hence when tryouts are held. However, the Freedom offers year round opportunities for those players looking for an alternative. Many Freedom teams also play in the summer or winter. Other seasons typically involve a combination of league play and tournaments. Players are not required to play year round; if they step away from a team and seek to return, they would tryout along with all other interested players at the next round of tryouts.
Can players participate in more than one sport or other activity?
Playing for a Freedom team represents a commitment; however, we do not discourage multi-sport players from playing for Freedom teams. The main factor is a player's effort to participate as much as possible in practices and games so that they can develop, learn and be able to contribute to the team. Families should understand that absences affect playing time and roles, as well as affect their teammates. If the team's schedule involves a tournament or games on the weekend that you daughter has other activities, do not automatically assume you cannot do both. The actual game day schedule and locations can determine your ability and willingness to do both activities. The main thing we ask is if there are conflicts, that the Freedom team is not your second choice every time. Communication with the coaches is crucial when it comes to managing potential conflicts. There will be tournaments that participation by team members is required or strongly recommended.
Is playing time guaranteed if my daughter makes a team?
The Loudoun Freedom represents a highly competitive level of basketball. There is no guaranteed playing time for any player. Coaches weigh a number of factors for each player and for each game when it comes to starting, distributing playing time, substitution patterns, and game situations. If a parent has questions about playing time or roles, you should not approach a coach right after a game. The best approach to having a productive conversation is to schedule an opportunity to talk to the coach outside of the heat of the moment of a game.