What To Expect At Your First Basketball Tryout

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It’s your first tryout.


You like basketball, and maybe play a lot, but you’ve never actually played for a team before — never even tried to, actually. But you’re set to try out for a team finally. What’s going to happen, and what can you expect? I’ll share some general expectations with you.


To develop your skills ahead of tryouts day, get my workbook, Basketball: 30 Days To Tryouts.


It’s Basketball

Though it’s your first tryout, it’s not your first time playing the sport. I will assume that you’re trying out because you actually like basketball and have played it enough to believe you’re ready to take the next step in commitment by joining a team (if you make the club).


So know this: It’s the same game.


If it’s your first tryout, you may will be subject to drills that you’ve never seen or done. You may be confused by some of the instructions given. Other players will be better than you, and understand stuff that confuses you.


There’s nothing tragic about any of this. This is what happens when it’s your first time doing something.


So here’s what you do: Play basketball.


Dribbling is still dribbling, shooting is still shooting, passing is passing, the rules are still the rules. Do what you know how to do; learn the rest. This is the process of learning anything. Get used to it.


There Are Few Guarantees Of The Process

Players like to ask me what drills they should expect at a tryout. The truth is, I don’t know what will happen at your tryouts. The only person who knows is the coach, and there are no “basketball tryout standards” that every coach must adhere to. To each, his/her own.


I’ve had coaches who changed their tryout procedure for every new team they put together. Same coach, new process. So there are no basics, aside from the standard rules and skills of the game, to know that are guaranteed to be used or asked of you at a tryout.


Which means…


Don’t Jerk Off On Information

Many performers spend way too much pre-performance time trying to learn everything they can about what they’re set to encounter; while some of that information can be informative, there’s a point at which more information starts to get in our way. We’re thinking too much, trying to remember what we read or heard, instead of simply reacting and doing.


Don’t watch every YouTube video on tryouts. Don’t read every blog post. Don’t poll every player you know about it. There’s not much that any of those videos or posts say is going to add to your skill set. You have what you have, and you’ll either make the team or you won’t. If you want to prepare, develop skills, as opposed to trying to guess what tryouts will be like.


Just Play, Dammit!

Players spend more time mentally stressing before tryouts than there is actual stress during tryouts. All that energy wasted, for nothing.


When you get to tryouts, get on the court and play. Do what you can do, and hopefully that’s good enough to earn you a spot. If not, now you have some ideas of what you need to work on.




I wrote this post to help clear your mind ahead of tryouts. I don’t want you having more to think or guess or stress about. Play the game — what happens, happens.

To develop your skills ahead of tryouts day, get my workbook, Basketball: 30 Days To Tryouts.