5 Basketball Drills to Ace Tryouts!

Written by: Chris Hungerford



Time to read 11 min

As a basketball coach, you know how important it is to have your team well prepared for tryouts. One of the most essential components of any successful practice session is making sure players are put through the right drills that will help them excel during their evaluation. To make sure your team is ready and give them an edge over other teams at tryouts, consider incorporating these five basketball drills for tryouts: ball handling drills, shooting drills, agility and speed training exercises, conditioning activities and mental preparation strategies into every practice session leading up to the big day. With proper guidance from coaches utilizing these effective practices before tryout season begins, athletes can gain confidence in their skillset while also having fun on court.

5 Basketball Drills to Ace Tryouts!

Table of Contents:

Ball Handling Drills

Ball Handling Drills are essential for basketball coaches to help their players improve their skills and prepare them for tryouts. Dribbling drills can be used to increase a player’s agility and control of the ball. These drills can include dribbling around cones, dribbling between legs, or even juggling the ball with both hands. Passing drills should also be included in any practice session as they help build team chemistry and give players an opportunity to learn how to pass accurately under pressure. Rebounding drills will teach players how to position themselves correctly when going up for a rebound, as well as give them an understanding of where the ball is likely to go after it has been shot.

Dribbling Drills

Dribbling is a critical component of basketball and having good control over the ball is essential for success on court. Coaches can use drills such as dribble figure 8's, alternating hand drill, or crossover drill to help their players improve their dribbling skills. These exercises require focus and repetition in order to become second nature during game play situations; for example, with the dribble figure 8's, two cones should be placed about 10 feet apart and the player must keep their eyes focused ahead while they move around them. The alternating hand drill requires switching hands while maintaining control over the ball and finally, with the crossover drill, crossing from side-to-side is necessary whilst keeping your eyes forward at all times.

Passing Drills

Passing is an essential skill that must be practiced in order to ensure success on the court. Coaches can implement drills such as chest passes, bounce passes, and behind-the-back passes into practice sessions. For chest passes, two teammates stand facing each other about 10 feet apart before quickly exchanging passes back and forth. Bounce passes require one teammate throwing a low pass off the ground so it bounces up towards their partner who catches it at waist level. Lastly, for behind-the-back passes, teammates stand side by side before one throws a pass behind their back towards their partner who must catch it without looking away from frontcourt action happening simultaneously on court.

Rebounding Drills

Ball handling drills are essential for any basketball tryout as they help develop players' coordination and control of the ball. Moving on to shooting drills, we'll cover layup, free throw and 3-point shooting techniques.

Key Takeaway: Rebounding drills are an important part of basketball training as they help players to position themselves correctly when going up for a rebound and understand where the ball is likely to go after it has been shot. Key elements include: • Jumping straight up with arms outstretched • Learning how to box out opponents • Developing anticipation skills

Shooting Drills

Shooting drills are an essential part of basketball training and can help players develop their accuracy and consistency when shooting the ball. Here are some drills that coaches can use to help improve a player’s shooting skills:

Layup Drills:

Layup drills focus on developing a player’s ability to shoot layups off both feet, with either hand, from different angles. Coaches should have players practice taking shots off one foot, two feet, using the backboard for power or accuracy, and even practicing shots from behind the backboard. Players should also practice shooting in game-like situations such as coming off screens or catching passes while running towards the basket.

Free Throw Drills:

Free throw drills involve focusing on technique and form when shooting free throws. Coaches should ensure that players keep their eyes focused on the rim throughout their shot routine; they should also make sure that players keep their elbows tucked in close to their body during each shot attempt. Additionally, coaches can have players practice deep breathing techniques before each shot attempt in order to relax themselves mentally before attempting a free throw.

3-Point Shooting Drills:

3-point shooting drills involve having players practice making shots from various distances around the arc (e.g., 15ft., 20ft., 25ft.). Players should work on getting comfortable with all areas of the court by practicing stationary jumpers as well as catch-and-shoot opportunities while moving laterally across the court at different speeds (e.g., walking speed vs sprinting).

In addition to this type of drill work, coaches may want to incorporate competition into these types of practices by having teams compete against one another in timed 3-point contests or other games designed specifically for improving 3-point shooting skill sets.

Shooting drills are a great way to prepare for tryouts and help players hone their skills. With the right agility and speed training, players can take their game to the next level.

Key Takeaway: Coaches should use shooting drills to help players develop their accuracy and consistency when shooting. Layup, free throw, and 3-point drills can all be used to practice different techniques such as using the backboard for power or accuracy, deep breathing before shots, and moving laterally across the court at different speeds.

Agility and Speed Training

Agility and speed are essential skills for any basketball player. To help coaches prepare their players for tryouts, this section will provide exercises to improve agility and speed on the court.

Footwork and Balance Exercises:

Footwork is a key component of agility, as it allows players to quickly change direction while keeping their balance. Coaches can use ladder drills or cone drills to teach proper footwork technique. For example, coaches can set up a series of cones in various shapes (e.g., zig-zag) and have players run through them while focusing on quick feet and maintaining balance.

Plyometric Training Exercises:

Plyometrics involves explosive movements that increase power output from muscles by using the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). Examples include box jumps, depth jumps, squat jumps, etc. These exercises should be done with caution as they require a lot of energy expenditure which may lead to fatigue if not monitored properly by the coach or trainer overseeing the workout session.

Sprinting is an important skill for basketball players because it helps them move faster down the court during games or practice sessions. Coaches can incorporate sprints into workouts such as interval training or hill sprints to build endurance in their athletes’ legs so they can accelerate quickly when needed during games or practices. 

Additionally, coaches can also add resistance bands around ankles when doing sprints as this adds extra resistance which further improves acceleration ability over time due to increased muscle strength development in lower body areas like calves and quads where most of our running power comes from.

Agility and speed training is essential for any basketball tryout. It helps to ensure players have the proper technique, balance, and endurance needed to perform their best on the court. With that in mind, let's now look at some conditioning exercises to further prepare for a successful tryout.

Key Takeaway: Agility and speed are essential for basketball players, so coaches should incorporate exercises such as footwork drills, plyometric training, and sprints into workouts to help their athletes prepare for tryouts.

Conditioning Exercises

Conditioning exercises are essential for basketball players who want to perform at their best. Core strength training exercises help build the foundation of a player’s athleticism, allowing them to move more efficiently and powerfully on the court.

These can include planks, crunches, squats, and lunges. Cardio workouts are also important for increasing endurance and stamina during games or practices. This could involve running drills such as sprints or jogging laps around the court. Finally, resistance band training is an effective way to increase strength while improving flexibility and mobility in key muscle groups used in basketball movements like jumping or cutting quickly. Resistance bands come in various sizes with different levels of tension that allow players to customize their workout depending on their individual needs. 

By incorporating these conditioning exercises into practice routines regularly, coaches can ensure that their players will be ready for tryouts when they arrive.

Conditioning exercises are essential for basketball players to reach their peak performance. By developing core strength, endurance, and resistance through targeted workouts, coaches can help ensure their athletes are in the best shape possible before tryouts. Now let's look at how mental preparation strategies can also help improve a player's performance during tryouts.

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Mental Preparation Strategies

Mental preparation is an important part of any athlete’s success. Basketball coaches can help their players prepare mentally for tryouts and games by teaching them visualization techniques, positive self-talk strategies, and goal setting strategies.

Visualization Techniques:

Visualization involves creating a mental image of yourself succeeding in the task at hand. This helps to build confidence and reduce anxiety before competing in tryouts or games. Coaches can teach their players to visualize themselves performing well during drills or executing plays correctly during a game situation.

Positive Self-Talk Strategies:

Positive self-talk is another way to boost confidence before competing in tryouts or games. Coaches should encourage their players to focus on what they are doing right rather than dwelling on mistakes they have made in the past. They should also remind them that everyone makes mistakes and it's ok as long as they learn from them and move forward with positivity.

Goal setting is an effective way for athletes to stay motivated while preparing for tryouts or games. Coaches should work with their players to set realistic goals that will help them reach their full potential both physically and mentally when competing in basketball activities such as drills, scrimmages, or tournaments. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). By breaking down larger goals into smaller ones it will make achieving those goals more manageable over time which will lead to greater success overall.

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FAQs in Relation to Basketball Drills for Tryouts

What drills to do at basketball tryouts?

At basketball tryouts, coaches should focus on drills that assess a player's individual skills. Drills such as dribbling, shooting, passing, and rebounding are essential to evaluate a player's ability to handle the ball. Additionally, coaches should look for players who can demonstrate good court vision and an understanding of team concepts like spacing and defensive rotations. Finally, it is important to test players' athleticism with drills such as sprints or agility ladders so they can show their speed and quickness. All these drills will help coaches identify the best players for their teams.

How do you train for basketball tryouts?

Training for basketball tryouts requires dedication and hard work. Start by developing a plan that includes drills to improve your skills, such as shooting, dribbling, passing, and rebounding. Practice these drills regularly to build muscle memory and increase confidence in your abilities. Work on conditioning with running exercises like sprints or interval training to help you stay strong throughout the entire tryout process. Additionally, focus on mental preparation by visualizing yourself succeeding during the tryout session. Finally, make sure you get plenty of rest before the big day so that you are well-rested and ready to perform at your best.

How do you run a good basketball tryout?

Running a successful basketball tryout requires careful planning and execution. Start by creating an organized schedule that outlines the drills, scrimmages, and other activities you plan to use during the tryout. Make sure to give players ample time for warm-ups before any strenuous activity. During the tryout, be sure to observe each player’s skillset objectively and fairly; don't let personal biases influence your decisions. Finally, provide feedback on what areas need improvement so players can work on them in future practices or games. With proper preparation and communication, coaches can ensure their basketball tryouts are effective in evaluating potential team members.

1. Dribbling Drills:

These drills help players develop ball-handling skills, agility, and coordination. Examples include cone dribbling, figure 8s, and the two-ball drill.

2. Passing Drills:

These drills help players practice passing accuracy and speed while developing teamwork skills such as communication and decision-making. Examples include chest passes, bounce passes, and the 3-man weave drill.

3. Shooting Drills:

These drills focus on improving shooting form and technique to increase a player’s scoring ability from all areas of the court including layups, jump shots, free throws, etc Examples include spot shooting or “around the world” shooting games where players shoot from different spots around the key in succession until they make it back to their starting point.

4. Rebounding Drills:

These drills are designed to teach proper rebounding techniques such as boxing out opponents for position under the basket or tipping rebounds away from defenders when going up for a shot block attempt. Examples include one-on-one rebounding competitions between two players or team rebounding games like “hot potato” where teams try to keep possession of an imaginary basketball by quickly passing it off before being tagged by an opposing player with a rebound attempt.

5. Defense/Agility Drills:

These drills help improve defensive footwork, quickness, and overall agility which can be used both offensively (to beat defenders) or defensively (to stay in front of them). Examples include shuttle runs, slide steps, and lateral shuffles.


Overall, basketball drills for tryouts are essential in preparing players to perform their best. With the right combination of ball handling drills, shooting drills, agility and speed training exercises, conditioning exercises, and mental preparation strategies coaches can ensure that their team is ready to take on any challenge during tryouts. It's important to remember that each drill should be tailored to the specific needs of your team so they can get the most out of every practice session.

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5 Basketball Drills to Ace Tryouts!

5 Basketball Drills to Ace Tryouts!