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Coaching Tips for Tryouts

It is that time of the year where you are holding tryouts. It is stressful for players, parents and coaches. After running tryouths for over 8 years, I thought I would provide some tips and tricks to help along the way. 

The goal for my tryouts is always to provide a fair and objective process for players. That includes the prep going into tryouts. Over-communicating the process and rubric is key. This manages expectations for all involved. 

Male High School Basketball Team Playing Game

Male High School Basketball Team Playing Game In Gymnasium

STEP 1 – Prep Prior to Tryouts:

Make Sure you Eval Has Qual and Quant Measurements:

I like to measure players using quantifiable metrics like a run test or skill course that is timed. While these things are weighed less, it provides more depth to your tryout. This is easier to do at the school level. The run test should be clear and easy to understand for a player so they can practice on their own prior to tryouts.

Develop a Rubric or Use the Sports Governing Body Rubric

1 tip – make sure your rubric doesn’t have 20 areas of measurement. When you are assessing a lot of players over a short period of time it is difficult to measure many parts. Focus on what is important to help the team win and develop players. Many of the youth sports governing bodies have rubrics and tips on what to look for. iSport360 works with the governing bodies of the 9 sports and has an objective measurement in place.

Communicate Rubric to Players and Parents: 

I can’t stress this enough, make sure everyone involved knows the process of the tryout and the measurement that will be in place. 

Have Materials Ready to Go for Coaches:

Probably doesn’t seem important but I usually bring 1 per coach and plenty of pens and pencils. Some coaches like to use their phones but I actually findwriting down scores and notes is faster and easier. 

STEP 2 – During Tryouts:

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

Check everyone in and welcome them to tryouts. It is so important to have a friendly face for the players, this helps ease tension and makes people feel like they are welcome. 

Use A Unique Identifier: 

Every player should be identified by a color pinny or number or both. This helps every coach during evaluations. 


While everyone is waiting to start, make sure that you review what will happen and when it will happen. 

Manage Coaches:

Make sure your coaches are NOT all together chatting, each one should walk around to evaluate. This is important and allows coaches to make their decisions in an objective manner. It also shows coaches being present and focusing on what is the most important job that day – evaluating players.

For bubble players, these are players that maybe are good enough to play on the highest level team or maybe need more time to “cook” on the next level team. Allow bubble players to play with higher level players to see how they do. I usually ask myself can they “hang” with the better group. Sometimes it is also about whether or not a player can handle pressure consistently And does this player have confidence where they won’t be rattled. 

STEP 3 – Post Tryout:


Make sure you communicate results when you say you will. If players will find out by Friday, make sure they receive a communication by Friday.

Be Transparent: 

Players need to know what they did well and how they ranked against other players. It is ok to communicate that info but NEVER speak about another player. I allow for players to ask where they rank across the teams so they can get an idea of how they did compared to others. 

Good luck!

About iSport360:

For youth sports players, club administrators, coaches and parents, iSport360 is the leading sports technology platform that helps your players be the best they can be. With over 185,000 coaches and players on our platforms, our clubs rely on iSport360 to manage player development both on and off the field, court, pitch and ice.

Learn more or request a demo of our youth sports software that is helping teams improve communication, organization and player development.

September 10, 2022

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