How to Prepare for Basketball Tryouts

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Careful preparation is often an ingredient of success. The same goes with basketball tryouts. To think that you can go in there and just impress the coaching staff won’t cut it. You need to be ready and be aware of what catches the eye of a coach. In this article, you will learn tips on how to prepare for basketball tryouts and avoid the mistakes that would get you cut from the team.

How Do Basketball Tryouts WorkHow Do Basketball Tryouts Work?

Basketball tryouts can be very stressful, and for what it’s worth, it’s supposed to be. Coaches like to see how you handle adversity by testing your mental and physical capabilities. 

First of all, expect the coaches to test your basketball skills. They may let you go through shooting drills, defensive drills, and ballhandling drills. After all these, they may try to push further by allowing the participants to play in a scrimmage. 

While all coaches love players who really have high basketball skills, they also love to see work ethic, coachability, and the willingness to do the drills. Therefore, be ready for everything, even checking out what to wear to basketball tryouts.

What to Expect in Basketball TryoutsWhat to Expect in Basketball Tryouts?

While coaches would love to test all the players, including you, in a basketball tryout, you are still playing basketball. This is not your first rodeo. 

Of course, you may be subjected to drills that you may have never done before, but you are still dribbling and shooting the same ball at the end of the day. That’s the most important thing.

The typical drills that coaches run during tryouts are three-man weaves, full-court dribbling, sprints, and running some basic offensive plays.

If it’s your first time trying out, you may feel like a deer in the highlights. The coaches may bark up some instructions using terminologies that you may not understand. These are all normal and a part of the process. The truth is, in a tryout, you expect the unexpected but still show that work ethic all throughout.

What to Expect in Basketball Tryouts

Because there really is no standard way of holding tryouts, try not to overthink things. You may want to get information a little bit, but be aware that too much of a thing is still counterproductive. Play your game the way you know how to play it, and you’ll be alright.

What Do Coaches Look for in Basketball TryoutsWhat Do Coaches Look for in Basketball Tryouts

Coaches have different philosophies, and that reflects on how they build the team. Some may want to play slow and deliberate, and some may just want to outrun the other team every time. With that being said, some characteristics stand out in the coaches’ eyes, and it’s just not about basketball skills all the time. 

Here are some of the things that coaches look for in basketball tryouts. You should keep these in mind, and they will help you on how to get prepared for basketball tryouts.

  • Coaches like someone who follows instructions. Coachability is a highly valuable trait in the eyes of a coach. No matter how good a player is, if he just does what he wants and freelance, it’s not worth the trouble. If you’re coachable, you show that you have a good attitude and are willing to learn. 
  • Coaches like someone who’s fundamentally skilled. Coachability is well and good, but if you show that you are fundamentally sound, then you will turn heads. In basketball, being fundamentally sound means, you do everything right– pass and finish with both hands, have solid shooting mechanics, know how to box out, etc. 
  • Coaches love leaders. All basketball greats have good leadership skills. Of course, Michael Jordan’s leadership is not the same as LeBron James’, but you have to exhibit leadership skills. Communicate with your teammates on defense, give up a good shot for a better shot, or set a good screen if you want the coaches to check the leadership box on your name.
  • Coaches always like players who leave it out on the court. Do you know what coaches hate the most? Beg their players to take it to another gear, to play hard. That is why when they see a naturally hard worker running up and down the basketball court, they love that.

What Do Coaches Look for in Basketball Tryouts

How Long are Basketball TryoutsHow Long are Basketball Tryouts

A high school or recreational basketball team could take a day to cover. It may even take a couple of days, depending on the number of kids who show up. It simply boils down to the number of players who tried out and how the coaches want to hold the tryouts. If they prepared several drills and want everyone to go through them, then it’s reasonable to expect a day or two to get the tryouts over with.

How to Prepare for Basketball TryoutsHow to Prepare for Basketball Tryouts

1. Work on your skills

Unless you’re the next coming of Kevin Durant or Michael Jordan, you will have weaknesses in your game. On the other hand, you may also be good at a couple of things, maybe even better than your peers.

The point is, you have to double down on your strengths while trying to work on your weaknesses so that they won’t be too much of a liability. For example, if you’re an outstanding defender but a below-average shooter, always work on defensive drills to sharpen your skills. That’s going to be your calling card. But at the same time, you should also practice shooting and improve that part of your game.

2. Work on your conditioning

Younger players usually do not have a lot of stamina because they don’t have the experience of playing on a team. You can change all that. If you are set on joining your first tryout, work on your conditioning, perhaps by running five miles a day or doing wind sprints before working on your individual drills. Remember that coaches may try to simulate the physical demands of a real basketball game. If they do that, be sure that you are ready to go.

3. Be Mentally Ready

While it’s good to be all lax and upbeat before the big tryout day, you should also expect to be tested. The coaches will make you run sprints and do a variety of drills you may not even have done in your whole life. It’s going to be stressful, and you should expect nothing less. Of course, if you know you have worked hard enough, you should be able to handle the heat.

For instance, in tryouts, coaches may see if you can finish layups with both hands. They may time you for a minute and see how many layups you can make within that time. Some coaches may spice it up and make you go running to the three-point line and go back to make a layup. In any case, give it your best shot and be mentally prepared.

How to Prepare for Basketball Tryouts

4. Attitude Always Matter

Talent is essential in basketball, but attitude is just as valuable. If you have the right attitude, it will make the team and the individual players better. That’s a pretty good recipe for basketball success.

You can show your good attitude by playing hard, willingness to learn, and showing some toughness. In fact, coaches often lean towards someone who plays the hardest even if he may be less skilled. 

Another thing that you should remember is to make an excellent first impression. If the tryout is set at a specific time, be there early. It shows that you are dependable and can be relied upon at any time. You may also want to respectfully talk to the coaches. Be well-mannered at all times. If the coaches want to huddle up, sprint in their direction instead of walking or jogging. That shows your eagerness and enthusiasm. Coaches love little things like that.

5. Be Positive

Your tryout will never be perfect. They just won’t. You are going to misunderstand instructions, lose out on some drills, and mess the three-man weave. Still, you must stay positive through all of the ups and downs. It’s all about the mindset and repetition so that when the time comes, you show the coaches that you handle your mistakes gracefully.

3 Things to Do Before Basketball Tryouts3 Things to Do Before Basketball Tryouts

1. Get Plenty of Rest

Just because you are full of youthful vigor does not mean you do not need rest. Many youngsters out there do not understand that rest and nutrition could affect their physical capabilities. Be sure that you get at least eight hours of sleep before the tryout and eat a healthy meal a few hours before.

2. Arrive on time and already warmed up

People always believe that first impressions last. And while that may not be true all the time, it’s not a bad way to get the coaches’ attention before a tryout. Arriving at the tryout location on time shows how serious you are about the game and that you can be relied upon when your number is called.

3. Relax

“Relax” does not equate to “cocky.” Being relaxed means, you should not worry about things you can’t control. After all, you are playing the same game as everyone. Yes, your spot on the team is not guaranteed, but if you are going to get cut, it’s not the end of the world. There is always a lesson to be learned. Just enjoy the experience and have fun!

Wrapping Things Up: How to Prepare for Basketball Tryouts

Basketball is a fun game, but admittedly, a tryout can be daunting, not to mention stressful. That makes preparation one of the most important things that you can do before a basketball tryout

Like an exam in school, you can’t expect to do well if you’re not studying. A basketball tryout is the same way. While there are no standard rules on how to run a tryout, you must expect some drills that will show your basketball skills and stamina. Coaches would like to simulate the physical requirements of a real game. Therefore, you should work on your skills, conditioning, and mental preparedness for you to get through the basketball tryout.

Always keep in mind that coaches do not always look at talent alone. Sure, talent could get you far, but so does a good attitude and work ethic. In fact, at the grade and high school levels, coaches may pick a less talented player who works hard over someone who has the talent but doesn’t have a good attitude. In any case, if you want to know how to prepare for basketball tryouts, do it in a way that will improve your skills and your mental fortitude. If you do that, your chances of making the team go up.

At the end of the day, a spot on the team is not guaranteed. Does that mean you’re not good enough? For now, maybe. But that shouldn’t stop you from working on your skills and everything to do with basketball. At least, you have gained valuable experience and already know how to be ready for basketball tryouts at another time. Just keep working hard, and your time will come!

You can find answers to other frequently asked questions about basketball here.

> How to Get Back Into Basketball Shape Fast

> The Best Basketball Practice Plan PDFs

> The Best Individual Basketball Workout PDFs

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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