You Want An Overseas Basketball Tryout…
Playing basketball overseas will only become a more and more highly-desired job as more information is shared about the industry (you can stay tuned to me for that) and more players have the ability to share more about their experiences through social media, YouTube and the like.
Desiring a job doesn’t mean that you’ll actually get one, though. You have to cut through the fat, so to speak, and get yourself seen.
While the ideal process for getting hired to a professional basketball job is that a team comes directly to you with a contract offer — which you sign and then go start playing — it doesn’t always happen so smoothly.
Sometimes you’ll have to “work for food,” and get signed via a tryout with an overseas basketball club.
Tryout (noun): a test of the potential of someone or something, especially in the context of entertainment or sports.
If you’re reading this, you probably know what a tryout is — most sports teams at every level have them every season.
College teams call them “walk-on tryouts,” held for the wanna-be players who were not recruited and are not on scholarship.
In baseball, it’s Spring Training — and the players who don’t make Opening Day rosters usually end up in the minor leagues.
In the NBA and G-League, it’s called “Training Camp,” and more players get invited to training camps than actually end up on the opening night rosters.
Simply stayed, a tryout is your chance to show what you can do on the court in front of the powers-that-be. They then make a decision about whether to offer you a roster spot or not.
How quickly “they” (coach, management, ownership etc) make a decision is 100% at their discretion.
I’ve seen players get one-day tryouts, week- and even month-long “trial” periods during which players like you join the prospective overseas team and do everything they do: practices, games and all.
This article’s purpose is to share with you four specific methods that any player can use to get an overseas basketball tryout.
(DISCLAIMER: Getting a tryout still requires you to perform and earn your roster spot — consult HoopHandbook if you need help with skill development.)
1) Show Up Where They Are
In short: be in the country or town where your desired team is based, contact the team directly, and offer to show up on your own volition (and your own dime) to prove yourself as a worthy player for that team.
This is the overseas basketball version of (literally) walking on.
- You must identify a specific team (or teams) to which to make such an offer. How will you decide what country or what team(s) to target???
- You’ll have to actually be in (or travel to) the country or town where your desired overseas team is for this to work. Unless you’re traveling for pleasure, backpacking across the world, or just happen to be living in __________ (name of foreign country), I don’t know why you’d otherwise be there.
- Technically, you could arrange a tryout this way and then fly from where you are to where that team is — but this incurs the investment of an international flight ticket, the cost of housing, and your food while you’re there — all with zero guarantees of anything coming from it.
- If you’re gonna use this option, I would suggest that you reasonably hedge your bets; i.e. know someone on the “inside” of a team who can assure you of a solid chance of making the roster, or having some other business in that country other than just a hope and a prayer of making a team.
2) Let Your Agent Do Their Job
This assumes, of course, that you have an agent.
If you do, then trust your agent to do what an agent does: market you and help you get the right playing opportunity.
A good agent should be considering factors other than just, is this a team that I could play for?
That may be how you are thinking, but your agent would also be considering the reputation of the team, its coaching staff and management, the likelihood that you’ll actually receive the money owed to you, and whether your joining a specific team actually advances your career (depending on where you’ve played before, certain countries and leagues would be steps forward or backward for your career progression).
Not to mention that a good agent has key relationships that you don’t have — which means, their calls and emails get answered where yours would not.
A good agent would know and handle all of this on your behalf.
3) Have a Friend Who Can Get Your Foot In The Door
How it works: you have a friend, maybe an ex-teammate from college or the pros, who has a job somewhere.
(This option requires that you actually have a friend who’s employed overseas. Without that “plug,” this option isn’t for you — move on to point #4.)
Because they’re your friend, they invite (or allow) you to come to their overseas living space and stay there temporarily while you execute everything from point #1 and pitch yourself to local teams — minus the flight and housing expenses.
If you’re really lucky, maybe your already-employed friend recommends you as a player for the same team they’re already on and literally walks you into the gym with their personal co-sign.
Consider yourself super-lucky if this happens.
I know a player who got a contract this way — I’m not comfortable saying whether or not he would have ever gotten a deal without it. Luck matters in life.
I’ve known of some players who did this one successfully. Personally, athough I’ve had friends playing overseas, I never used this — because I was either already employed, or didn’t seriously consider it. But I have seen it work.
Use this option, along with all the others I share here, at your own risk. There are no guarantees in this game.
4) Earn Your Way In, The Old Fashioned Way
Plain and simple, you get a tryout based on you showing your game and a team taking interest.
How you would show your game —
- Exposure camp attendance
- Agent marketing you
- Touring team
- Pro basketball academy
A team can see you this way, and though they’re maybe not comfortable offering you a full-fledged contract, they are OK with giving you a chance while they get an up-close look at you.
While it’s not a season-long contract, this — a tryout offer from a team — is an INFINITELY better position to be in than to be just another unsigned player who’s on the outside looking in.
So don’t turn your nose up at it out of foolish pride. Take it and prove your game.
So there you have it: 4 ways to get a tryout with a professional overseas basketball team.
Keep in mind that there are thousands of players trying to get a playing contract right now, and this is a cutthroat business. Every opportunity counts.
If there’s anything about the topic that I haven’t addressed here or in the other Overseas Basketball articles linked below, leave a comment and let me know.
And make sure to claim your free copy of The Overseas Basketball Blueprint so you can start your career ASAP — because pro career windows close quickly.
Get yours here: http://BallOverseas.com
FOLLOW-UP To This Post: Your 10-Step Overseas Basketball Plan, Starting Today
READY FOR YOUR NEXT STEP IN YOUR CAREER? Get my FREE book, The Overseas Basketball Blueprint Here
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