Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Worst Day of a Coach's Year....

Welcome to basketball season! There is a lot of excitement but for some players and Coaches there will be a lot of stress over the next few days. That stress isn't about Ws and Ls yet. For some it's about making the roster.

Tryouts is a part of coaching basketball. It is one of three of the absolute worse days in coaching. (The other two would losing the last game of the year & inventory day.) For some, the argument is not to cut anyone, and while I agree with that on some levels of play, doesn't work due to  logistics, strategy and being competitive on the "school level". I am against cutting kids before the 8th grade. That's my personal take on it.

To me, the optimal number of Players for practice is 16 but that is because I want to be able to play 4x4 Snow Valley Cutthroat. You also have to take into consideration what is allowed by your state. (Our state limits your roster to 15 for the state tournament so that is what we do for Varsity.)

Another factor in tryouts is where you are located. In the great state of Arkansas, you can practice with your team all but two weeks in the Summer and 3 days at Christmas. This means we do our tryouts in the spring and have our roster for the summer. This is a major issue with move-ins. The cause is we have an athletic period and classes are built. Again, not idea but that's what we have. I'd rather have that headache than what some states deal with.

Back on topic...How do you handle tryouts and cutting players?

I was against the posting a list but this past season I did that because of time restraints and multiple days. Wasn't my favorite and here's why: EVERYONE sees it, sometimes before the one getting the news. They are forced to deal with some raw emotion in front of people.

I've also done it where I read the names of the "chosen few" aloud and had them go to the locker room while I address the ones that didn't make it.

Again, neither are really great models. I feel like we've gotten a better way planned for this year with the help google classroom.

1. Have Students sign up for the Google classroom.
    This is a way to communicate clearly and a discreet way to deliver the initial news.

2. Don't drag out the process. I have done this in the past. It's excruciating for everyone. A lot of times you know off the "eye test". You're a professional. Trust yourself. We have come up with 5 tests that give us a really good idea if the player can play at our level. They are:
         1. Form Shooting - Just watch a player shoot. Especially for a 9-12th player. Odds are if it doesn't look right...
         2. Lane Slides - :30 seconds (18 is the average)
         3. Box Drill Drop Step Layups - :30 seconds (7 is the average)
         4. Mikan Drill - :30 seconds (16 is the average)
         5. Catch and Shoot - 5 shots from 5 spots (13 is the average from 3)
These give us a pretty accurate idea if we want to bring the player back for competition days. These also take minimal time to chart. You could even allow them to go twice (we don't.)

The main thing is this: Protect the player by how you handle it and protect yourself as well.