UOG Triton Athletics
The week leading up to tryouts make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. If you already to have a routine and set sleeping schedule get into one. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. This will help with your energy and alertness level. You should always to hydrating well, but be diligent about it the day before and the day of tryouts. Bring a water bottle, empty milk jug or anything else with you to school to help keep you hydrated and also remind you to be hydrated. There are some neat apps out there that can help track your hydration level if you would like to track it. This will help your energy level throughout the day and into tryouts and also help with recovery. The saying, “you are what you eat” might be cliché but is still very true. Put the correct things into your body such as vegetables, fruits, protein and carbs. After tryouts get in plenty of fluids and quality food. Bananas are a great food to eat after games and practices. Sleeping, hydrating and eating well are all things that will help you perform at your peak and things you should continue to do throughout the season.
Regardless of your skill level coaches are always preaching to bring energy and effort. This is something that can help set you apart from others. Get excited for your teammates and cheer them on, be excited after making a nice play or receiving a nice pass from a teammate. Let your teammate know they made a nice play or thank them for the play. Finally, run to the huddle and run to drills or different stations. When it comes to effort it is about diving on the ball for loose balls, taking a charge, helping a teammate up and all those little things that add up.
Be a Leader
Everyone is nervous at tryouts and it can take a lot to put yourself out there in front of a group of coaches or peers, but to stand out you need to be a leader and take initiative at tryouts. Be the first volunteer to demonstrate a drill, ask questions if you don’t understand and overall just lead by example. Pick up basketballs, jerseys and anything else that might be in the way or need to be picked up. If you are playing 3 on 3, 5 on 5 or any team game, huddle your team up during breaks. Going back to energy and effort, just do all the little things that coaches ask for.
Eyes and ears on the coach when they are talking. This will show coaches you are listening to them and will help you out when you go back to a drill or game to remember what the coach asked or emphasized. Remembering a drill or what a coach emphasized is something simple, but something that players at all levels have forgotten or not paid attention to. Coaches are trying to help you improve and will try to help you improve on a skill, situation, or drill. Don’t take coaching negatively or personally. What I mean by that is often players are told to do something else and they see it as the coach doesn’t like them or they aren’t good or the coach is yelling at them and some players can shut down after this. Instead of shutting down, listen to what the coach is asking and do your best to correct what was asked.
Talk with the Coach
If your school/coach makes teams/cuts face to face then this is a valuable time to ask questions. You may be disappointed with being cut or with the team you made, but you may not know it now but this is a valuable lesson. Failing or disappointment is ok and is something that will happen throughout life. Being able to grow from this is what can make you a better person or player. Ask the coach what areas you can improve upon. If you made a team, ask the coach what role he/she sees who playing on this team so you have clear expectations. If your school/coach does not meet face to face to make teams or cuts then I would ask him/her if you could meet with them to discuss how you can improve and where they see your role on the team. If you are cut, but would like to still be apart of basketball and a team, then you could possibly discuss taking stats or doing film for the team with the coach.
Make the Best out of your Situation
No matter what team you make or if you do not make a team at all, make the best out of your situation. If you are a key contributor to your team then be a leader on and off the court and be a great teammate. If you are a player who made a team, but aren’t getting a lot of minutes then come to practice every day and improve. Work your tail off to be prepared for when your opportunity arises. Be a great leader, teammate and bench player that keeps the energy up in practice and games. If you did not make the team and would still like to be a part of basketball there are still opportunities for you. One of them being a team manager to stay close to the game you love and continue to learn about the game. Other options are to find a playing opportunity outside of school whether it be AAU, YMCA or some other local organization. Many school districts also have intramurals that you can participate in as well. If you are serious about continuing to play, you must not take the year off and find ways to work out and find quality games.
Photo from Miami University Libraries
Scouting opponents is a important part to being prepared as a coach and to help prepare your team. A big part of opponent scout is scouting the opponents players and learning about them. Things to include about personnel are statistics, tendencies, strengths and weaknesses.
Statistic are easy to include into the scouting report and gives a quick overview of the player. Stats to include: Position, Height, PPG, FGM/FGA, FG%, 3PM/3PA, 3P%, FTA/FTM, FT%, RPG, APG, BPG, SPG. You can keep the format uniform for all players or vary it for each player or just a few who may stand out in a few categories that majority do not. An example of adding a statistic that a player may stand out in would be offensive rebounds per game or steals per game.
Tendencies/Type of player
I think tendencies are the most important part of opponent player scouting because it helps players know and understand how to defend a player. A tendency might be a player favors his/her left shoulder in the post or a player prefers to drive right and pull up or pass going to their left or a player prefers to face up and shot fake in the mid post. Some coaches like to label players based on there tendencies and strengths to give a quick overview of the player. By the player it may say driver/slasher, shooter, 50/50 (a player who can drive and shoot), or post.
Strengths help give greater detail to who the player is. It will help your players know what to expect when they are guarding a specific player. Examples of strengths are good ball handler, athletic guard, great offensive rebounder, really aggressive/active in passing lanes, really good/quick pull up jumper. Some coaches do not like to include weaknesses in scouting reports for various reasons, but if the weaknesses are obvious I like to include them. Examples of weakness are: weaker going over right shoulder in post, not a three point threat, not a great ball handler, etc.
This part of the scouting report gives your players a picture of type of players they will be going against and defending in the upcoming game. Give detail, but keep it brief and simple enough for your players to understand. All of your players should read through and know all of the players in the scouting report because they might defend them in the game or get switched onto a different player.
Visualization in sports and athletic performance has become more common over the last several decades. Teams and players have been using it to help clear their minds, think positively, review the game and improve performance. Athletes such as Carli Lloyd and Lindsey Vonn, actor Will Smith and even Oprah Winfrey have been known to use visualization help their mind and performance. Visualization can help players, coaches and teams overcome challenges and achieve new heights.
Benefits of Visualization
Players and coaches have all experienced feelings of nervousness. Whether a person gets nervous to perform well, a big game, a new situation or anything else that may come up, these are all natural reactions. At times people can become overwhelmed and these nerves can negatively affect performance. Visualization and breathing techniques can help overcome these nerves and fears by calming and centering oneself.
Too often we fill ourselves with negative thoughts or doubts about being able to perform well or be successful. Negative talk is a detriment to performance, and too many players or coaches allow this to happen. Being positive and learning how to control your own thoughts is a skill that can be learned and one that can be improved upon by most people. Learn to remember positive plays or positive thoughts. When negative thoughts or plays come up, you must work to bring the mind back to being positive.
Visualization can help remember plays, games, feelings and emotions of positive outcomes. This can help motivate and encourage a player to perform. This also goes back to positive thoughts and the impact that positive thoughts can have on a person, and the pump up effect it can have when thinking back to when a player played well. Obviously, all players have a role on a team and all roles are different. A role may be to score, rebound or defend - all of these roles are important and one is not more important than the other. All players must believe their ability to play their role, and being aware of these emotions can help get a player gain the confidence to do so.
As coaches, we tell players to start getting mentally prepared, but do all players know exactly how to do this before a game? We often want players to prepare for the game when they get on the bus or once they arrive at the gym. Visualization as a team helps prepare the team for competition, but also teaches players how to mentally prepare themselves for competition, tests, interviews and anything else that life may throw their way.
Depending on your team, players can be weary of visualization if it is something they have never been asked to do before. This is why it is important to explain to players the reason behind visualization and how it will benefit them individually, and help the team collectively. Explaining the why will open players up to the idea of this concept.
After explaining the why, practice visualization with your players. Do it before practice a couple times before attempting to incorporate it before a game. After the players become comfortable with it, it can be up to the coach how often he/she would like to employ visualization. With most teams I have worked with or seen use it, visualization is implemented before games.
Examples to Elicit Visualization
Laying with Legs Up
Something I have done since high school, as my coaches had us do it for football and basketball, was the legs up the wall pose while using visualization. If you do not know the pose, see the image above - it is exactly what it sounds like. Laying with your back on the ground and your legs on the wall, as if in an L position. There are many athletic benefits to this position (improves circulation, recovers swollen/cramped legs and feet, stretches hamstrings and back, and relieves lower back tension), but also aids in relaxation and mindfulness as well. Give it a try during your next visualization exercise.