What Do Basketball Coaches Look for in Tryouts?

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What do basketball coaches look for in tryouts? If you plan to participate in one, that’s the question you must ask yourself. After all, coaches do not necessarily look for “the best” every time. They are looking for the intangibles and a player’s reception to coaching. In other words, they want someone who listens, and they can mold. 

How can you show that to the coach and make yourself stand out? If you want to answer that question, please read the rest of the article. This piece will also give tips on preparing for tryouts and some things you must avoid doing.

What to Expect at Basketball TryoutsWhat to Expect at Basketball Tryouts?

If you’ve reached a point where your destiny hinges on a coach’s approval during a basketball tryout, it’s one of the most nerve-wracking experiences you’ll ever have. 

What are basketball tryouts like? Every coach adds his own quirks during the process, but more often than not, you can expect many common things to happen in a tryout.

For instance, your conditioning and skills will be tested. Coaches will evaluate your fundamental basketball skills, including dribbling, shooting, passing, and defensive techniques. Therefore, expect to participate in drills testing your skills and basketball IQ. 

In any level of basketball play, conditioning is always essential. Thus, the coaches and staff will evaluate your conditioning and athleticism through fitness tests, sprints, basketball tryout drills, and endurance exercises. On top of that, some coaches may also orally quiz you about your understanding of basketball, perhaps some questions about rules and strategy.

Lastly, you should expect feedback and a decision from the coaches. Whether you made the cut or not, take what the coaches say to heart. Either way, this is a great experience for any young basketball player, and the feedback from the coaches will surely help moving forward.

How to Prepare for Basketball TryoutsHow to Prepare for Basketball Tryouts

Since your skills and conditioning will be tested, preparedness is the key. Even if you do not know precisely what to do at basketball tryouts, you’ll be fine if you take the time to hone your skills and get your conditioning to where it needs to be. 

For example, basketball tryout drills will include testing your shooting skills. You have a good chance of making the team if you’re an excellent shooter. 

But here’s the thing: No matter how important this skill is, shooting is all about repetition and muscle memory. That means it’s just a matter of practice before you become a solid shooter in your own right. Figure out your mechanics (without being too funky, of course), develop a rhythm, and build up your confidence. Every young player trying to make a team through tryouts must put shooting training at the top of his to-do list.

Next to shooting practice, conditioning is a must. The thing with most young hoopsters is that they usually leave out conditioning drills, primarily because they don’t play organized basketball. Make no mistake: Coaches want to test your physical limits, so you should be ready. This leaves players disoriented and out of breath. No matter how tall or skilled you are, if you’re gasping for air after a few minutes, it’s ultimately useless.

Simple conditioning exercises include running and doing wind sprints. Try doing these before doing basketball drills. Besides building stamina, this teaches you to utilize your learned basketball skills even when tired.

Lastly, you must rest and invest in your recovery by getting enough sleep and eating healthy food. Exercise is great, but it could also sap young players of energy. Before the day of the tryout, make sure you eat right and have plenty of shut-eye.

Role of Basketball Coaches in Evaluating Players During TryoutsRole of Basketball Coaches in Evaluating Players During Tryouts

Basketball coaches have a lot on their shoulders. Their roles are multi-dimensional when it comes to evaluating players during basketball tryouts. They must be skill evaluators, communicators, and teachers rolled into one.

In skill evaluation, coaches assess players’ proficiency in fundamental basketball skills such as shooting, passing, dribbling, defense, and rebounding. They analyze the consistency and technique behind these abilities and whether the players can replicate them in pressure-packed situations.

At the same time, coaches must be good communicators, whether to get their points across or motivate the players to do better. This is a challenge since individuals respond to different communication styles. 

And lastly, since it’s basketball, coaches must explain the Xs and Os to the players. Whoever responds better may have the upper hand in making the team.

What Do Coaches Look For in Basketball TryoutsWhat Do Coaches Look For in Basketball Tryouts?

Believe it or not, coaches do not always look for “the best” during basketball tryouts. Instead, they look for potential and perhaps the intangibles, especially when assessing younger basketball players. 

Aside from skills and conditioning, what do coaches look for in basketball tryouts? Here are more things:

  • Attitude and coachability. Coaches love to see a player’s attitude, work ethic, and willingness to learn come to the fore. Players who demonstrate a positive attitude, resilience, and a strong desire to improve are often highly valued.
  • Mental Toughness. Not everything goes your way, and in tryouts, coaches will make sure that’s the case. Why? They need to see resiliency and mental toughness from the players. They will gladly take in players who can maintain composure under pressure, stay focused during crucial moments, and successfully handle adversity.
  • Leadership. You don’t have to be the tallest, the best shooter, or the fastest runner to make the team. Coaches need leaders on the floor to rally the troops and keep everyone’s head straight. If you prove you can demonstrate leadership qualities, there may just be a spot for you on the team.
  • Adaptability. Coaches assess how well players adapt to different game situations and their ability to adjust their play based on the team’s needs or opponents’ strategies.
  • Basketball IQ. Just as everybody is not gifted with physical attributes, only some also process the game with proficiency. Coaches salivate over a player who understands the game, makes sound decisions on the court, reads plays, and anticipates opponents’ actions. 

5 Basketball Tryout Tips to Stand Out and Get Selected5 Basketball Tryout Tips to Stand Out and Get Selected

Do you want to know how to impress basketball coaches at tryouts and stand out? It’s not really rocket science. Here are five more tips to separate yourself from the pack:

  • Do what you’re good at

While being highly skilled in multiple areas is crucial, you automatically make an impression if you stand out in one area. For example, it’s hard to miss the guy who gets all the rebounds in traffic or consistently makes an open jumper. Even if you mess up on certain plays, you have probably made a good enough impression to let you stick around.

  • Have a short memory

Speaking of messing up plays, you can’t just let one mistake get into you and ruin your rhythm. If you do that, the coaches will think you’re mentally weak. Don’t let your head down even after committing turnovers. This stuff always happens, so move on to the next play.

  • Keep it simple

Unless you can dunk from the free throw line at 13 years old, there really isn’t much you can do to wow the coaches. After all, they have probably seen everything! Simple, high-IQ plays that let the team get into an offensive rhythm always stick to their minds. For example, a simple pass to the corner to a more open teammate impresses coaches more than a behind-the-back pass that your teammate could barely catch.

  • Be a good teammate

Well, there’s something you can be the best at after all. Being a good teammate means supporting, high-fiving, and cheering your teammates on, even from the bench. Be happy with someone else’s success. If you’re allowed to talk, offer your teammates genuine words of commendation and encouragement.

  • Do the “little” things.

Winning basketball plays is not just about making shots. It’s also about doing the little “unsexy” things that don’t show up in the box scores. These include hockey assists (the pass before the assist), diving for loose balls, boxing out, and communicating with teammates. More often than not, coaches note these things more than the counting stats.

What to Avoid During a Basketball TryoutWhat to Avoid During a Basketball Tryout?

Basketball tryouts are no different than job interviews. Therefore, presenting yourself in the best possible light is essential to increase your chances of making the team. To do this, here are the things and attitudes you need to avoid:

  • Showing a lack of effort during workouts and scrimmages.
  • Displaying an overly negative attitude, such as excessive complaining and being overly critical of teammates and coaches.
  • Avoid being selfish. Basketball is a team sport, so you must do everything in a team concept. Turn down good shots for better shots, and never hesitate to up an attempt if open. 
  • Avoid poor sportsmanship. It’s alright to show competitive fire and emotion, but not to the point of excess. Shake hands with opponents, acknowledge good plays, and avoid unsportsmanlike conduct like trash-talking or excessive celebrations.
  • Do not ignore the coaches when they’re talking and communicating instructions. Ignoring directions or freelancing on the court can show a lack of coachability.

You have your work cut out for you if you want to know how to impress a basketball coach at tryouts. That said, it’s not an impossible task either. 

Remember that tryouts are not only about showcasing your skills but also demonstrating your commitment, teamwork, and coachability. Approach tryouts with a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to learn and improve. It doesn’t guarantee a spot on the team, but these things help you make a good impression and develop habits conducive to winning basketball.

Wrapping Things Up: What Do Basketball Coaches Look for in Tryouts?

Basketball tryouts are cool, but they are designed to make players uncomfortable and out of their comfort zones. After all, coaches need players who they trust to deliver amidst pressure-packed situations.

With these things considered, what do basketball coaches look for in tryouts? While excellent basketball skills give you an advantage, coaches prioritize more than just raw talent. They seek intangibles like coachability, work ethic, and a positive attitude. Coaches also seek essential attributes, such as mental toughness, leadership, adaptability, and basketball IQ. If you approach a basketball tryout with the right mindset and skills, you already won half the battle.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

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> 25 Basketball Quotes for Coaches

> How Do Coach’s Challenges Work in the NBA?

> Why Do NBA Coaches Wear Suits?

> How to Coach Youth Basketball?

> Does the NBA Allow Coaches to be Traded?

Hoops Addict
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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