A coach has to face certain realities, be it a professional coach or a parent volunteer, that some youth who try out on a team will not make the team, or will be cut from the basketball team. Cutting a player is never an easy task; the emotions will run high for you, for the parent and of course, for the youth.

Most of the time, you will not be utilizing cuts in elementary ages, however you could. It really depends on logistics; the spaces available for a team.

What are some do’s and don’t for announcing cuts after basketball tryouts?

The only true don’t is to ignore the sensitivity of the issue.

For instance, one don’t is to state that because of a players size or build that they can’t be on the team. This is actually discrimination and though it may be true, is actually illegal if your program does receive any government funding at all. It’s also just not in good taste to do this. This can run the gamut from an overweight child that you fear for his health on the team in pushing himself, or a skinny child that you may feel can’t hold his own. Realize that your perceptions of both youth may be very wrong; and the heavy child may be very athletic and strong and the skinny child may be stronger than the bulky kids; however, this is a huge no-no to mention anything physical.

Realize when you make a cut the child will probably be devastated as will the parent; if your announcements are made publicly the cut youth will be surrounded by whoops and hollers from celebratory youth and parents who have made the team. Be sensitive.

Here are some guides to help you with not only sensitivity but with parent questions if they arise (and they probably will)

  1. Keep a log, a paper trail of each child. Especially in a situation where you can’t always go from memory or when the cut is a thread between one child and another. Keep a log of where you feel the student needs work. Your log should be positive, even with the weaknesses. Instead of writing, “Can’t dribble” write “Needs work dribbling” and so on.
  2. Do not compare athletes. Never bring up, on paper or in verbal, how one child fares against another.
  3. Call, not make a large announcement, the youth who do not make the team before anyone else knows. For instance, if the final cut of team members is to be displayed in a school hallway on a Monday, do make calls over the weekend (enlist help if need be) to each child that tried out but did not make the team.
  4. When you make the calls, be sympathetic and encouraging.
  5. Have options for the youth that did not make the team; perhaps hold one or two seminars that they are invited to (have this ready) to increase their knowledge and invite them to try out the next year/season.
  6. If you must announce the cuts in public, do so with complete integrity and respect. Spend as much time speaking of the youth who are cut with the same verve’. Allow parents and spectators to know that the decision was very hard, and it went on a point system (or whatever system) and that many youth were extremely close to being either on or off, the team and that it was a very hard call, but one that was done through charting.
  7. In the end, be sure that regardless of being cut or not cut, each parent and athlete walks away knowing you are fair, that you care and that there are opportunities for all of the youth, not just the ones who made the team. This is also a good time to speak about sportsmanship and the importance of learning to be a good sport – on either side of the team fence.