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8 Best Basketball Drills For Your Next Tryout

8 Best Basketball Drills For Your Next Tryout

Youth Sports •

When it comes to basketball tryouts, finding the right drills is key to efficiently evaluating basketball players. Time is of the essence, so you need the right tools and drills organized to ensure a smooth, successful evaluation.

Keep it simple, though, you don’t want to spend hours teaching new players how to run complicated drills. Stick to what you know and keep it easy to follow.

It’s important to remember that not all players will have the same experience or skill level. You want to be able to accommodate everyone, including those with potential but less experience. Being inclusive is key to finding the best players for your team.

If you’re looking for an easier way to evaluate your ball players, where you will eliminate basketball forms and data entry, this can be accomplished using the SkillShark App, the leading choice for coaches, and the highest-rated evaluation app on Google. Using SkillShark, you can easily score athletes on any criteria using your smartphone or tablet.

basketball evaluation software

Here are my top 8 tried-and-true drills for tryouts. They’re simple yet effective in helping you evaluate players and find the perfect fit for your team.

4 Key Components of A Basketball Tryout

During basketball tryouts, it is important to analyze, assess, and evaluate players based on four critical components. Let’s look at these four components in a bit more detail.

1. Basketball IQ

Observing how they apply their skills and athleticism during live games is essential to gauge a player’s understanding of basketball. To do this, incorporating small-sided games such as 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 play is necessary.

Players must be able to transfer their learned skills into game scenarios and use them effectively. Including games in your tryout process is crucial to assess a player’s basketball IQ properly.

2. Overall Athleticism

In basketball, skills are crucial, but athleticism is not far behind. Successful teams are those with a good measure of athleticism. Although it’s not always the case that the most athletic team wins, teams that lack athleticism usually find it tough to win consistently.

This is why athleticism is a significant factor when assessing players during tryouts. But just being fast and being able to jump high isn’t enough. Observing how a player utilizes their athleticism and skills in combination is more crucial.

A player who can run like lightning but can’t handle the ball well won’t make your team competitive. It’s all about balance, which makes a player stand out on the court.

3. Skill Level

During tryouts, coaches prioritize evaluating players’ skill levels in dribbling, shooting, passing, and playing defense. Those who lack proficiency in these critical areas will inevitably find themselves at the bottom of the list. Evaluating players’ skills can be accomplished by having them participate in drills or small-sided games, both of which will be discussed shortly.

4. The One Percenters

One vital aspect to consider when evaluating players is how they pay attention to details. Specifically, you should look at how coachable they are and how they interact with their teammates.

A coachable player listens to directions, asks questions, and keeps trying even if they initially struggle. Being a good teammate is also crucial, as nobody wants to play with someone narcissistic or unpleasant.

By evaluating a player’s skills, athleticism, game performance, and attention to detail, you can determine who will be a valuable addition to your team on and off the court. If players excel in all these areas, they are exceptional.

Top 8 Basketball Tryout Drills

Coaches must ask the crucial question of how to assess their players’ abilities. The drills selected, and the progression utilized with each drill holds the answer.

Depending on the coaching level, the speed of progression from one skill to the next may vary due to the skills and concepts each player brings to basketball tryouts on day one.

1. Dribble With Layup

For this basketball drill, you must set up two lines of players on opposite ends of the court. Place two cones at half-court, one on each side, to make the drill more challenging.

The first player in each line should start by dribbling down the court and performing a dribble move at the cone, such as a cross-over or in-and-out action. This will help them practice their dribbling skills and improve their ball-handling technique. Once they have completed the move, they should dribble toward the basket and finish with a layup.

This will test their ability to score under pressure and improve their layup skills. If they miss the shot, they should retrieve their rebound and go to the end of the line. It’s important to note that both lines should perform the drill simultaneously to make it more competitive and engaging for all players.

Here’s a similar lay-up drill for practicing left and right-handed.

2. Dribble with agility movements

To enhance the training session, you can execute the above drill by incorporating additional cones in the frontcourt. Directing players to dribble through the arranged cones while utilizing the instructed move to display agility is highly recommended. Once this is accomplished, players should continue dribbling down the court and conclude the drill with a more creative layup.

Click here for more great basketball agility drills.

3. Move and Pass

To perform this drill effectively, it is best to pair up two players who stand opposite each other and maintain a distance of approximately 12 feet, the width of the lanes. As they move down the court, the players should throw chest passes to each other and then conclude the drill with one player making a layup.

To start the drill, it is recommended to complete six passes down the court. Gradually decrease the number of passes to five, four, and eventually three.

See more on Move and Pass Drill for Basketball

4. Around the World

To effectively evaluate the current technique of players, it is recommended to have them perform close-range shooting from 7 specific locations in front of the basketball hoop.

Each player should attempt to make seven consecutive shots at each spot before moving on to the next one. The ultimate objective is for the player to make 35 shots in a row successfully.

By following this structured approach, coaches, and trainers can gain valuable insight into their players’ current technique and skill level.

See Basketball Drill Around The World on YouTube

5. Quick Release

Organizing 5-7 cones in a semi-circle formation at a distance of 12-15 feet from the basket is advised to conduct this particular drill.

The player should begin by shooting at one of the cones, then retrieve their rebound, and then dribble back to the nearest cone to take another shot. This sequence should be repeated for a duration of 2-3 minutes.

The coach must keep a record of the number of successful shots made by each player for evaluation purposes.

Click here to watch and learn more on Basketball Quick Release and Basketball Shooting Drills

6. Free Throws

To assess the performance of players during free-throw shooting, it is recommended to have them attempt 40 to 50 free throws in sets of ten. Keep a record of the number of successful shots made by each player.

7. Layups

When it comes to basketball, mastering the art of layups requires a distinct set of skills that differs from those needed for shooting. If you’re looking to gauge the layup abilities of your athletes, a drill specifically designed for this purpose can be highly effective.

Watch this great video on Basketball Layup Drills

8. Game Practice

When evaluating the offensive and defensive abilities of players, it is most effective to do so in real game-time situations. Tryouts present the perfect opportunity to conduct such evaluations through a variety of practice games.

One option is to have players compete in one-on-one matchups, which can provide insight into individual skills and decision-making. Another approach is to have small teams play in a three-on-three scrimmage, which can reveal how players work together and communicate on the court.

Finally, a full five-on-five allows coaches to assess a player’s performance ability in a competitive and dynamic environment. These practice game scenarios accurately represent players’ capabilities and enable coaches to make informed decisions when building their teams.

That’s A Wrap

Following the outline above, you can confidently decide which players to keep and which to let go after just a couple of days of basketball tryouts.

While it can be tough for coaches to evaluate their players, the real challenge comes when it’s time to talk to a player who is passionate about the game but may not have what it takes to make the team. However, by being kind, honest, and supportive during these conversations, you can help these players grow both on and off the court.

Remember that every player, regardless of whether they make the team, has something valuable to offer and can benefit from your guidance.

Brenton Barker

Brenton Barker: Former Professional Sports Coach/Manager // Brenton is an Australian with 20 years of experience working with professional athletes. These athletes have combined to win more than ten international events. He holds a Degree in Sports Coaching and was the former Head Advisor to the Japanese Government Sports Institute.