What to do if you get cut from Tryouts


Basketball tryouts give hope to aspiring basketball players. Tryouts are actually done to recruit talented basketball players, so this is the best time for basketball hopefuls to go out from their closets and show off their basketball skills. Some may be very successful, while others are not. Those who are successful celebrate the taste of victory and they shout and jump for joy.

On the other hand, what about players who are not so successful and are not able to pass the tryout? Have you ever experienced getting cut off from a basketball tryout? You think that you know the sport well enough and that you can play good basketball, but they are still not enough. How frustrating can that be?

This article will hopefully help you in coping with the situation. Getting cut off from tryouts is just an initial barrier to your success. You cannot wait for it to come to you, so you should be the one who will act in order to achieve it. Now, here is what you can do if you get cut off from tryouts:

1. Be strong in accepting rejection
Rejection can be too overwhelming for an individual to handle, especially for the younger ones. A person can be rejected in many ways, but being declined of the opportunity that you have always dreamed for is much more frustrating. Just try to see the reality TV show American Idol during its eliminations. What do you observe? These individuals who were not accepted, perhaps not all of them, freak out. They cry and some even say bad stuff to the judges. They are making an outbreak, or a fool of themselves, which can make the judges’ decision even more right.

As an aspirant, you should understand that joining a tryout means you can either be accepted or rejected. You must consider these two possibilities so that you can have a better control of accepting rejection. The school, club or university has a clear definition in mind, on which players will be recruited.

2. Accept your weaknesses
Listen to what the coaches say. Tryouts give you the opportunity to be evaluated by rightful individuals who know the sport well enough. You have to pay attention to their observations on your game. If they say that you have a bad footwork, accept it. Do not say “I do my foot work well, you should have seen that.” This is a big no-no! You are already questioning the credibility of the coaches, and this is not a good attitude. You must learn how to listen and embrace your weaknesses. If you do this, you can be aware on which area you should work on in order to improve.

3. Keep your head up
Do not keep your head low and be ashamed of yourself. Maintain your self-confidence nad keep your head up. Be proud that you have done your best to show them your basketball skills. Maybe, your best was not that good enough and you should carry it as an inspiration to do more hard work.

4. Encourage yourself
With situations like this, it is most effective if you encourage yourself. The coaches who declined you may have encouraged you, but it may not be enough to surpass the hurt that you are feeling, so you have to do it yourself. When you encourage yourself, you are reacting to rejection positively. And this is a good attitude of a rising basketball player.

5. Keep a positive attitude
In relation to the above discussion, you must keep a positive attitude. Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking. It helps you subdue the pain of rejection and enables you to be motivated to go back on your own and practice even more. There is no room for the impossible if you have the positive attitude.

6. Go back to practice
This is the best thing to do when you get cut off from tryouts. Never surrender your dreams just because you got cut out. There are a lot more tryouts to come. You have to practice your basketball skills to prepare yourself for the coming tryouts.

You can go back to the fundamentals of basketball. Shoot as many balls as you can, dribble until you get a good handling of the ball, run and exercise your feet until you develop an excellent footwork. Exercise to develop your speed, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, agility, strength, and power. Remember what the coaches told you to improve on. Work on it every time you practice in the gym or outside.

7. Utilize resources to improve your game
Read books about basketball. Familiarize the rules and fundamentals of the game and study some basketball techniques which can help you improvise your basketball moves. You can also buy CDs or DVDs that explain everything that you must know about basketball. You can even watch actual professional games on TV to study how you should move to be an effective basketball player.

8. Play with your friends and ask for advice
Enjoy playing the sport with your friends. You can ask for their advices as they are the ones who will tell you the truth, if they are your real friends. Your true and closest friends are the ones who do not hesitate to tell you that you are bad at playing basketball.

9. Do not be afraid to go on with another tryout
Lastly, do not be afraid to join another tryout. At times, a player may be hesitant to enter other tryouts because of the fear of rejection. This should not be the case. You cannot succeed to fulfill your dream if you surrender it to the hands of rejection. If you follow the above tips, you should already have encouraged yourself, built your confidence, and improved yourself by constant practice of basketball fundamentals. If you have, then you should not worry about showing off your basketball skills to another tryout.

Never surrender your dream of becoming a basketball player. Keep on playing the game, keep on learning, keep on studying, and keep on improving. Your time may not be today. It may just come one day when you least expect it.

Have you (or has your child) ever been cut from tryouts? What have you done to motivate yourself/your child? Please share your thoughts with me.

[info_box]Picture credit: brad.coyCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]

About Author

I have been playing Basketball for as long as I can remember and coaching from the age of sixteen. My blog,, has been created to help Basketball lovers from all skill levels to improve their game. I hope that you find my blog both useful and entertaining!


  1. shirley Alex on

    My daughter is one of the best basketball players in South India. She wishes to train abroad to be a better player. Could you recommend a traing Inistitute/ college /school that she could go to for further improving her game. She studies in class X , Bangalore, India.

    appreciate your feedback
    Shirley Alex

    • Hello Shirley,

      sure, I can give you contact details from great clubs and their staff, but I can only help you with some people I know here in Germany.
      Please let me know.

      Best wishes,

  2. Getting cut..doesent feel as good as making the team..but i always come back stronger and…im ready to show it next yr..btw thx for the tips

  3. Great posts! The greatest basketball player to ever lace ’em up was Michael Jordan and he was cut from tryouts in high school. It’s always good to go back and use that as a reference. If he wouldn’t have used that as a motivation to get back up, work on his game, and have the courage to get back out there to tryouts the following year, we would have never experienced his greatness.

    • False mj wasn’t cut at all as a freshmen he was put on the jv team he went home and locked himself in his room and cried not because he was cut but because a fellow freshmen who wasn’t very good made the varsity team because he was tall. i was also cut from my basketball team for a taller player to be on the team but not as a freshmen but as a junior i have spent every day of my life since the day i was cut perfecting my art tryouts are next month ill be a senior ill make them regret ever cutting me someday my name will be called out by the commissioner.

    • Hopefully not with a knife! Well, my 16 year old son was cut Monday from both JV and Varsity. He is 6’6″ and 210 feet all. Has groem 6 inches, added 60 pounds and three shoe sizes to a 14 and the coach said his hands and feet were not where they needed them to me. I said, “They are on his arms and legs, coach”. No word on hands and feet last year, or this summer in two months of 4 day workouts to him or me on what he needed to work on. Broke his heart. His parents too. He has been playing since he was 2 years old. We had a hoop in the kitchen. He was shocked. He did not understand it. His verticle had increased 6 inches since July and he started dunking in July as well. He and I sat and watched Gonzaga thump WV and got his baseball bag out and said now he will have more then 2 weeks to get ready to play baseball. He has a new $129 pair of size 14 Nikes to figure out what to do with that he bought himself. I have tried to tell him its not the end of the world. Its a temporary set back. The coach made the decision….despite going 7-15 last year! No one over 6’4″ on the team this year. He just shrugged his shoulders when I asked him what he thought. He said I should have at least made JV where I was last year as a sophomore. He is still a 3 sport kid…or was anyway. He punts and averaged 40.5 per kick this year and wants to move to OT in football, pitches and plays outfield. I have got lots of folks set up to help him if he wants to keep playing and putting the round thing in the round thing. He asked me how this happened. I told him I believe all things happen for a reason and God has a plan for all of us and for all things that happen. Not much consolation to a 16 year old kid who feels one of this dreams in life is over. I have tried to get his old coaches to give him words of encouragement. None of them can figure it out either…but its the coaches decision. As hard as it is to understant it or reason with it, he made the decision.e did ot want to work with a kid on his footwork and said he had all these other kids too. I played since I was 10 and I am not 53 and have coached AAu girls and boys and played high school and some limited college ball ona development squad. Nver have I seena coach not try and help a kid with footwork or even tell the kid what he needed to work on. But at 7-15….you can get the picture and the coach should pretty soon too. I say support the kids who get cut. Lift them up. Show them that now they have more time to study……sports is temporary and brains is where its at in the future of their lifes. And if by the way any of you find some spare brains or a clue, ship them to me so I can give them to his old coach! Blessings! Smile! Walk tall.

      • I will not sugar-coat my feelings. One’s skill, dedication, and hard work have surprisingly a very small part of making a high school basketball team. I know from personal experience almost 25 years ago. You see, I went out for my high school basketball every year, and every year the coaches cut me. Now before anyone thinks I was not a hard working person, let me assure you that I got up at 5:30 AM each day to run, lifted weights, and worked on my basketball skills 12 months a year, while maintaining a 3.37 GPA. Everything the team members did I did on my own and more. Yet each year they cut me and allowed other less talented, dedicated players to play, some of them simply because their parents contributed to the team financially. And in my senior year, the coach even went so far as to limit the roster to 12, whereas he always kept 15 every other year — in order to keep me out. Talk about dumping water down the toilet rather than feeding the thirsty. By the way, this was in a well-known catholic boys high school is Southern California where the school motto was “men for others.” Yet by the way they treated me, the only lesson which they taught me was “the strong survives, the weak dies off.”
        Look, for all high school players who get cut, take it from me — it is almost never because of your skills or dedication; a lot of luck and politics are involved. So unless if you are lazy and sit on your behinds during off season, don’t bother to feel sad. Doing so will just make the one who cuts you happier. Instead, just remember what type of hell the coach has put you through. There may come a time in the future when that same coach may ask you for help, at which time you shall give him the boot. Mine got his in 2010.

  4. I am a freshman for my high school. I have been playing basketball since 7th grade and I truly believe that I have always worked harder than anyone else in my school. In 7th grade i was cut from my middle school team first cut. I worked harder than anyone on the team and not on the team to fulfill my dreams for the next school year. The next year (8th grade) i was cut again knowing that i was better than most of the team. I can say that my school is very political in who gets to play but what the coach said to me is that I was better than most the team but i would not get much playing time at all due to “rules”. I just didn’t accept that fact because I believed i was not good enough despite the amazing tryout i had. I was put in for the teams point guard the whole tryout and was greatly appreciated until the final cut. The people on the roster were people i knew i was better than and i could easily replace them if my school wasn’t so political in their choosing. After that day of the final cut i went out to the local gym and practiced and practiced for HOURS. I continued to do that every SINGLE day of my life to prepare for the freshman team tryouts. The coach stated that there would be a 15 man team this year and good luck to all. To me it sounded as if good luck to the 2-3 new people we would accept on the team due to the “rules”. After 2 months of vigorous conditioning and weight lifting with the coach’s supervision i can honestly say i was more than prepared for the team. After two weeks of tryouts and not getting cut throughout every cut i was finally cut in the final cut despite my yet again AMAZING tryout. I made most of my shots, for example 7 out of 10 on average and i was still cut . There was a now 16 man team because a former last year player was injured and he made the team without participating in a week of tryouts. Also listen to this. Football players were to tryout for at least 30 minutes on one day of tryouts because they were not allowed to participate in preseason workouts and previous tryout days. The three players who showed up (who were on the last year team) airballed every SINGLE one of their shots. I promise to you i am not exaggerating. As i was saying, they did horrible during the tryouts and were not a threat at all and yet they all qualified for being on the team. This is beyond not being fair. People who were shorter and obviouslly not better than me were chosen. Why do I just have this bad of luck? the team roster count was adjusted and I still was not chosen. I can honestly say that I can beat more than half of the team in any drill or situation you can choose. I know i may sound like i am a sore loser but i am really not. I have just been treated with severe injustice year after year and it seems like it will happen again after every year of me trying out. People from everywhere such as adults from my local gym, friends, family, other coaches, and other people tell me that what has happened should never happen and that was me being cut from a mediocre freshman high school team. I was devestated the day i was cut and the only thing the coach said to me was that i was not ready to be on the team. Yeah, right. He offered me to be the team manager but i, of course, declined. What should i do? I try to stay positive and I know this may be happening because God has better things for me in AAU ball but what do i do in high school ball? I just don’t know what to do. It seems my family has to be super involved with the school or something to even be considered being picked on the team. I hate this yet i will never give up because i am nothing close to ever being a loser. I am way to persistent to be that person. Any advice to improving my game or the situation? Anything would be greatly appreciated.

    • Become friends with the starters i am a senior i was cut as a junior last year at tryouts i thought i did great im better than 90% of the team but this year i became good friends with the starting PG and he apologized to me because i had found out that the starters on the team picked who got cut and that i wasn’t picked to be on the team because they wanted more of their friends to be on the team and with their 7-22 record ill make them regret ever cutting me next month at tryouts

  5. so im a sophomore and i got cut this season… the coaches did an american idol thing where a girl would enter a room with just the coaches and they’d tell you if you made it or what you need to work on and if you made it the girls would come running out of the room high fiving and stuff.. but if you didnt you’d come out of the room gloomy and crying (everyone who got cut cried) and 7 girls got cut but only 2 decided to stay with the sport and thats me and my twin sister… we still have a close relationship with the sophomore coaches and we became JV and sophomore team managers we take stats and run the clock and help the coaches out during the games.. and we begin training for next season right when season gets off so we’re going to join the team in getting ready for next season and hopefully ill improve and make the team next year:) my biggest advice when u get cut is to ask the coaches if you are able to be a manager or help out at games or practices… it shows that your dedicated and who knows you’ll have an extra bump in tryouts if the coach is having troubles choosing between u and one other player he’ll be like ” well she is really dedicated and she helped out alot last year” :)))

  6. i’m a high-school student right now & i went to 3 different basketball tryouts since my freshman year. i failed those 3 tryouts & i’ve been thinking about this: if i don’t make the varsity team again this year now that i’m in my senior year of high-school, it’s either i’ll quit basketball for good & try another sport where i can excel. the reason for that is because no matter how hard i tried to become the best basketball player that i can be, i always end up not making the varsity team. there are times when i even felt like “maybe basketball isn’t really the right sport for me.” it’s just that i can’t excel really well in basketball & i’m struggling to go on to a more competitive level. i don’t even know if i should go to basketball tryouts this year. i’ve been thinking about switching from basketball to badminton because i think that i can excel in badminton very well more than basketball. in fact, i went to the badminton tryouts this school year to see what would happen to me & i went undefeated during the tryouts. the badminton coaches already saw some potential in me. i was close to making it but i failed because i didn’t listen to the P.A. announcements more carefully. eitel, what do you think i should do? thanks.

  7. Hi i am 13 and today i was just cut from my basketball team. i don’t know what went wrong. i only had trouble with dribbling but every thing else was perfect. i don’t want to play basketball any more. what should i do?

  8. For all of you saying that the reason you didn’t make the team was because of this and that… first of let me say i feel for you. I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been in your shoes. :( anyway, second off, i can tell you that the reason you didn’t make the team is this.
    ” it’s either i’ll quit basketball for good & try another sport where i can excel.”
    that attitude
    – better luck next year

    • thanks i picked up basket ball and started playing again your advice is helpful and i look foward to high school basket ball

  9. I got cut and the coach said work on ball handling and athleticism what drills/tips should I do please answer asap I really need help!

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