All of these tips in theory are ridiculously easy to do in a tryout situation, and yet I promise you, these 4 things will separate you from the group.  Let’s talk about them.

  • Talk – Talk – Talk
  1. When You Arrive. It starts when you come into the gym. Introduce yourself to ALL of the coaches.  Make sure they know your name, your school, and be ready to talk generally about any mutual connections that you may have.
  2. On Defense. Obviously, right?  Yet in every tryout you’ll hear the coaches point this out over and over again.  Call ball if you’ve got ball.  Let your teammates know when you have their weak side help.  Call out screens.  Call shot so we know we’re rebounding.  Open your mouth!!
  3. In Line. Talk to the other players around you.  Tell ‘em good shot when they score.  Encourage someone.  Do you want to stand out?  Everyone is not doing this.  It’s easy to do.
  • Hustle Everywhere.

This should go without saying, but it needs to be said.  Here’s the difference…everyone hustles when they have the ball.  Most will hustle on defense.  But here’s where they don’t hustle…..when everyone’s standing around shooting before you get started and the coach blows his whistle and says “Bring it in!”  And 30 players walk casually over to the huddle.  If you wanna stand out, hustle your rear end over to the huddle.  When the coach needs a ball, get him one.  It’s easy to do.  It falls into the category of hustle.

  • Game Like Passes.

Here’s an example:  The Closeout Drill.  You know the one?  A defender starts with the ball and throws it out to the shooter.  The defender follows his pass to closeout on the shooter.  Here’s a tryout tip:  Pass it like you mean it!  This is a matter of basketball integrity and work ethic.  It separates players.  The one who under hands a lob pass out so they can close out in time discloses their character immediately.  Coaches want players that will push themselves and their teammates to be the best they can be.  One important way to do that is with game like passes in every situation.

  • You Be You.

Play to your strengths in the tryout situation.  It’s not the time to work on the parts of your game that are challenges, or to change who you are as a player.

If you’re a shooter, shoot.  But let’s be clear, most players think they’re shooters.  And even a shooter can have an off day.  A coach knows that.  Unless you are shooting completely lights out, you won’t separate yourself from the others with your shooting.  What are the other areas of your game that you do well?  If you’re a rebounder, get after every ball!  If you’re a defender, let me give you a nugget….go find the best player to guard in every drill situation where you have a choice.  Be vocal about who you’re guarding.  Let everyone know you’re up to the challenge.  The coaches will know the best player out there, and have an eye on that player.  If you can shut that player down, you’ll get noticed too.


Coach Keri

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