How Do Basketball Tryouts Work? (Drills + Tips)

Have you ever tried out for a basketball team? If you haven’t, then we’re sure you’re curious as to what goes on in one of them, right?

While not all tryouts are the same, we decided to write this guide, so you’ll know what to expect.

Plus, read until the end to catch our best tips so you can pass any basketball tryout!

What are Basketball Tryouts?

Basketball tryouts are sort of like an audition to gauge your skill level. Schools hold tryouts so that they can filter players with potential from the herd of potential players.

If they don’t hold tryouts, they won’t know which players are the best of the bunch. Plus, it will be hard to judge a player’s skills just by looking at them alone and their past experiences.

So, basketball tryouts are held a lot by middle schools, high schools, college teams and even in the G-League.

How do Basketball Tryouts Work?

Basketball tryouts are a chance for players to show their skills and experiences. But how exactly do these tryouts work?

Every tryout can be different since different teams will be doing them. Plus, a school can have their own tryout system that they’ve developed to specifically find talented players.

That said, since there are a specific set of skills needed to play basketball, we imagine all tryouts to be similar.

What most coaches would want to see is what players can do with:

  • Shooting
  • Ball Handling
  • Defense
  • Passing
  • Rebounding
  • Footwork

If you noticed, coaches want to see your foundational skills. These are the minimum skills that every great player should have. For now, they’re not looking for advanced techniques especially for high school levels and below.

But to gauge a player’s skills, they will hold several drills. Here are the drills that they may let you do:

  • Dribbling and Finishing
  • Weave and Finish
  • Form Shooting
  • Passing
  • Pass and Cut Lay Ups
  • Speed Dribble

Aside from these drills, a coach may hold a scrimmage at the end to let the players’ skills flourish. This practice game is short as its purpose is to test the players skills and teamwork.

During the scrimmage, the culmination of the individual drills you did will come into play.

After that, the coach and his team may make their decision immediately on who passes, or they may relay this in the coming days. If they didn’t find what they’re looking for, they may hold another tryout.  

Top 5 Tips to Win at Basketball Tryouts

Whether you’re trying out for a youth basketball team or a college team, you’ll do well with these tips. We know you’ll be nervous especially if this is your first try out ever.

But if you know what coaches are looking for, then you can pass with flying colors. Here are the most important things you need to know to get into a basketball team.

1. Showcase your skills

What coaches are looking for the most in a basketball tryout are your foundational skills. These are the basic skills you’ve learned during your early days that you’ve been honing up to now.

Think of your passing, shooting, rebounding, footwork, and running. You need to master these before you can even show off your other skills.

That said, you also need to stand out if you want to get into a basketball team. To do that, you’ll need to lean on your best skills. For instance, if you’re great at shooting, make sure to showcase your abilities.

2. Pay attention to instructions

Skills are important in basketball but those are useless if a player doesn’t listen to anyone. Basketball is still a team sport, so you need to show to the coach that you listen to instructions.

Every drill will have an instruction, so you need to listen carefully. As long as you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to pass every drill.

3. Attitude is important

Aside from having the skills, coaches will also observe your attitude during tryouts. Show them that you can always get back up even after a mistake.

No one is perfect but what matters most is that you always have that drive to win. Show sportsmanship, camaraderie, and your drive at all times.

4. Hustle

Let’s be honest, a lot of players at tryouts will try to show off with flashy moves. But not everyone loves to go after the ball, rebound or to defend.

So, you can one up your competition by hustling with every play. Make every possession last especially since scrimmages are short.

Don’t be afraid to dive for the ball, chasing a fastbreak or defending with all you’ve got. The coaches will definitely keep an eye on you.

5. Communicate with others

There’s nothing wrong with letting your game do the talking. But basketball is a team sport s communication is important.

Be vocal and always let your teammates know what you want them to do. For instance, you can tell a teammate to switch as you can see a screen coming up.

It’s these little things that makes life easier for everyone in the team that coaches love to see.


How long are basketball tryouts

Basketball tryouts can take anywhere from a day to multiple days. It all depends on how many players a team is planning to get and how rigid their process will be.

What to wear to basketball tryouts

Unless there’s a specific uniform to wear, you can go with your jersey, shorts, and basketball shoes. Forget about sleeves or wristbands for now as those can get in the way.

Do college teams hold tryouts?

Some college teams may hold walk-on tryouts where anyone can join. This is a chance for non-scholar players to join the team.

Does the NBA hold try outs?

No, the NBA doesn’t hold tryouts. There are only two ways to get into the NBA which is through the draft and the G-League.

That said, G-League teams hold tryouts a lot of times. But be prepared to pay a few hundreds to play.  

Final Thoughts

Basketball tryouts are necessary to find talented players. But just as there are passing scores with a test, there are also ways to get into a basketball team with a tryout.

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