What Coaches Look for at Basketball Tryouts

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When you're invited to try out for a basketball team, whether it's a community league or within a school system, understanding what the coaches are looking for can help you achieve the upper hand. Coaches obviously look for skill and talent, but they also have to take into consideration the team balance and the positions they need to fill. By maintaining a good attitude and playing for the team instead of yourself, you can show the coaches what an ideal fit you make for a successful team.

Basketball Skills

The first thing that coaches look for in a person who tries out is skill. Basketball skills for a successful game include dribbling, passing and shooting. Skills are rated through observations of scrimmages and drills so the coaches have a clear idea of which players have the most knowledge of the game and the most talent to make up a skilled team.

Conditioning and Endurance

Basketball is a fast-paced game that requires a high degree of aerobic endurance. Even if you're the best shooter in the league, it might not mean as much if you tire easily on the court. It's likely that the coaches will test your endurance with running drills and scrimmages to see how well you're able to pace yourself during game play. A player that has good endurance and is well-conditioned in the preseason will be a greater asset to the team once you begin playing competitively.


Showing off so coaches can see how well you dribble, run and shoot might get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. Basketball is a team effort, so each player on the team must be able to use the other players to the entire team's advantage. A player who constantly hogs the balls or picks fights with other players, even if he's a skilled basketball player, might be seen as too much trouble. Coaches need to weigh the option of using a difficult, yet skilled player against using a less skilled player that works well with a team. If you exhibit poor sportsmanship, you might not make the cut.


Basketball is an aggressive sport, and sometimes a team wins not because of its collective skill, but their collective drive and the desire to win. Coaches will measure your drive during scrimmages. As you go after wayward balls and play intensely to win, you'll be seen as an asset to the team. Just ensure that you don't confuse athletic aggression and drive with actual aggression and poor control over your temper. The former is seen as a positive trait in the game while the latter could cause you to miss your chance on the team.