10. Be Early
Coaches love a player who has a habit of arriving early for everything. If you are trying out for a good coach on an elite team, your chances are slim if your tendency is to show up late. Early is on time. Dick DeVenzio believed that an athlete should habitually arrive 15-20 minutes early for everything. There are so many opportunities that you can benefit from, if it is your habit to be early. You may get some individual instruction from the coach; you may get a chance to develop your relationship with a teammate; often just being there impresses the coach, who will later decide if you make the team.
9. Show Appreciation
After a practice or tryout, be sure to thank the people who made it possible. Someone invested their time in putting the event together. It is amazing how an athlete can leave a lasting impression by saying a simple ‘thank you’ to the coach. Coaches value an appreciative player. They believe them to be coach-able and possessing a great attitude.
Coaches across the country will tell you that the hardest thing to teach their teams is transition defense. An athlete can easily stand out if they make it a habit to “orchestrate” every time they recover down the floor on defense. Orchestration is simple, but most athletes don’t do it. It merely involves pointing and talking. Wave your hands like a conductor in an orchestra and say something about who is guarding whom. At the very least – every time – say which player you’re picking up. The next step would be directing other players to stop ball, pick up an open threat. This is skill that makes you a standout to a good coach.
Do not come into any tryout without being in impressive shape. There are few things that will get you cut from a team faster than being out of shape. If you are a player on the bubble of making a team, the deciding factor is almost always who is in better shape. My college coach would do pre-season conditioning until he thought he had pushed us hard enough. The indicator he believed in was someone throwing up and a walk on removing themselves from the team. Our first four weeks of training camp were guaranteed to be hellish, and they would not stop until one of those two things happened. If an athlete wants to make a team, they should win every sprint, be the most conditioned athlete on the floor, and never stop moving.
Make an impression. Get noticed. Any opportunity to volunteer to demonstrate a drill, carry a water cooler, or sweep a floor is an opportunity to get noticed. Find ways to stand out, look special, and most of all – show how badly you want to be on the team.
Be the hardest working player on the floor. Coaches love players that expend maximum effort at all times. Make it your habit to dive for loose balls, battle for boards, run the floor on the break. Hustle is something much easier to control than how well you shoot or if you can beat your man. It merely takes a willingness to sacrifice your lesser desires for your greater desires.
Coaches like to talk. Coaches like to talk a lot. When a coach is talking they really want to be heard and listened to. Make the coach feel like they have great things to say. Make them feel like you understand them and they are making amazing discoveries about basketball. They will like an athlete more if they believe the athlete really understands them. Be sure to give great eye contact and nod intermittently as a coach is speaking. It will do wonders.
3. Be the Tough Kid
Coaches love tough players. They love scrappy, hard-nosed, screen setting, ball diving, defense loving, elbow shoving, in your face, I-won’t-back-down, eat-your-cake-and-steal-your-cookies, types of athletes. Be that kid. You know: the one who does not lose the ball, the one who guards the best player and gets in their head, the one who comes up with rebounds in a pack, the one who lays out a defender with a hard screen. Compete with all the strength you have. Battle with pride. Coaches love that in players, because that is the type of player most coaches were. Most coaches were the undersized, over-achieving, tough kid who made it on their head and their heart. This is a pretty good model to follow, and one that will resonate with (and make you indispensable to) a coach.
2. Display Basketball IQ
Be the smartest player on the floor. If an athlete studies every play on their own time and not only can run it themselves, but can help their teammates run the play, few coaches will cut this player from the team. Be the athlete that is the coach on the floor. Find out what your coach values in his team and bring that out in other players. Pay great attention to detail on how he wants the drills to run, and then make them run smoothly. Making a coach’s job easier is one of the best ways to make a team.
1. Bring Spirit
Most practices are boring, monotonous and quiet. Find a way to raise the level of a practice. Discover how you can inject excitement in the atmosphere. If an athlete can noticeably enhance the competitive level of a practice by bringing spirit to a gym, coaches will want to keep them around. Bring spirit through your infectious enthusiasm, through your competitive effort, and through you constant encouragement. Bring sound with a loud leadership voice. Bring energy by having active feet in drills, and bring excitement through clapping and shouting encouragement. I have seen a gym change when a spirited athlete steps into a practice, it is an amazing transformation: be the change, and a coach will keep you around.
THINK THE GAME
Join PGC Basketball and discover how to become a playmaker, lead your team, and run the show.
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.