By: Brendan Winters

tips for basketball tryouts
Basketball tryouts are here, and we have some tips for you!

With winter season basketball tryouts almost upon us, and players getting ready to tryout for their school teams, we have 5 basketball tryout tips for ALL players, regardless of skill and talent level. These basketball tips can also help you get more playing time.

Of course the best way to do well at basketball tryouts is to have prepared months and years in advance through skill development, strength training, etc., but these 5 basketball tryout tips can help ANYONE.

Are they easy? No, not necessarily. They may take players out of their comfort zone, but all kids have the ability to do them today IF THEY CHOOSE.

Basketball Tips for Tryouts

1.  Introduce Yourself/Talk to the Coaches

This is especially important at schools where there is a large number of kids trying out and/or if the player has not met the coaches. Often times, all other things being equal, coaches will choose players they know.

Introducing yourself to the coach will at least put you in the coaches frame of mind. If you have met the coaches before, continue to get to know them by talking to them before or after practice. Ask for feedback on what you can do better or how you can help the team or what they are looking for at your position.

This shows the coach that you care and want to learn what you can do to make the team – that you’re a team player, not afraid to talk, and want to make and help the team.

2.  Win Every Sprint

basketball tryout tips
Winning sprints at your youth basketball tryouts are a great way to impress the coaches.

This is the only one that does somewhat depend on how in shape you are, and how much your coaches make you run in tryouts.

However, assuming a player is in decent to good shape, this is more of a mental choice than anything else. Are you willing to endure the pain/discomfort that comes with sprinting all out and trying to win every sprint?

If a player does this, or at least attempts to win, coaches will take notice as these are the types of players all coaches want on their team … players so competitive that they want to win something as small as sprints and are willing to endure the discomfort to do so!

3. Be Loud/Talk on the Court

Too few kids use their voice (loudly) when playing basketball, although it is a vital part of the game. Being loud and talking (during drills, scrimmages, games) is a sign of confidence and a willingness to help others. This also demonstrates leadership!

This also works to constantly grab the coaches’ attention by serving as an audible reminder that you’re on the court and to watch/notice what you’re doing.

As a coach myself, I LOVE kids that aren’t too cool/too shy/too afraid to talk and use their voice. And if you are one of those things, “fake it ’till you make it” so to speak. Get out of your comfort zone, and get loud and talkative!

youth basketball tryouts
Always make sure to listen to exactly what your basketball coach says!

4. Listen/Pay Attention to Instructions/Coaching

There are not a lot of things more frustrating as a coach than giving instructions on a drill or in a scrimmage/game, and a player simply doesn’t listen or pay attention and then proceeds to screw up the drill or game.

This is such an easy thing that will go a long, long way, and if you don’t understand what was said or what you need to do, just ask.

Asking questions about the drill or instructions will also show the coach that you’re attempting to pay attention and trying to do it correctly.

5. Do the Little Things/Make the Hustle Plays

Kenneth Faried Mainmal
NBA star, Kenneth Faried, is nicknamed “The Manimal” due to his hustle and effort on the basketball court!

Not everyone can be the best shooter or ball handler or passer or whatever. However, everyone has the ability to dive on the floor, go after a loose ball, box out, take a charge, etc. These are the “little” things that add up to big things, like WINNING.

Good coaches understand this and typically have a few kids on every team that specifically do the little things and make the hustle plays. Players like Dennis Rodman and Kenneth Faried made it to the NBA as “hustle” players, and you can make your team being one of them too!

Again, the above keys do not necessarily make up for a lack of skill or preparation, but they can help and hide some weaknesses. And when used on top of being a good shooter or passer or ball handler or defender, they can really take your game to the next level, so get out of your comfort zone and implement these 5 basketball tryout tips, and I promise they will give you a better chance to make the team!

Brendan Winters is a former Davidson Wildcat and European professional basketball player as well as the co-founder of Pro Skills Basketball and co-director of Pro Skills Basketball Charlotte.

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