Number of Players
Opinions vary on the ideal number of players for a [tag]basketball[/tag]team, but most people believe that 12 to 15 is optimal.  To prepare a team effectively, you’ll need at least 10 players attending every practice.  You can always expect 1 or 2 players to be absent, whether it be due to homework, family commitments, sickness, or some other reason.  As a general rule, choose more players if you expect a high rate of absenteeism.

However, be aware that there are only so many game time minutes to distribute amongst your team.  Many coaches fall into the trap of selecting too many players, only to have them become disgruntled over lack of playing time.  It is inevitable that some players will see the floor more than others, but be wary of bringing several players onto the team who have little or no chance of playing in the games.

For this reason, I would recommend a team size of 12 players for most teams at the high school level or below.  More advanced, competitive teams may select up to 15, but it is important to manage the playing time expectations for those players who will be at the end of the bench. 


To ensure fairness in the [tag]tryout[/tag] process, many teams have adopted a rule which forces coaches to document how and why they selected some players and cut others.  Look at this as an opportunity, not a useless paperwork exercise.  Documentation will force you to objectively evaluate each player based on a set of criteria that applies to everyone.  You will make better decisions, and choose a better team because of this.

I will provide you with those criteria, but it is up to you to refine them and apply them fairly.

Team Selection Matrix
Over the years, I’ve developed a useful [tag]Team[/tag] Selection Matrix that will allow you to select your team with a fact based approach.  Here’s how it works:
-“ The players trying out are listed along the matrix from top to bottom
-“ The coach decides on 3 to 5 selection criteria
-“ The coach applies a weight to each selection criteria, depending on which factors are most important
-“ The players are graded from 1 to 10 on each criteria
-“ A total weighted score is calculated for each player by adding up the weighted scores from each criteria
-“ The coach uses this score to help him select the team

I’ve found that the following 3 Selection Criteria are effective in creating a successful team.  Feel free to apply your own Criteria, or weight them however you choose.