5 Tips for Basketball Tryouts

  • January 9, 2015
  • / By Tom

basketball tryouts tipsPhoto By: Nick Hubbard

Basketball tryouts can be intimidating for young athletes who have never had to compete to earn a roster spot before. They are put in a unique position and asked to fight for a chance to make a team to play a game they love.

While it can be scary at first, young athletes can overcome these fears with the right preparation and mindset. Here are 5 tips for basketball tryouts that can help you make the team:

  1. Be relaxed – You need to understand that you can’t control everything. You can’t control the coaching staff, the practice or the other players. You can only control what you do and try to make the best of it. Being stressed because of external factors only takes your focus away from playing basketball. Playing uptight will lead to mistakes. If you are too passive, you can actually make more mistakes, simply because you are trying to avoid them.
  2. Be confident – You need to believe in yourself to play your best on the court. This includes self-confidence, positive self-talk, and turning negative thoughts into positive ones. You will have good plays and bad ones during tryouts. The key is to build confidence and repeat the good plays. You also need to learn from the bad plays, but quickly forget about them. Sometimes it helps to set small goals that you know are achievable. For instance, you can focus on getting in a good triple threat position every time you catch the basketball.
  3. Be aggressive – But didn’t I say be relaxed? You can be relaxed and still be aggressive on the basketball court. The key is to find the right combination of the two. You can’t play carelessly. Be aggressive, but make sure that aggression has a purpose. If you are attacking the offensive glass, see an open teammate on the backdoor cut, or have an easy steal, then make the play. You never want to pass up an opportunity to make a play, just make sure you aren’t being careless. Coaches particularly dislike careless turnovers or defense that gives up easy points. You have to see when the chance is there to make a play and take advantage. Mistakes will me made, but they are more easily forgiven if you are being aggressive and trying to make a positive play. You won’t have 100% success rate, but learn from your mistakes and you’ll make more good ones than bad ones.
  4. Put the team first – This isn’t a time to try to put on a dribbling clinic or show how far you can heave a three point shot from. Coaches are looking for players who will help their team win. You have to focus on the little things on the basketball court that don’t necessarily count for points or statistics. Defense, boxing out, setting solid picks, and taking care of the basketball will impress the coaching staff more than a wicked crossover dribble. These are the little things that players often think aren’t important, but that the coach loves. If the coach is talking about something repeatedly at practice, you better believe its because they think it is important.
  5. Give complete effort – Coaches aren’t expecting you to be a perfect athlete. They are looking for players who will give effort for an entire practice, when you are on and off the court. This includes hustling to loose balls and sprinting back on defense, but that isn’t all. You also have to pay attention and listen to the coaching staff’s directions, even when you are on the sidelines. They want you to be completely invested in what is going on, which shows you are committed to learning and getting better. It doesn’t matter how much natural talent or athleticism you have if you aren’t giving a great effort. Most coaches believe that as long as they have hard-working players, they will continue to improve and develop.

Ultimately, you have to play to your strengths. Nobody at the tryouts is a complete player. They all have flaws. You want to impress the staff with what you can do to help the team win. If you are a good defender, make it your goal to be the best defender at practices. If you are good rebounder, make it your goal to get a solid box out and grab the board every time.

Additionally, you want to listen to the coaching staff and pay special attention to anything they emphasize at practices. If they are harping on setting solid picks, make sure you do so. If they have specific drills for working on getting back on defense, you better do everything you can to do so during scrimmages.

Basketball tryouts can be scary for young players, but with effort, focus, and the right mindset, you’ll be on your way to making the team.

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