Basketball Tryout Readiness with Coach Steve Cramblitt: Physical Preparation

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Tryout Readiness


Basketball tryouts are approaching and proper physical and mental preparation are necessary for making the team. Getting ready for the season isn’t difficult. Most of the preparation can be done on your own time and in your own backyard.

Over the next two weeks, Coach Steve Cramblitt will be providing tips on how to prepare for tryouts. This week, Coach Cramblitt is reviewing physical readiness. Next week, he’ll discuss mental preparation.


Physical Preparation Tips


How to Prepare as a Multi-Sport vs. One-Sport Athlete

A multi-sport athlete (msa) and one-sport athlete should prepare differently. As a MSA, you should focus more on being “all in” your current team rather then preparing for another team. Ready yourself for a tryout as your time allows but do not take effort away from the current sport season.

As a one-sport athlete, a month rest after After summer AAU, or any summer league competition, and before high school tryouts is recommended. This allows your body and mind to recuperate before preparing for the next season. It also reduces the chance of an overuse injury occurring. One-sport athletes have more sport specific injuries due to repeated stress on the same muscle groups and joints, so allowing you your body to rest and heal will limit overuse injuries and enable you to get the most out of our your high school season.


How to Prepare After a Non-Competition Break

It is recommended that players who take a non-competition break begin preparing for their next tryout one to two months prior to the tryout date. If you’re physically idle prior to tryouts begin working out 3 days a week then increase to five days as strength and endurance improves. On court practice combined with weight lifting may require 3-hour sessions depending upon your physical shape.


Build Team Comradery in the Off Season

Workout with future teammates to promote unity and build team chemistry. A competitive spirit and the discipline of working in a focused positive environment leads to team success.

Build comradery by hosting pickup games and team workouts in your own backyard. Simply set a time and date for teammates to gather and train. Use the drills and workouts below as a guide for backyard practices.


Put Together a Well-Rounded Workout

Get in prime physical shape through running, agility drills, practicing the fundamentals of the game, playing full court basketball and lifting weights. Most training can be done alone but some may require a partner. So, grab a teammate and get ready for the season together.

1. Running and Agility

  1. Running Workouts

Full court sprints while dribbling a ball (for speed work)

Ladder sprints (a conditioning tool, used by many coaches)

Distance running for endurance (many coaches have players run a mile under a certain time the first day of practice)

  1. Agility Workouts

Improve your speed, coordination and quickness for tryouts with the following agility drills. 


Jumping Rope Drills 

Jumprope Ali Shuffle - Basketball Agility Drills


Foundational Footwork Drills 

Mass Defense Drill form USA Basketball 


George Mikan Drill from Coach McCall Wollman 


Ladder Drills

Agility Ladder Drills - Hop Scotch


Basic Speed Ladder Drills 


2. Fundamentals

Practice the fundamentals of the game weekly, if not daily. Keep it simple and try to be fundamental, not fancy.


When preparing for tryouts, focus on having control over the ball and learning to become quicker when moving the basketball down the court. The following drills will help you control and handle the ball better. Each of these drills can be done on a backyard court.

Ball handling drill from McCall Wollman 


Advancing Ballhanlding Killer Combo Drill from USA Basketball



Good passing is essential to setting up good shots and plays for your team. Practice your passing skills prior to tryouts to demonstrate how you can effectively move or shift the defense. 

Passing Drills from USA Basketball



Controlling the board means controlling the game. Use the following drill to improve your rebounding skills to show defensive ability in tryouts. 

Advancing Rebounding Drill from USA Basketball



Small improvements to defense can increase your team's chances of winning. Before tryouts, improve your defense with these drills to demonstrate how you can help your team excel. 

Advanced Defense: Goals For Guarding the Basketball from USA Basketball


Basketball One on One Drill 



Shooting is an essential part of basketball. Make sure you can take your best shot at tryouts by practicing with this drill. 

Layup to Curl Shooting Drill from USA Basketball

More shooting tips:

Shoot the ball from all angles, on the move, off a pass, off a dribble, off a screen and any other action that your coach wants you to perform. 

Practice shots that you would normally have in a game.

Practice foul shots and develop a routine for shooting them.


3. Practice the game at full court speed


4. Weight Lifting

Use a school weight lifting coach as a resource for an excellent basketball weight lifting program


5. Nutrition

Eat well! That means a good breakfast, five fruits or vegetables, whole grains and good protein daily. Drink at least 60 ounces of water daily plus sports drinks for workout recovery.

The following articles from USA Basketball provides nutrition tips for basketball players:


Tryouts are just around the corner and now is the time to prepare! Start by preparing physically and come back next week to learn how to prepare mentally. 



  • NCAA
  • USAV
  • VC
  • FIVB
  • ITF
  • AFC
  • US Soccer Foundation
  • USTA
  • FIBA