How to Make Your Basketball Team

By October 28, 2016 No Comments

The “real” season is finally upon us. Tryouts are set to begin and it’s a time of great excitement and anticipation. Coaches and players are full of nervous energy. A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into the season. Players have either gotten better or worse. Now that the offseason is behind us, what are the key things players can do during tryouts to make the team? Join us this week as we discuss tips to make your team.

First off, talent will always win out when the athletes are of good character. However, don’t be discouraged if there are more talented players trying out. If you can do the following things, your coach will find a spot for you.

One of the best things you can do as a player is show up early. Not only on the first day of tryouts, but on every day after as well. Be the first on the court and ready to go. If you want to stand out, get to a basket and work on your form shooting rather standing to side socializing. Coaches love players who do the little things right. Getting shots up early while others talk or joke around shows you’re a serious player. By developing and showing good habits early you send a message to the coaching staff that you’re serious, and willing to do what it takes to earn a spot.


You have limited control on your level of natural talent, but you have 100% control over your effort. So, have great hustle. If you’re running a drill and your coach says to touch a line, go a little past the line. Don’t start pulling up short before you should. When it’s your rep in a drill, give it everything you have. Don’t jog or loaf back. Sprint! When moving from one drill to the next, be the first one there and first one up. Remember the great lesson from Coach Wooden, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Do things with eagerness but not to the extent of making mistakes because of carelessness. If you want to make a good first impression, have hustle that is unmatched!

Basketball is a team game, so be a great teammate. If you want to stand out during tryouts, be the loudest encourager in a gym. Many players will be solely focused on themselves. However, if you loudly cheer for, encourage, and praise your teammates you will stand out. If you can bring the three E’s (energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement) your coach will notice. Focus on being an energy giver; not an energy taker.


While tryouts are taking place don’t be silent, ask questions. Coaches want players who are bought in, and nothing shows buy in more than asking questions. Now, you don’t need to ask meaningless questions just to ask them, but questions with the intent of further understanding a philosophy or concept are great. A great way to go about this is trying to understand what each person should be doing in your team’s offense of defense. If you’re able to understand what each person’s responsibilities are you become another coach on the floor. You become a leader. And coaches want leaders.

If you want to make the team and have an impact on it, become a leader. Demonstrate your desire to lead on your team by serving others. Help your teammates out as much as possible. Be the one who helps with water, equipment, and anything else necessary for practice. Start building relationships with players and coaches on day one. Leaders take ownership and don’t blame others. They have confidence and project it towards everyone on the team. Leaders believe in the team’s mission and get others to jump on board. Coaches know a team full of leaders will achieve great things, and they’re always on the lookout for emerging leaders.



Here are few more tips and suggestions on ways to make a great impression during tryouts:

-Be vocal. Talk loudly on offense and defense.

-Acknowledge your teammates when they make a good play, and especially when they give you an assist.

-Have positive body language. Move on after a bad play and win the next one. Project confidence and positive energy through your body language.

-Be in proper mental, moral, and physical condition.

-Visualize yourself doing the things mentioned in this article the night before.

-Be fundamentally sound. Make the right play, not the flashy one.

-Have team spirit. Be all about the team.

-Rep your program’s gear. Coaches love to see athletes wearing the program’s gear proudly.

Good luck!

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!


Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.