Our Basketball Tryouts Tips Guide can help you overcome the often nerve-wracking nature of tryout day. Remember we are rarely nervous about activities that we don’t love. Channel your nerves as excitement not as anxiety. You want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the team. Here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward at your next basketball tryout.
Basketball Tryouts are Competitive – Embrace It!
Here are some tips to help you make the team and compete at your best level.
Arrive to tryouts on time and with a positive attitude.
Coach K said “Early is on time and on time is late.” Imagine the impression you make as the first player at tryouts. This shows the coaches that you are dedicated and enthusiastic to the mission and they can count on that during the season. Be sure to absorb any basketball tips they offer to insure they know you are coachable. Use verbal and non-verbal communication to indicate their instruction, direction, and criticism are valued by you.
Be prepared to put in the work.
During drills, give 100% effort and focus on improving your skills. Coaches want to go to war with warriors. Be the warrior you value in other competitors.
Understand the Stress of Tryouts
Basketball is likely the most competitive sport at your school with many physical and mental benefits. While some may view tryouts as stressful, they are an important part of the game. Here are a few reasons why:
They help ensure that everyone on the team is committed to playing. Tryouts weed out those who are not serious about the sport and dedication is key to success in any field.
They provide an opportunity for players to show their skills. This is especially important for those who may not have had much playing time in the past. Showing coaches what you can do during tryouts can be the first step in getting more playing time in the future.
They help create a competitive environment. Tryouts help identify the best players for each position and create healthy competition within the team. The fact is that if you can compete in tryouts, you are more likely to be able to compete in games.
Know What to Expect at Basketball Tryouts
When trying out for a basketball team, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and increase your chances of making the team.
Make sure you are in good physical shape
You need to be able to run up and down the court without getting too winded. Basketball is a very physically demanding sport, so you need to be able to keep up with the other players. This preparation should begin long before tryouts and while many advanced techniques trend upward, running the lines with and without dribbling, 1 minute of defensive sliding, T-drills, jump rope and successive down and backs still work. Do the work.
Click here for basketball speed and conditioning drills to prepare for tryouts.
Shooting Matters! Work Hard Before Tryouts To Become a Shooter
Second, practice your shooting as much as possible. Demonstrate good shooting form in the best way you can thru the little things a good shooter can demonstrate. That would include some of the following focus points:Be ready on every catch to shoot. Footwork, mindset, and clean catches.Burst to get open and increase the gap for a good closeout.Catch cleanly. If you have a bad catch, don’t shoot.Be on balance and feel the close out of the defender without having anxiety or fear.Have great hand positioning on the catch and don’t fidget with the ballFollow thru and finish every shot.Make sure you trained on game shots at game spots at game speed, and be ready to take those shots.Be the best shooter you can be and don’t compare yourself to the best shooter on the first team. This will put you in a good position for a lot of coaches to see you can earn defensive respect.
- You should be a competent 3-point shooter and also be able to hit your free throws with good form. At Middle School 50% proficiency is an average number, and HS at least 60%.
- Many basketball games are won or lost based on which team can make more shots from the field. If you can show that you have a consistent jump shot or layup, you will be more likely to make the team. The tall rim protector and rebounding machines can get by without shooting skills to some extent but versatility and skill are being valued more each year, regardless of position.
- Finally, try to be a well-rounded player. While it is important to have specific skills that stand out, coaches also like players who are versatile and can play multiple positions on the court.
Demonstrate knowledge of the basketball skill set basics
Highlight the basics but do them at a high level. Here are some examples:
- Setting a perfect screen and executing a reverse pivot
- Talking on defense and having ball awareness at all times
- Beating your man down the floor as often as possible on offense and defense
- Boxing out,,, this never gets overlooked by the coaching staff
- Closing out on every jump shooter with perfect balance and left hand up on right hand shooters
- Being the first player to every drill and demonstrate listening with your ears eye contact and feet
- Have a permanent pivot foot (right foot for lefties and left for righties and don’t travel)
- Own your personal space when you have the ball… respond to threats with pivots, rip thrus, and pass fakes
- Bounceback. Mistakes are certain at every tryout… how do you bounceback? Use the phrase “next play” in self talk after a mistake to assert your role as a good team player.
- Compete aggressively against all, but be a good teammate to all those on your drill/scrimmage team
- Aggressively attack all loose balls, rebound opportunities and bad passes made on either offense or defense
- Exemplify the work ethic you value in a great teammate by demonstrating multiple actions on all drills
- Understand even negative coaches value good players with a great attitude… don’t be too cool to high five or cheer your scrimmage teammates
- Body language matters, be cognizant of showing buy in with non verbal communication as well as your basketball skills
- Embrace learning new dribbling skills, game situations and foreign concepts as a way to prove you can excel outside of your comfort zone
When you do start preparing for basketball tryouts?
A committed athlete knows when they should peak and reverse engineer success from the date of their tryouts or goal. In some parts of the country with smaller school populations, everyone makes the team. In places like Dallas or Houston, Texas… one would likely need to prepare years in advance to make the cut at a school with 6000 high school kids.
Middle School Basketball Tryouts Timeline
This really depends on the location. Can be as early as October or as late as January. In 5th or 6th grade, you should reach out to the coach via email, copy your parents and ask for season and tryout schedule and next steps.
High School Basketball Tryouts Timeline
Most high school seasons begin in the last week end of October or beginning of November. But tryouts can begin for incoming freshmen in the Spring of the 8th grade, In August in some schools with a “basketball class” during the off season, or as late as the day after the end of the football season for dual sport athletes.In the beginning of the 8th grade you should check the HS website and get the Varsity Coach’s email address and let them know your intent to try out and ask for the schedule that occurs on and any events that would help you prepare.
AAU Team and Select Club Tryouts Timeline
Select and AAU basketball have become year round events for most ages. In particular, up to the High School age group. For the High School group, tryouts are often between December and March for the Spring / Summer season most traditionally associated with this level. The recruiting cycle has become a year round pursuit for many coaches.
Hire A Basketball Trainer To Help You Prepare
Hiring a basketball trainer to help you prepare is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of making a team. A good trainer will work with you on your individual skills, such as shooting and dribbling, and help you develop a workout routine that will get you in shape for tryouts. Working with a basketball trainer who knows your school team can be a great way to have insight on the skills valued and also how to quickly become proficient at those skills.
They can also give you advice on what to expect during tryouts, and how to show coaches that you’re the right player for the team. While it may take some time and effort to find a reputable trainer, it’s worth it if it means increasing your chances of playing basketball at the next level.
What Skills Do You Need At Tryouts
Basketball tryouts can be an intimidating experience. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with tips on what skills you need to make the team.
To make the cut, you’ll need to show off your top form shooting, ball-handling skills , and rebounding skills. You’ll also need to demonstrate your ability to run the court and defend your opponents. Passing drills may bore you, but your coach wants to know you are at ninja level on the basics. A perfect straight line chest pass will grab good coaches respect. All basketball drills like 3 man weave can be run slightly differently, so make sure the coaches’ attention is on your excellent listening skills as they may want to upgrade that from last season.
Shooting is one of the most important skills for a basketball player. Teams need players who can knock down shots from outside, as well as inside the paint and free-throw line. You’ll need to be able to shoot from all over the court, from a variety of positions.
Ball handling drills are critical for point guards and shooting guards.In order to make a great first impression work all summer on your handles. You should at the bare minimum have two moves and two counter moves. Enjoy a smooth, free-flowing scrimmage game by practicing ball handling skills, including dribbling and passing. Be prepared for full-court dribbling drills with pressure during the defensive slide drill and zig zag drill. How you handle the ball under pressure in the evaluation process will go a long way in inspiring trust in this aspect of the game. The last thing one should do in making a good first impression is to put dents in the floor, change pace, and direction. At the end of the day your lack of Dennis Rodman rebounding can be overcome by your ballhandling and presence at the defensive end of the court as demonstrated by zig zag etc.
Last but not least, you’ll need to show that you’re a team player who is coachable and willing to work hard. If you can do all of that, then you’re well on your way to making the team. Be an energy giver, not an aloof and detached player. You will notice we keep mentioning this.
Be prepared for tryouts
As the leaves begin to change color and fall gently to the ground, a new season is upon us. For many high school students, that means it’s time to dust off the old basketball shoes and get ready for tryouts.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or trying out for the first time, there are a few logistics and things you can do to prepare yourself and increase your chances of making the team.
First, make sure you have all the required paperwork, medical waivers, physicals, and class registration in the summer. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people show up to tryouts without everything they need. Second, get in shape. Basketball is a physically demanding sport, so you need to be in top physical condition if you want to impress the coaches. Third, brush up on your skills in the summer… not the week before tryouts.
Mindset on Basketball Tryout Day
When it comes to tryouts, having the right mindset is key to success. Here are some 7 Mindset basketball tryout tips to help you approach basketball tryouts with confidence:
1. Remember that everyone is in the same boat as you. Everyone is trying out for the first time and feeling just as nervous as you are.
2. Focus on what you can control. You can’t control how tall you are or how much experience you have, but you can control your effort and attitude.
3. Be coachable. Show the coaches that you’re willing to learn and improve and you embody a good attitude.
4. Have fun! Basketball is a game, so enjoy yourself and don’t take things too seriously. You may feel like you are dying with anxiety, but you are not.
5. Eliminate letdowns and distractions. Be in bed early the night before with phone out of reach but alarm set if a morning tryout. If it is an early morning tryout, get up early and exercise for a few weeks so your athletic wake up clock adjusts.
6. Eat a healthy breakfast or have a healthy snack far enough ahead of tryouts that digestion will not be a distraction
7. Believe in yourself. Why not you? If you don’t believe that you can make the team, then you probably won’t.
Making a good impression at basketball tryouts
When trying out for a basketball team, first impressions are important. Here are some tips to help you make a good impression and improve your chances of making the team.
- Arrive early and be prepared. Showing up on time and being prepared shows that you’re serious about making the team.
- Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in easily. Prepare to avoid hair, shoelace, equipment failures.
- Be positive and enthusiastic. Basketball is a fun game, so try to enjoy yourself and show your enthusiasm.
- Listen to the coaches and follow their instructions. They know what they’re looking for in players, so if you want to make a good impression, do what they say.
- Try your best and don’t give up. You will have a train wreck moment during tryouts. How will you bounce back?
Basketball Tryout Drills Commonly Seen
While coaches are constantly searching for basketball tryout ideas to innovate, the reality is that certain drills come up time and time again. They include:
- Three man weave
- Zig Zag Defensive and Ball handling drill
- Finishing skills – specifically left and right hand layups and jump stop finishing
- 3 on 2 / 2 on 1 drill or some variation like Laker Drill or Missouri Drill
- Line Shooting or common shooting drills
- Passing drills like the Star Passing Drill
Politics and the Basketball Tryout
Let’s keep this short. Politics are part of life. Including basketball. Politics, like life are often not fair. Discussing them and thinking about them are major distractions during the tryout phase of basketball is a certain formula for disaster and under performance.
Be 20% better than the most politically favored kids on the team and force the coaches to make the decision between politics and winning. Consider that you can work on the following concepts to be master politics in a way that does not compromise your values:
be expert to the problems coaches and basketball teams face
be trustworthy in all actions… attendance, culture, your role, and your contribution
be likable… choose positivity, effort, encouragement, and sharing as values that can also help your team and you
What Basketball Coaches Look For In Tryouts: In Their Words
Coach Ali Khait, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy WBB:
I look mostly for the intangibles:coachability, hustle,attitude.
Skill wise:any sort of basketball IQ is appreciated:
- being able to dribble facing the basket,
- not turning your back when guarded
- knowing your range for shooting and being consistent
Coach Clint Tyler, Missouri HS Coach
- Great communicator. Talking all the time. Made my job much easier.
- Work ethic. Kids that it doesn’t matter what we are doing, they’re locked in to the work.
- Unafraid. Not afraid to fail. Not afraid of the results. Not afraid of criticism.
- Give me shooting. If you can shoot, you can play a little.
- Can they defend? If they can keep someone out of the paint, there’s something to work with.
- Can they dribble? May sound easy, but lots of teams have 2 and 3 dribble max guys. Can’t win a lot like that.
What to do after the basketball tryouts
The tryouts for the basketball team are over. You did your best, but you didn’t make the team. Now what? What should youth players do next?
First, don’t give up. Just because you didn’t make the team this time doesn’t mean you never will. Continue to practice and work on your skills. Next, try out for another team or join a community league. This will help you stay active and improve your game. Finally, have fun! Playing basketball is supposed to be enjoyable so don’t take it too seriously.
If you think the coach can be helpful, you can ask for 10 minutes of their time and bring a notebook. Ask what you can do to be an asset to the team for the next tryouts. What strengths you can magnify and weaknesses you can turn to strengths. Thank the coach for their time and tell them you would love to update them on your progress and also see them at games. Send the coaches a written thank you note for their time and feedback.
Conclusion:In conclusion ,here are five tips to help you succeed at your next basketball tryout:
1. Get in shape and stay in shape
2. Hone your skills
3. Be a team player
4. Stay positive
5. Have fun
Good luck and enjoy your basketball tryout tips!!