7 Ways to Make Sure You Are Prepared for Basketball Tryouts

Basketball tryouts can be a stressful time. With so many players trying to make a man roster in typically, only about four hours of gym time over two days, it puts a lot of pressure on you. This pressure doesn’t have to be something that breaks you, though, especially if you have prepared the right way for tryouts.

If you have been using the offseason to get ready for tryouts, you are going to be able to show up with confidence. This only happens, though, if you have put in the work and prepared the right way.

As a basketball trainer in Tampa, Florida, I get clients all the time that ask me how to prepare for tryouts. So here is my list of seven ways that you can make sure that you are ready for basketball tryouts.

Talk to the Coach Before Tryouts

Tryouts can be a hectic time, not only for players but for the coaches as well. They must do their best to evaluate all of the players that have flooded the gym to find the best fit for their team. With all of this happening, it can be easy to slip under the coach’s radar.

A great way to avoid this, though, is by introducing yourself to the coach leading up to tryouts. If you have the opportunity, go seek out the coach a few days before tryouts and let him know who you are and that you are excited to try out. You might even mention how much you are looking forward to it, and how hard you have been working in preparation. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, but a short, polite conversation before tryouts will put you on the coach’s radar.

Also, it will help to show that you are invested in making the team. Taking the time to seek out the coach and talk with them will show your level of commitment, as well as show the coach your leadership as a player. 

Get in Shape

One of the absolute worst things you can do as a player is to show up out of shape to tryouts. Being out of shape immediately shows the coach your lack of commitment to being on the team. Coaches use conditioning at tryouts specifically for this. They want to weed out the players that aren’t serious about being there.

On the flip side, if you are in great shape. When the coach starts running everyone, you will be able to excel and show the hard work that you put in. So get into excellent shape before tryouts begin.

This is going to be primarily running, but if you have spent time in the weight room or doing bodyweight exercises at home leading up to tryouts as well, it will also help. The goal is to show up in as best of shape as you can, ready to go for the season. 

Bring Energy

Coaches enjoy having players on their team that bring energy. So when you are at tryouts, show the energy that you can bring to the team. Be an encourager when other players are going, dive on the floor for loose balls, take a charge, etc. Do all of the little things, and bring energy as you do it.

This will not only help show the coach what you bring to the team, but it will also help to start establishing the bonds with your teammates. Your energy can spread, and before you know it, you are the catalyst that helped to create a high-energy practice. 

Play Defense

Defense is not glamorous, and for the most part, not that fun. It is, however, highly valued by coaches and an essential part of any team that wants to be successful. So while most of the other players at tryouts are only going to be concerned about how many points they can score, you need to make sure that you are playing defense as well. Here are a couple of ways that you can do that. 

  • Be Communicating at all Times: Call out screens, being in the gap, being in the help, rotations, etc.
  • Have Active Hands: Keep your hands up and active the whole time, not just when you are guarding the ball.
  • Stay in an Athletic Stance: Off of the ball it can be easy to stand up, don’t do it, though. Stay in a defensive stance the whole time.
  • Sprint Back on Defense: Don't walk or jog back on defense, but sprint back every time.

Pay Attention and Listen with Your Eyes

When the coach is talking, you must listen with both your ears and your eyes. Don’t be looking down at the ground or staring off into the distance; instead, make sure that you are keeping your eyes on the coach.

This will not only allow the coach to see that you are listening, but it will also help you better understand any instructions that the coach is giving. That way, when you go to execute the next drill or whatever, you can step up with confidence and go.

Do All of the Little Things

Most players think to themselves, “if I can score, I will make the team” but coaches are looking for more than that. Also, if every player in tryouts has that mindset, it is not going to be pretty. So if you find yourself open, shoot the ball and look to score with confidence, but while this isn't happening, you should be focusing on all the other areas of the game. 

You should look to be the best in all of the areas that you can control. These are effort, communication, active hands, energy, getting on the floor, being a good listener, boxing out, sprinting the floor, following instructions, and so on. If you do all of these things, you will have a good chance of distinguishing yourself from the other players on the floor.

Play With Confidence

If you have put in the work, you deserve to play with confidence. So don’t allow yourself to be nervous or scared, push those thoughts and feelings aside, and choose to be confident. As a player, it is up to you to embrace the challenge, regardless of whether you are nervous or not. So have the mental toughness to play with confidence and freedom, and then let the chips fall where they may. All you can do is your best, so do that and then see what happens. 

7 Ways to Make Sure You Are Prepared for Basketball Tryouts Conclusion

One of the best parts of sports is the nervousness and pressure that it brings in big moments. You can see the players that thrive in it, and the players that aren’t able to handle it. You can also see the players that have taken the time to prepare for the moment and show up with confidence. This is the type of player that you are capable of being at basketball tryouts. Nothing is
guaranteed in sports or life, but by following these seven keys, you will be able to prepare yourself and give yourself a much better chance at success. You will be able to show up to your tryout prepared and ready to face the challenge of making the team. So start working on these seven ways to make sure that you are prepared for basketball tryouts, and set yourself up to be successful. 

Guest Post by Kyle Ohman, Basketball HQ CEO

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