How to Make the High School Basketball Team

How to Make the High School Basketball Team

Five easy steps to make your dream of high school glory on the basketball court a reality.

As the son of a former high school basketball coach and a youth coach myself, I see dozens and dozens of you young teenagers trying to make your dream of high school glory on the basketball court a reality. Unfortunately, for many of you, your lack of size and talent often doom you, but for others of you, it is simply a matter of not knowing how to make the team. I present here five easy ways to make the high school basketball team and impress the coaches at the same time.

Go Left

The most common problem you teenage ballplayers have is your inability to dribble, pass, and shoot left-handed (or right-handed for you lefties). Often, the first impression you make on a coach is in a lay-up line, and if you have trouble handling the ball or shooting a lay-up with the appropriate hand, the coach inevitably places you in a different category from those kids who can.

The solution: 100 lay-ups a day with your strong hand behind your back. This forces you to develop the skills necessary to pass, dribble and shoot the ball with your weak hand. And because coaches often teach their defensive players to force the dribble to the weak side, this skill can net you about six points in any game. That’s just about enough to get you on the team.

Don’t Practice Three-Pointers

This may seem like heresy to most of you, but hear me out. If you are 15 years old or younger, you have probably not finished growing, and you are probably not strong enough to properly shoot a three-pointer. By practicing all day on three-pointers, you are doing a disservice to your shot. Firstly, you are likely beginning your shot way too low. In order for most of you to get the ball to the basket, you will have to begin your shot just above your waist. This action makes it very difficult to maintain the proper shoulder-elbow-hip alignment that you need to be a consistent shooter. Secondly, most of you will have to place the ball on the palm of your hand to generate enough power to get the ball to the rim. This also makes your shot highly erratic. Highly erratic shooters rarely make the high school team.

The solution: Take a full step in from the three-point line and shoot at least 50 jumpers from that range. This repetition will enable you to get the ball in the proper shooting position, which will, in turn, encourage a consistent shot. Coaches love consistent shooters.

Pump Fake

Pump fakers draw fouls. Fouls draw foul shots. Made foul shots draw very pleased coaches. Very pleased coaches let pump fakers make the team. Unfortunately, many of you simply don’t pump fake enough.

The solution: Stand directly under the basket and pump fake 50 times before taking a shot. Remember to keep your head high and see the rim and pivot in every direction. This will allow you to see the rim from every possible angle and it will build up endurance in your thighs and your lower back. Don’t worry about the three-second call. We’ll cut you some slack in the drill.


A little hint to all of you who wonder what we coaches are saying to each other when we huddle up during tryouts…we are often wondering how we can get more hustle out of our teams. Modestly talented kids won’t make the high school basketball team, modestly talented kids who hustle on every play will make the coaches find a roster spot for them. It is just that easy.

The solution: Go get the ball! Skin your knees! Dive! Do it!

Get Good Grades

Two kids with similar basketball skills and abilities are up for one roster spot on the high school team. One of them gets great grades, while the other one rarely exerts much effort in the classroom and gets Cs…who gets the roster spot? Hmm…

The solution: Quit playing Guitar Hero and get working on that assignment.

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One Comment
Max, posted this comment on Oct 20th, 2010

The three pointer part solidified one of my beliefs. thanks!

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