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

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 itís 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 Iíve seen players like you make these critical mistakes over and over and over again.

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

Iím 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, donít step out and shoot one during tryouts. Iíve seen kids literally hit the side of the backboard trying to do this.

The coach will instantly think, ďWow. This kid does not know a thing about shot selection. Maybe heís a low IQ kid.Ē

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 thatís 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, donít 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 arenít skilled make the team. Theyíre willing to do the little things that make teams good or great.

3. Donít 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 youíll have the coachís attention. Iíve conducted tryouts. Iíve been in rooms with coaches discussing who to cut. This makes a difference.

Your buddies may give you some crap, but youíll 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 doesnít impress coaches. It may look cool on the playground, but thatís why you donít see NBA guys doing streetball moves during games. Itís flash. Itís hype. Itís 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 ďScreen! Screen! Screen!Ē It was from this little guy named Tommy.

Ten seconds later, I hear Tommy yell again, ďI got ball!Ē

This continued the whole day. He communicated early. He communicated loud. He communicated often. (ELO Ė 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 didnít know him before the tryouts, but I sure know him now. Guess what... he made the first team.

5. Donít be shy Ė 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 youíll 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 Ė 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. Letís face it... weíre all humans and itís 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 Ė 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 donít 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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What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Big Player says:
4/13/2021 at 1:50:44 PM

I'm a sophomore and I didn't try out this year but I will next year, my friend is a junior this year and on the Varsity team, I've been practicing for 2 1/2 hour every day and I've gotten really good, but just in case do you think if my friend mentions me to the coach that could improve my chances?

  1 reply  

Experienced Player says:
6/23/2021 at 8:54:46 PM

No, that is the last thing you want, because if you do not live up to expectations you and your friend will be looked on poorly by the coach, and he will fee lied to, if you are good enough and if you will work hard enough you will make the team, thats all there is to it.


Jeremy says:
3/8/2021 at 3:40:14 PM

I am currently a freshmen trying out for the high school basketball team wish me luck


Hooper says:
2/11/2021 at 1:08:16 PM

I made my high school JV team thanks!


anna says:
10/27/2020 at 11:16:36 AM

I am trying out for basketball right now and honestly y'all are complaining about bad passes for teammates and all that but you need to take accountability because you cant just go blaming your mistakes off on other people your whole life.

  1 reply  

Hiam says:
11/10/2020 at 6:36:28 PM

The thing is, I tried out for basketball, and I'm still going through the tryout. My coaches think I'm dumb, and congratulate me for my "first shot" out of 10! Hooray! 😎🤨


Dashia says:
10/26/2020 at 7:50:24 PM

I am trying out for the team October 26th through November 5. I went today and it was good other than the 3 man weave. I always get confused on that do you have any tips. Also when i do a layup i always forget to lift my leg. Do you also have any tips for helping me remember.

  1 reply  

Experienced Player says:
6/23/2021 at 8:56:25 PM

Just keep practicing layups, for the three man weave all you have to remember is hustle and go behind who you passed it to.


Addison Evergreen Shultz says:
10/6/2020 at 11:28:02 AM

My basketball tryouts are on October 26. Plz plz plzzzz wish me luck. I am trying out for the middle school team for the first time. Plz wish me luck!

  2 replies  

Name says:
10/22/2020 at 2:28:15 PM

Good luck! Mine is for 7th graders, and it's today!

  1 reply  

Hiam says:
11/10/2020 at 6:38:44 PM

Oh gosh I'm in 7th grade


Michael J. Jordan says:
5/4/2021 at 11:14:26 AM

Good luck to all the young kids trying out, remember, It's hard but it's never Impossible.


Help says:
10/6/2020 at 11:23:56 AM

What about during Covid? I can't go practice with my friend!


Brianna says:
9/28/2020 at 8:25:33 PM

This is a really good note and it didnt sound like you were being cocky but it sounded like you were overonfident just wait till next year be more of a team player and dont think ur better than others cuz thats how it will seem you act


LX says:
5/5/2020 at 1:29:10 PM

Look up videos, it really helps, or get a personal trainer, that''s how I learned a TONNN


Not to be known says:
1/14/2020 at 1:47:00 AM

I forgot to tryout for seniors and tried out for juniors. 15 people could only make it and I’m at least in the top 5 best player in there. The rest couldn’t shoot or dribble properly and basketball wasn’t there first sport. I was very confident and not worried about getting cut but didn’t let that interfere with my game. I put lots of effort helped people understand the drills and acted like a leader. I did good passing made all my shots and never did anything cocky or extra. There were other people who were air balling . I was calling for ball and communicating and complimenting others. I was definitely playing the best out of most people and i don’t think 15 people played better, only 2 people but they always pick the tall guys and they were 2 of them so I thought they would think I was there 3 or 4 best option. But then they tell me I get cut. I’m surprised because most of the people thought I was lying because I am good and even should almost be in the senior team if I tried out. I thought it can’t be anything about my skill and effort but a drill I “messed up”. When i was doing the drill I did everything perfectly right but then the coach told me do go back and everyone doing the drill. He did that because he wanted to use us to show the people how to do it right but our gym teacher who was helping the coaches do the drill and picking the players thought I messed up because he told everyone that we should ask questions if we don’t understand and called out my name for not asking. If u think it’s a misunderstanding it’s not because he hates me. One time I was walking down the hallway towards the gym to eat my lunch like the other 700 students are and the couple 50 who are behind me are. Then he told me get out of my hallway. First of all how I’m i supposed to go to the gym and 2 of all 700 students do it every day so they can go to the gym which is the only way to the gym. I thought he was joking but the. He accused me of talking back and he said do u want to go to the office. He had done more things but it’s too much long story’s. Anyways by me talking u guys think I’m cocky but i was acting humble and not being a show off. It’s like 5 nba all stars and your Stephen curry and the rest are players in the g league which u know your way better than. Then u get cut. That’s how disappointing it is because seeing the guy I was helping shoot because he kept airballing make it over me Is fustrating because u know how they are not that good but u get cut.

  1 reply  

Hiam says:
11/10/2020 at 6:50:50 PM


I know you said you weren't being cocky but did you ask? Did you ask them what you could work on. that could guarantee you a spot next year because they know you care. If they have no answer. You know your right, and deserve that spot, you claim you deserve!


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