How to Make the Team | Part Two

May 6, 2024

As tryouts approach, your child may feel a mix of nerves and excitement. In this follow-up to our part one on making the team, we’ll discuss why tryouts matter and offer some more tips to help your child prepare for the challenge.

Why Do Tryouts Matter?

Basketball tryouts are like auditions for the team. They allow your child to show off their skills and hopefully earn a place in their team of choice. It’s an opportunity to show coaches they have the right attitude, work well with others, and are willing to learn. As a parent, understanding the implications of tryouts will help you be attuned to what your child may need as they prepare mentally and physically to do their best. 

In the first part of our series on making the team, we discussed the importance of skills training, physical conditioning, and practicing basketball fundamentals. Now, let's explore some often overlooked aspects of tryout preparation and performance.

  1. Mental Prep

Getting in physical shape is crucial, but so is mental preparation. Proper mental preparation can help calm your child’s nerves, make them feel more confident, and ultimately boost how well they play. One easy thing you can do is to encourage your child to imagine themselves doing well – what we call visualizing. This can help them feel more sure of themselves and less worried about making mistakes. 

In addition to visualization, it's essential to remind your child to stay focused during tryouts. Encourage them to block out distractions and maintain their concentration on the game. Promoting positive self-talk is another effective strategy. Encourage your child to replace any negative thoughts with positive affirmations about their skills and abilities. By reinforcing positivity and mental resilience, you can equip your child with the tools they need to excel during tryouts.

  1. Nutrition and Hydration 

Eating well and drinking enough water should be prioritised. Ensure your child has access to healthy foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and good fats, as these give them the energy they need to play their best. Limit sugary snacks and drinks which can cause energy crashes and negatively affect performance.

It is also important to remind your child to drink water throughout the day, not just when they're thirsty. During tryouts, check that they have a water bottle and motivate them to take sips often to stay hydrated. Electrolyte-rich sports drinks can also help during intense physical activity by replenishing lost electrolytes through sweat - just check that they aren’t too loaded with sugar. When your child eats healthy and drinks plenty of water, they'll be all set to demonstrate their skills at the tryouts.

  1. Handling Nerves and Pressure 

It's completely normal for your child to feel nervous before tryouts, but there are strategies they can use to manage these feelings and stay composed. Guide your child to focus on their breathing, taking slow, deep breaths to help calm their nerves and center themselves. They can also try visualization, which we mentioned earlier – imagining themselves succeeding and feeling confident on the court. Remind them to stay present in the moment and focus on one task at a time, rather than letting their mind wander to worries or distractions. 

Another helpful strategy is to have a pre-game routine or ritual that helps them feel grounded and prepared, whether it's listening to music, doing a quick warm-up, or saying positive affirmations. By engaging in these relaxation techniques and mental tricks, your child can learn to navigate their nerves and do their best when it counts. 

  1. Attitude and Sportsmanship 

A positive attitude and good sportsmanship are key during basketball tryouts. Coaches want players who have great skills and are respectful and supportive to their teammates, coaches, and opponents. Inspire your child to go into tryouts with excitement and a willingness to work hard, even when things get tough. Remind them to stay positive and be supportive of themselves and their teammates, as this creates a good atmosphere for everyone. Encourage them to talk well with their teammates, listen to what the coaches say, and adjust their playing to fit the team's plan. Showing these qualities can help your child do well during tryouts and in the future, teaching them important skills for basketball and life.

After Tryouts 

After the tryout, it is invaluable for your child to take some time to reflect and seek feedback. Motivate them to think about how they did during the tryout, what they did well, and where they can improve. This reflection can help them see their strengths and areas where they can grow. Also, suggest they talk to coaches or others who watched them during the tryout. This feedback can give them useful advice on how to get better and prepare for future opportunities. By taking time to reflect and get feedback, your child can keep growing in their skill set, no matter what happens with the tryout.

Final thoughts 

To sum up, doing well at basketball tryouts takes a mix of getting ready physically and mentally, having the right mindset, and showing a good attitude. If your child follows these tips, they can boost their chances of doing great on the court. Just remind them to stay focused and positive and give it their all. With determination and effort, they can reach their goals and shine at basketball tryouts. All the best to our aspiring players!

To equip your child for their tryout, sign up with Ness Basketball for expert training and skills development!

Share this post
Return to hoops journal