Tryouts: What coaches will be looking for (From the Coaches)

It’s that time of the year again! Tryouts can be an extremely stressful and nerve racking time for both players and parents. To ease the nerves and stress of this season, we thought it would be beneficial to share what coaches are looking for during tryouts. We reached out to some of the local High School coaches to get their thoughts. Our question to them was “what are 3 qualities they look for in a player during tryouts?”. Below are their answers.  


When reading through their answers I believe you will find a recurring theme. Of course coaches want players that are skilled on the court, but they are also looking for much more. Coaches are looking for qualities in a player that are outside the sport of basketball as well. Attributes such as competitiveness, communication, and coachability are qualities that could be the difference between a player making the team and being cut. When preparing for tryouts, remember that players are being judged on who they are as individuals as much as their skill set on the court. 


 Thank you to all the coaches who took the time to send in their thoughts about tryouts. Good luck to all the players trying out this fall! 


 “What are 3 qualities you look for in a player during tryouts?”. 



Coach Calo (Olentangy Orange Men’s Head Coach)

  • Skill: Ability to dribble and attack the rim with both hands and value the basketball.
  • Competitiveness: How hard do they play on every possession– are they active without the ball on Offense and Defense?
  • Coachability: Are they trying to apply what our coaches are saying?  How is their body language when receiving feedback? 


Coach Cunningham (Berlin Women’s Head Coach)

  • Coachable – Do you listen to what the instructions are, and when a coach talks to you, do you try to change or implement what they are teaching you.
  • Effort – Players who give maximum effort in everything they do, from how hard they guard someone, to diving for a loose ball, to sprinting from drill to drill. 
  • Communication – What do you do to be the best teammate you can be on offense and defense by talking. Do you talk to your teammates? Do you echo things that you hear? Do you talk as much when you are on the floor as when you are subbed out?



Coach Feasel (Olentangy Men’s Head Coach) 

  • The 3 E’s: Effort, Enthusiasm, Energy
  • Are they leaders that communicate on and off the court? 
  • Offensive and Defensive Skills 




Coach Waterwash (Liberty Women’s Head Coach)

  • Skill and basketball IQ: We’ve got a 5 tool skill system that we are evaluating that includes an athlete’s understanding of the game. Shooting, ball handling, passing, defense, and knowledge of the game.
  • Basketball intangibles: Effort and attitude, willingness to dive on the floor, be in the right spot, put the team first, body language when things don’t go well.
  • Character: Will this individual be a positive influence on our program? Will they be all in on what we are trying to do? How are they in the classroom, in public, etc. We want good people who will be all in on maximizing their abilities and their teammates abilities. 


Coach Luzader (Thomas Worthington Men’s Head Coach)

  • Coachability: A player that is listening, making eye contact, communicating and WANTS to be coached and corrected to make him/her better. 
  • Players Understanding of the game (especially defensively): Positioning on the ball and off the ball, how to defend various screening actions and communicating with teammates defensively.
  • Competitors: A player can make up for some lack of skill and understanding by competing intensely at all times.
    • Examples of this would be sprinting the floor both ways, getting to loose balls, being in a sound defensive stance, playing with a HIGH MOTOR and showing a true hate for losing drills, competitions, and games.



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