8 Tryout Tips Guaranteed to Get You Noticed (And What To Avoid So You Don't Get Cut) (2022)

Do you know exactly what the coach is looking for in tryouts? Do you know everything you need to do?

You may think that you do, but it’s highly unlikely.

Actually, what you think would help with tryouts may be the exact reason you get cut from the team. Sad thing is that I’ve seen players like you make these critical mistakes over and over and over again.

I’ve been fortunate to conduct tryouts for youth clubs with over 400 kids. I’ve also been part of high school varsity tryouts with 100 kids for a state championship caliber team at the high school level.

I’m able to give you the critical tips that can help you make the team and avoid those mistakes that get you cut.

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1.Do what you do well.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to impress the coach by doing things that are outside your skill set. This often results in a disaster for you.

If you are a good rebounder, grab every rebound.

If you are a good shooter, shoot when you are open.

If you are a good finisher, attack the basket when a lane is open.

If you are a good ball handler, make the simple passes, the simple moves.

If you are not a good 3-point shooter, don’t step out and shoot one during tryouts. I’ve seen kids literally hit the side of the backboard trying to do this.

The coach will instantly think, “Wow. This kid does not know a thing about shot selection. Maybe he’s a low IQ kid.”

Trust me... with the limited time that a coach can see you... this is not the impression you want to make. Even if you play great the rest of the time, the coach already has impression about you and that’s hard to change.

Here is a good measure... can you make 7 out of 10 shots unguarded from a spot. Maybe 6 out of 10 for youth players. If not, don’t take the shot at tryouts.


2.Hustle! Hustle! Hustle!

There is no excuse for any player on this one. You just have to commit and develop that mentality.

When the ball is on the floor, dive on the floor. Box out on every shot. Sprint on the fast break. Sprint to spots on the floor on defense.

Communicate on defense and offense. Be loud and do it often.

These are things that every player can do and every player should do.

This is why you see players who aren’t skilled make the team. They’re willing to do the little things that make teams good or great.


3.Don’t be just one of the guys in the crowd - Make a great first impression.

Here is a great way to make a first impression.

When the coach calls everybody in at the beginning of the first tryout...

Instead of walking out there or jogging out there like every other kid.

Sprint! Sprint directly to the coach and stand right in front of him. Stand tall and keep eye contact on the coach during the entire talk.

I guarantee you’ll have the coach’s attention. I’ve conducted tryouts. I’ve been in rooms with coaches discussing who to cut. This makes a difference.

Your buddies may give you some crap, but you’ll be the one laughing when you make the team or get more playing time than them.


4.Avoid the amazing play mentality. Do something that makes you stand out in a positive way.

This is not what you think. This is not making an amazing play. Remember... do what you do well.

Flashy doesn’t impress coaches. It may look cool on the playground, but that’s why you don’t see NBA guys doing streetball moves during games. It’s flash. It’s hype. It’s not effective against good players.

You should do something with substance that coaches will notice in a positive way.

Earlier, I mentioned communicate on defense.

One time when I was conducting a tryout for 3rd to 8th graders, we were with the 4th grader session.

All of the sudden, across the gym, I hear a blaring yell “Screen! Screen! Screen!” It was from this little guy named Tommy.

Ten seconds later, I hear Tommy yell again, “I got ball!”

This continued the whole day. He communicated early. He communicated loud. He communicated often. (ELO – Early Loud Often. Kevin Eastman would have been proud.)

There may have been 30 other kids communicating in the gym, but he is the only one I remembered. I didn’t know him before the tryouts, but I sure know him now. Guess what... he made the first team.


5.Don’t be shy – Talk to the coaches before tryouts.

Too many make the big mistake of being too shy to talk to the coach. And this can make a huge difference with making the team.

Sometimes, this simple act will elevate you in the eyes of the coaches because they know that you care and you’ll do whatever it takes to help the team.

Be specific. Tell the coach that you really want to make the team. Ask them what they need on their team.


6.Be a great teammate – Great attitude and sportsmanship

Every coach wants a player who is a great teammate and makes the players better around them.

You can do this by...

  • Being a great practice player and challenging your teammates during practice to make the team better.

  • By putting everybody in a better mood with your positive attitude. Let’s face it... we’re all humans and it’s more enjoyable to have a little fun in life. Nobody wants to be around a person with a poor attitude.

  • Display great sportsmanship. When a coach sees you helping players off the floor and playing hard but clean basketball, they know that they can count on you not to lose your cool and hurt your team in a negative way at an important time.


7.Get there early / warm up properly.

Getting there early shows the coach that you care and that he can depend on you to show up on time to practices and games.

Also, make sure to warm up prior to playing, so you are playing your best as soon as the whistle blows. First impressions are very important.


8.Who cares if you screw up – Next play!

If you make a mistake... oh well, it happens. Everybody makes mistakes.

Always go on to the next play.

The best players react in a positive way to those mistakes and don’t let them snowball into a bunch of mistakes.


There are no guarantees in life. However, if you use the tips mentioned above, you will dramatically increase your chances to make the team and earning more playing time.


If you are serious about becoming a better player, we offer Basketball Camps throughout the country during the spring, summer, and fall.

To check out the different camps, Click Here.

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