I still remember tryouts day, my senior year of high school.
I hadn't made the team for my first three years, though I knew I had enough game to be on the team. In fact, I felt I was better than some players who were on the damn team. But, the fact was, I hadn't proved it yet -- at least not when or where it mattered, or in front of whom it mattered. Until that happened, all the game I believed I had would remain a secret. I’d be the greatest not-on-a-team player in history.
“I hadn't proved it yet -- at least not when or where it mattered, or in front of whom it mattered.“
We got out of school early on tryouts day my senior year, 12 noon, but basketball tryouts were held at the normal after-school time of 3pm. I walked to McDonald’s to get a meal (this was way before I knew anything about nutrition), then came back to the school. Many of the boys who were also trying out had congregated in the auditorium to pass the time until tryouts, but I wanted to be alone. I didn't feel like talking, laughing or even listening to people. I just wanted to get my mind right for what I needed to do.
I went to the 3rd floor and grabbed a chair next to my locker. I read the latest copy of SLAM magazine and bided my time. This was about to be my last chance to prove myself in basketball, my last chance to prove that all the time I’d spent on those sweltering outdoor courts had been for a purpose. I didn't want to make the basketball team. I needed to make the basketball team.
I didn't want to make the basketball team. I needed to make the basketball team.
If you read my first book Buy A Game (you should read it, because it’s free at DreAllDay.com/Game), you know what happened: I finally made the team my senior year, and the rest is history. I walked on in college, got recruited to another college after my freshman season, and played 9 years of professional basketball in 8 countries.
During this process, in 2006, I began publishing videos to a new site called YouTube. Over the course of over 7,000 videos, many players asked questions about a shared challenge that has kept myriad players from advancing in basketball: Performing at tryouts.
Some of the most common questions:
• How can I best impress the coach at tryouts?
• What can I do to stand out?
• What position should I play at tryouts?
• What if I'm not allowed to play my normal position during tryouts?
• How can I get the returning players to respect my game?
• What mindset should I have during tryouts?
• What can I do to better my skills, with only a week’s time before tryouts?
• Should I get hyped up before tryouts, or remain calm and steady?
• I didn't make it this year. Can you tell me exactly what I should do to get ready for tryouts next season?
• I feel like my career will be over before it starts if I don't make the team -- can you PLEASE help me get ready for tryouts?
To address these questions and others on the subject of basketball team tryouts, I created this workbook, 30 Days To Tryouts.
How It Works
I will share with you 30 pieces of information, suggestions and calls to action that will have you ready for your next basketball tryout. The information in this workbook applies to all levels of tryouts, from middle school to professional teams.
By completing this workbook, you will:
• Know exactly what will be expected of you at tryouts
• Understand your ideal mindset for playing your best, and know how to get into this mindset at any time
• Be able to relax yourself and defeat any possible nerves or performance anxiety before tryouts
• Perform to the best of your ability at tryouts, definitively securing the roster spot you covet