Player Tryouts, General Concepts

As the real season approaches for many of you, this seems to be a topic that is coming up more often. Mostly team tryouts happen at the lower levels, when you have a bunch of players and only 25 or so spots for 2 teams. I'm not sure there is an exact science or a correct way to conduct tryouts, but here is what I've done in the past.

I think it's important to use both an objective and subjective approach for player evaluation. I usually try to incorporate a quantitative component and a qualitative component to the tryout. So basically part of the evaluation will be straight up numbers, how fast, how many wall bounces, how many baskets, how many side-to-sides. The next part will be based on scrimmages and observations.


The quantitative will measure certain athletic abilities, are they tall? are they fast? can they move laterally? can they jump? are they coordinated? So you want to have a spreadsheet and record how many each player gets in a certain time period,

- baseline to baseline sprint
- mikan drill
- wall bounces
- defensive slides inside the key, touch line to line
- alternating foot to ball taps
- wall taps


The qualitative will measure the tangibles, basketball IQ, do they make smart decisions? do they play under control? are they confident with the ball?

- 2-on-2 halfcourt
- 3-on-3 fullcourt
- 3-on-3 no dribble, to see how the players move without the ball

Doing both quantitative and qualitative is important for a couple of reasons. The quantitative will allow you to determine how athletic this person is. Maybe you come across a kid that can't do a layup yet, but if they can run a 4.5 40-yd dash, I think you'll be able to find a spot for that player on your team. The qualitative will allow you to determine whether the player is coachable and works well with others. Maybe you come across a kid that is slightly overweight but has a great attitude and is working harder than everyone else.

Most of the time, the top 50% of the players will be easy to pick. It's the other 50% that you'll need to worry about.

Now if you or your son/daughter did not make the team this year, there are some great videos to look at that will help you become a better player and hopefully make the team next year. Take a look at 5Star's DVD on the Individual Improvement plan. And lets not forget the famous case of Michael Jordan, who was cut from his Varsity team but made it a year later. If MJ can do it, so can you.

If you're looking for tryout stuff, I have plenty of notes so be sure to check them out at the X's and O's of Basketball Forum.