Basketball on the Edge – What Do Good Coaches Look For At Tryouts?

Tryout season for basketball is upon us. Be sure to check out my Top 8 Tips to Impress Your Basketball Coach Post from last fall to help your young player prepare for their tryouts.

Here is a list of tryout items that your coach may be thinking about during tryouts that can help players be more prepared.

Good Coaches will use a combination of drills and games.

As a coach I want to know who can follow directions, learn a new skill, and execute the fundamentals of the game. Coaches can learn these things by putting the players at a tryout through drills.

I also want to know who can play. Some kids look great in drills, but their skills don’t translate to game situations or they have a low basketball IQ.
Players should be prepared to play their best in both drills and game settings as they prepare for your tryouts.

Good Coaches will pay attention to the intangibles of each player.

Effort, hustle, and communication will always get noticed! Coaches want players with great intangibles on their team. Bringing these three things to the tryout will increase the odds a player will make the team.

Good Coaches know that culture is the key to success.

A team’s culture starts with the head coach and permeates the entire team down to the last player on the bench. Coaches realize that it’s the end of the bench players that often determine whether the season is fun and successful. I have coached teams in the past where the majority of the coaching staff’s energy was wasted dealing with problems from players that rarely played and were not willing to embrace their role. When players 9-12 on a team buy into the culture the season is waaaay more fun. Demonstrate (through your play & your intangibles – see above) that you are the type of player that will help your coach build a great culture. If you can help your coach build a winning culture he or she will want to keep you around.

Good Coaches know that coachable talent that cares more about the “WE” than the “ME” is what breeds success.

Your young player won’t make the team on intangibles alone, they obviously need to have some talent too. Make sure to put the team first. At tryouts, players should play their game, and not feel the need to shoot every time they touch the ball in order to impress the coach. A good coach can tell pretty quickly who the “basketball players” are compared to those that are just “playing basketball.” Make an impression by encouraging teammates, acknowledging great plays, and being vocal. Combine that with talent and your young player will be well on their way to making their team.

Good coaches watch offense and defense.

Don’t neglect the defensive end of the floor. Good coaches certainly won’t. Most players at tryouts will be focused on their shooting and scoring. By going against the grain and giving tremendous effort on defense your young player will stand out from the crowd.

Be ready to play hard, play smart, and play together at tryouts.

Here’s another great resource to help you make your team from Quinn McDowell of Arete Hoops

10 Tips for Your Basketball Tryout

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