Basketball tryouts can be stressful. You want to play your best and prove that you deserve a spot on the team but only have a short period of time to do so. The tendency for tryouts as a player is to put all of your effort into scoring points, because that is usually what gets the most attention.
This is just one factor though that coaches are looking for. Coaches are evaluating you in so many other areas as well, and if you only focus on scoring you are going to miss out. That is why we have put together a list of 10 areas to focus on at your basketball tryouts.
Show Up in Shape
Nothing is going to show a coach that you aren’t really invested in the team like showing up out of shape. In fact, most coaches will have a lot of conditioning in their tryouts just to weed out the players who are out of shape. This is a very easy way to show which players have been putting in the time and are serious about making the team, and which players just showed up hoping for the best. So get in shape ASAP.
“If you are on time you are late” is a pretty common expression, but it is worth repeating. Get in the gym early before tryouts if you can and put up some touch shots, do some ball handling, etc. One, it will help you play better at tryouts, but secondly it will also help you stand out as a player who is committed.
If you are not able to get in the gym early, make sure you are all the way ready to go when the gym doors open. No coach wants to look over and see you still putting your shoes on or changing your shirt when you should be out on the court warming up.
Be the Loudest Communicator on the Floor
Basketball is a game that requires large amounts of communication. The best teams are always the teams that communicate at a high level. Show the coach you are a good communicator: Encourage other players when they make a good play, talk in transition, call out cutters or screens. Use your voice and be a great communicator.
Bring Energy and Compete
Coaches want players on their team who are going to bring energy. Bring positive energy in every drill, sprint and play. This goes back to being a great communicator. As the drills and sprinting get harder and other players are only worried about making it through, speak up and be an encourager.
Be a Listener
If a coach is talking make sure you are paying attention with both your ears and your eyes. Show that you are a great listener and that you can execute what the coach wants done. Most of the time a coach will tell you what they are looking for, so make sure you pay attention to what they want, and you will know exactly what to do.
Quality Over Quantity
The tendency as a player is to think that you need to score as much as possible and sometimes this unfortunately leads to a high quantity of bad shots. Instead of forcing up a lot of bad shots, focus on attacking and being aggressive when you have a quality look. Coaches don’t want high volume shooters, they want players who understand what a good shot is and are able to play well with the four other players on the court.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
Don’t get so caught up in trying to get noticed as a scorer that you are forgetting the little things. Believe it or not, most coaches are smart—I know I know, mind blowing.
Coaches will evaluate every part of your game. They want to know if you are a complete player or someone who has a lot of holes in your game. Here is a list of things you can focus on (not in any specific order):
- Set good screens
- Cut hard every time
- Box out on every shot
- Sprint the floor
- Keep your hands up on defense
- Keep the ball moving on offense (don’t catch and hold it every time)
- Take care of the ball
Be a Leader
Since you were listening to what the coach was saying when they gave instructions, you should be able to step up to the line first and execute the drill or play. You should also know it well enough that you are able to help other players understand what is going on. Show the coach you are able to be a leader and are able to help lead your teammates.
This wont apply in every situation, but if part of the tryout is in a classroom setting, bring pen and paper and take notes. Not only will this better help you know what the coach is looking for, it will also show you are invested and care about what the coach is saying.
Play With Confidence
Lastly and most importantly, play with confidence. You have to believe in yourself and trust that you can play well. If you put in the work getting ready for tryouts, you need to trust the work that you put in and play with confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself why should anyone else? Play like you deserve to make the team.