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Three Tips to Help You Make Your Travel Basketball Team

Make More Layups and Jump shots

With the fall in full swing and basketball back on the minds of parents and players in New Jersey, I am often getting asked, “Coach, can you give us some tips on how to make the basketball team? He’s got tryouts next week.” This may be as simple as making your layups particularly with your weak hand, knocking down some jump shots, and throwing sound passes to potential teammates.  However, that is way too obvious and I think parents and players know that those are key points in their success at a tryout. That is why I am going to give you three tips you may not have thought of that will help you make your travel basketball team this fall and winter.

Don’t Sit Down

As a former high school basketball coach, I was constantly aware of what was going on with my players in the gym during tryouts and practices. That is to say, I could tell which players were ready to work and which ones were constantly looking for an excuse to take a break.  Anytime that I saw a player sitting down during a drill or during a demonstration of a drill, I took that as a sign that this player really wanted to be good at doing just that, sitting down. So he often times found himself sitting on the bench while other players who were more involved logged minutes in the game. Even to this day, as a basketball skill development coach, I see players always looking to take a break and sitting on the ball, sitting on the chairs that we have set up as defenders for a drill, or my personal favorite, leaning against the wall or as I like to say, “holding the wall up.” This does not constitute work, it shows laziness and disinterest and those are definitely two characteristics a coach that is running a tryout does not want to see in players on his team. So if you are sitting down at tryouts, chances are you will be sitting this season out.

Pay Attention to Instructions

Another important characteristic a coach at a tryout likes to see is a player who is paying attention to his every word. This type of player is actively involved mentally in the demonstration of drills, asks relevant questions when the time arises, and executes those drills perfectly on the first repetition and every one thereafter. This is not the player who is staring off into space in the opposite direction of the demonstration or the player who is tossing the ball off the wall and catching it, or even the player that is hiding behind all the others talking to his friend. It is that player that does not know what is going on in the drill, does not execute the drill correctly, and has to ask question, not because he needs to learn a concept, but rather because he needs to find out what he is supposed to be doing. Paying attention to the coach is a crucial characteristic because it shows the coach a player that is willing to learn throughout the season and one who, when it’s crunch time can be called upon to execute a play to perfection that a coach draws up in the huddle.

Don’t Get Caught Walking

One last tip on how you can catch the coach’s eye during tryouts and make the team is to never get caught walking. If a coach calls the group to half court, you better be one of the first ones there. If a coach sends you off to a drill, be the first one there and start organizing that drill. A player who moves at their own pace when a coach has expectations of much more is bound to find himself looking for another team. This type of “I’ll get there when I get there” attitude shows the coach that you are not the type of player who is going to give it his all the entire practice and more importantly, game. It also shows that when it’s crunch time and coach calls a timeout that only lasts 30 seconds or a minute, he is not going to have to waste time waiting for you to walk over to the bench because you will have already sprinted there and are ready and waiting for him.

Make Your NJ Travel Basketball Team

Yes, coaches at tryouts look for players who make shots but what is going to separate you from the rest of the players in attendance are these three tips:

  1. Don’t get caught sitting down. That shows the coach that you are tired and not ready to give it your all in the drills.
  2. Pay attention to coach’s instructions. This shows you are interested in what he is saying and in actually making the basketball team.
  3. Sprint to your spots. This shows enthusiasm and a willingness to give it your all and get more reps in since you will always be the first one there. 


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