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Have you ever wondered exactly what coaches look for in a tryout situation?

Why do some kids get picked and others don’t?

Check out the “PICK ME” tryout tips below!

P – Preparation is Key

Athletes need to be organised and prepared for tryouts. Be sure to arrive at the venue early, with time to register and warm up. Make sure you are ready to go for start of the session. Ensure you have a water bottle, reversable singlet, ball, note book and pen.

I – Identify Your Strengths

Prior to the tryouts, allocate some time to identify your strengths. Set 3 goals for the tryout, for example;

  • Be a scorer, penetrate with confidence. GOAL – 5 shots in the paint off the dribble.
  • Be a presence inside, box out. GOAL – 4 defensive rebounds.
  • Be a team player, create for others. GOAL – 5 kick ahead passes/assists.

C – Coachable Kids are Capable Athletes

Be an athlete that is willing to learn, coachable players are the most successful ones! Athletes that display a growth mind set will always be selected over athletes with a fixed mindset. Are you an athlete that displays coachable traits?

  • Be an active listener
  • Be respectful, don’t dribble the ball when coach is talking
  • Be respectful, look the coach in the eye
  • Be a positive communicator
  • Be a team player
  • Be a problem solver
  • Be ready, if you’re not sure what to do – ask a question!

K – Knowledge is Power!

Experienced coaches plan each session with a purpose, a tryout is no different! Most tryout sessions (depending on age and ability) will have a skill component, concept component and half/full court play phase. Athletes need to look for the part of the session when the coach will teach a concept, for example; an offensive play or defensive concept. Coaches are looking for athletes who can replicate these concepts in the play phase of the session.

Some athletes might experience some new drills when participating in a tryout session. If you come across a complex new drill and find it hard, try the tips below;

  • Be sure to listen actively to the coach during the demo, if it is a complex drill, focus on the actions of ONE player
  • If you are unfamiliar with the drill, go to the back of the line and watch the athletes perform the drill ahead of you
  • Be an active line observer – choose ONE athlete in YOUR LINE and watch
  • Find the rotation pattern – all drills will involve players to rotate positions/lines, what is the pattern? Follow the leader? Offence to defence / defence out?
  • If you are not sure ask another player
  • If you are not sure ask the coach

M – Make Your Mark!

Tryouts are not only stressful for players, coaches can also find themselves in a high-pressure situation. The majority of trials are executed with a large number of athletes, limited court space and not enough time. You can’t assume that the selectors know you! So, make it easy for them to recognize you;

  • Wear easily identifiable clothing
  • Unique hair style
  • Coloured mouth guard
  • Long socks
  • Sweat bands
  • Skins/ long sleeves.

This might just be the difference between a coach recalling a great post move, strong rebound or sweet shot!

It’s also a good idea to volunteer for drills (if you feel comfortable) and thank the coaches with a handshake at the end of session.

E – Effort is Everything!

Coaches are always looking for athletes who give 100%. Remember, it doesn’t take a great amount of talent to sprint after a loose ball, pick up your player early, box out and rebound. It’s all about effort, don’t get out-hustled! If you make a mistake – don’t worry! Just think about the next phase of the game, no need to live in the past!

Good Luck!