This season, after speaking with numerous coaches and researching the topic, I have developed a series of recommendations on how best to operate our local youth basketball travel team placements.  While there is not perfect system, I believe it is possible create a system focused on fairness and impartiality.  Here they are:

  1. No parents or Youth Travel Coaches allowed in gym during tryouts.  This is vital to provide an atmosphere that supports all players and evaluators.
  2. One on site coordinator who runs drills, tests and scrimmages.  Great position for the local high school sub-varsity coaches.
  3. Organize high school students to work the tryouts.  They can receive community service hours.
  4. Create three Evaluator Positions:  It is important to have a variety of viewpoints.  I recommend:
    1. Teacher
    2. Former Player
    3. Club/AAU Coach/former high school coach etc.
  5. Evaluators should not coordinate, coach, or teach during the evaluations.
    1. With the limited amount of time, they should focus completely on observing all players without interaction.
  6. Evaluations should be a combination of qualitative and quantitative assessments.
    1. Qualitative measurements should be based on a percentage to the group as a whole (ex: “top 10%”, “top 25%”, “top 50%”, etc).
    2. Quantitative included timed and number-of-makes drills (ex FT, Hot shot, dribble through cones, etc.).  Results would be placed in the rubric under percentage to the group.
    3. Attempting to limit subjective analysis is difficult.  Categories should be basketball specific.  Qualities that are highly immeasurable should be viewed as “intangible” and beyond the scope of the evaluators. While these qualities are admirable and contribute to successful play (ex: “hustle”, “being positive”, “desire for the game”), they are difficult to discern and require longer periods to evaluate properly.
  7. Number all players on front and back of chest.
    1. Players must where blank white t-shirts. Bold #’s provided for front of jerseys like used in road races.
    2. Consider purchasing tryout jerseys, to be distributed and collected at end of tryouts.
  8. Day of Tryouts Logistics:
    1. Check In:
      • Outside the gym
      • Local youth  staff (any)
    2. In Gym
      • One Site Coordinator (Adult who directs tryouts, does not evaluate, does not have child trying out)
      • Student assistants-runs drills/tests/scrimmages (do not evaluate)
      • Evaluators (2-4)
  9. Results Process:
    1. Evaluators turn in rubric’s to Site Coordinator (they do not get looked at until after second tryout).
    2. After second tryout, Site Coordinator gives evaluations to Non-parent adviser.
    3. Advisors input to spreadsheets.  (I am willing to input results)
    4. Advisors provide Travel Coordinator with rosters.
  10. Evaluations results are absolute.  No post tryout committee to review, discuss, and provide any changes to the results.  The results determine placements.
  11. Players who cannot attend tryouts are placed on B Team.
  12. Notification:
    1. Create an ooportunity for players/parents to learn results face to face first.  Maybe an hour at a table at a local school.
    2. Post results directly after in person session.
    3. Results of teams should be seen as players tryout #, and not the name.  There is no need to post who made A team and B team so that everyone can see.  This will provide some anonymity.
  13. Final Consideration:
    1. I understand the difficulties involved with coordinating a travel program.  While I personally believe dividing up teams equally has some merits, I recommend implementing a system for placements that creates more balanced teams.  For grades 4-5 (maybe 6), teams could be created by placing players 1-5 on A Team, 6-10 B Team, then alternate distributing the remaining players equally.  This with provide a stronger A team v B Team (which satisfies travel league requirements), while creating a decrease in tracking for younger players.



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