Doherty High School: Player Development

Training for Team Tryouts!


You are young, have some talent, and think you can make the team in the upcoming tryouts. Are you preparing to hit the front of the rim at this shot to make the team, or do you have a clear understanding of a training regimen which would give you the best chance too swish this opportunity.

Your preparation should include different aspects of skill training, conditioning and developing your athleticism. I will attempt to give you some different ideas that when practiced religiously as a whole will greatly improve your chances of making the team. Remember however that basketball is a team sport. You may have great skills and athleticism but to give yourself the best shot to make the team you must remember "it isn't what the team can do for you...but what you can do for your team". Too many players think that because they can score or jump out of the gym that this locks them into a significant role on a team.

Skill Preparation

To give yourself the best opportunity to make a team you should take polished skills into the tryouts. This means that you don't attempt to tryout when you haven't picked up a basketball in 6 months. Realistically you need about 4-6 weeks of daily training to get your basketball skills to a level where you can demonstrate to the coach that you can shoot, pass, dribble, and defend. In these weeks prior to the tryouts your skill practice time should be between 1 and 1 1/2 hours of focused and ramped physical intensity workouts.

Skill Workout

Open your workout by practicing you’re dribbling skills then proceed to passing. Shooting comes next followed by 1 on 1 practice aimed at improving both offensives scoring skills as well as defensive footwork fundamentals. Close your daily sessions with some team play such as 2 on 2, 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 to hone your team skills. Do not forget to cool down and stretch following each workout to develop good habits for a long career.


Aerobic conditioning is best built over several months to a year time period by running long distance (over 30 minutes), biking or swimming. If you do this 2-3 times a week outside of your on court practice time you will have a big head start over many of your teammates and will be more likely to sustain your skills through the court of tryouts and eventually the season. The key here is to get your heart rate up above 60-80 percent of your max (200 minus your age) for over 30 minutes in some kind of low intensity physical activity.

Athletic Development

Improving running and jumping posture and flexibility increases a player’s ability to convert lower leg power into vertical jump and body stability in skills like shooting, rebounding, and defensive footwork. Increase your chances of making a team by researching and adding some component of athletic development to your workouts.

Making the Team

Making the team is about preparing to give yourself the best chance to succeed. Do not be afraid to go ask the coach of the team you are trying out for what is expected ahead of time. However its up to you to develop a training schedule that refines and improves your skills, increases your stamina and conditioning and improves your athleticism as your body matures and strengthens with age. If you don't address each of these areas in a daily-organized way you may miss your golden opportunity to make the team.

The key part of tryouts is the "TRY". Without effort by you in each of these areas you are definitely not going to give yourself the best chance. Practice your skills, get in shape, and work on your athleticism and you will be able to give it your best shot.