A week from tomorrow at 6:30 pm, Winter Springs boy’s basketball will have tryouts. Within 48 hours the raw material of the varsity, JV and freshman teams will be in place and the team building process underway. Here are a couple of my views on the try-out.
I believe the try-out must resemble an actual practice, and not be some estranged exercise. The drills in the practice must involve essential skills that will be a part of your program. In doing these drills, it will be readily apparent as to which players lack the requisite skills to be on the team. And by being on the team, I don’t mean necessarily playing much in games, but simply being a member of the team capable of getting through practice without botching every drill. This is an underrated skill.
Punitive running or pointless, random or unassociated drill work is useless. You will not convince anyone that they shouldn’t play basketball because you ran them too much. You have a decent chance of showing them they can’t play if your try-out is skill-based and relavent to what you will do all year.
Coach the players during the try-out, correct mistakes and see who responds. Include your personality, in my case, a particular sense of humor, and read the response to that as well. If a player is unresponsive to coaching or you individually, they will not enjoy the experience of playing for you, or get much out of it.
Watch the interaction of the players closely. Who is well-liked by their prospective teammates? And who seems to rub everyone wrong? Do certain guys defer to others? If you see either case, confirm it informally by talking casually with the players about the player in question. Particularly when coaching in a community setting, remember that you are often inheriting long-standing relationships, even rivalries. Theses dynamics can be changed and improved, but it easier to do so if you are aware they exist.
Incorporate pick up scrimmaging into the tryout, and do not over coach that segment. Watch what each player does instinctively. Who gets the ball? Who leaks out? Who defends or rebounds? Who runs the floor? Who goes inside and who stands around the perimeter? Who is involved in the game and who disappears? Ultimately who wins? I believe in the adage ‘sports don’t build character, they reveal it.’
Talk to each player individually about thier role on the team or tell them they didn’t make the team. Lists on the locker room wall, or calling out names or numbers is disrespectful to the effort of the player.