You have a team in mind you want to tryout for? Good work, nearly half the battle has been won. You’ve spoken to the coach and you have a date set for tryouts? Have you been working on your game? Your skills and fitness are up to scratch? Thats about it right? Not quite, have you scoped your competition? Do you know what the coaching staff runs as its core structure (offence and defensive sets)? No! This is something that continually gets overlooked so let me make you aware of something that gave me a head start of the other new blood that were trying out for pro teams.
1. Break tape
With youtube it should be simple to view past games. Search for the team you are going to tryout for and watch as much footage as you can. This will give you an understanding of what the coach wants from his team. For example, is the team a quick transition offence team or a half court set team. You’ll understand if the coach wants full court man to man or zone, help side defence. Any insight to the coaches mind helps because it is easier to get a player thats tuned into their principles already than to select someone and try and teach them.
Teams use it to scout the way their competition. Hours get spent on Video footage by the coaching staff. Then the highlights are viewed by the players with coaching staff commenting on the important points. So why can’t you use this technique? By watching as much footage of the team you’ll be trying out for you’ll be able to see players strengths and weaknesses and instantly gain the upper hand.
2. Mimic what the previous years player do
Before going to Solano college I tried out for a D1 school UOP in San Francisco. It was a huge eye opener and I copped an ass kicking. My first taste of D1 and the coaches feedback was to play a year of junior college and tryout for the team the next year. He introduced me to a couple of players that were on the roster from Solano. I watched how they played and took note. It was easy to see the similarities between the two players. I guess they had a way with their feet; their footwork was something I had never seen before. Stride stops, jump stops, making contact on the way to the hoop and taking charges. Very physical and too hard to ignore. Something that I was sure they learnt at Solano.
At the end of the training session I was told by the coach that I could tryout for a position as a walk on but I couldn’t afford the 40k in school fees so I decided to take the coaches advice and tryout for the Solano Falcons community college team.
The preceding days I tried to mimic what I saw the ex Solano players do during that training session with UOP. When I was woking out by myself I spent a lot of time working on the footwork that I saw the players use.
When it came to tryouts with Solano I used the footwork I copied and the way they played the game. I was noticed straight away, I saw coaches make notes in their book and the rest is history, I made the team. Moral of the story, by observing players from the program I was able to win coaches over by displaying principles that they coach.
3. Speak to the coach or coaching staff
This can be confronting and in most cases coaches don’t have time to spend on the phone. But some do so its worth a shot. Give the coach of the team you are about to tryout for a call.
Have a general conversation and ask some questions like:
- What is the style of game you coach?
Defensive presses, full court man to man? By focusing on D you display to the coach that you are a player that wants to work hard for the team and shut players down. Most people want to have the glory of scoring all the points but this question displays you want to do that something that’ll help the team.
- What are the teams strengths? Follow this up with what are the weaknesses?
By this question you can gauge what the coaches pain points are. By knowing what the team lacks you can fill that gap. For example if the team is weak at rebounding if you rebound the hell out of the ball in tryouts you are already ahead of the game. You are displaying the ability to fill a weakness.
Ok, there are something’s you might not be able to fill. If the team lacks bigs in the paint. It would be hard if you are only 5’9″ to fill that role. But don’t be discouraged, at least you are having a conversation with the coach.
Don’t waste all the hard work you have put into getting yourself ready for a tryout. Do your checks. Here are 3 easy ways of getting ahead of the competition during tryouts. Every bit of knowledge helps you get closer to the spot on the team.
Now, before you actually attend the tryout make sure you read 5 COMMON REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET OVERLOOKED AT TRYOUTS. I have listed things that you absolutely must not do during a tryout. If you haven’t yet found a team to tryout for, whether it’s College or Pro. My article GAIN EXPOSURE TO GO PLAY BASKETBALL OVERSEAS is worth a read. I list down ways that you can get noticed.
Good luck! Please let me know if these 3 steps worked for you.