The coach must consider:

  • The style of play they want for the team;
  • The team having a “balance” (guards, forwards and centres);
  • The selection policy and criteria set by whichever body is responsible for the team.

The coach will have a limited number of sessions with players in order to pick the team. These sessions should allow the players to “play”, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Most of the activities should be contested, whether that is 1x1, 4x4, an “advantage / disadvantage” situation (e.g. 2x1) or 5x5. The coach may do little teaching during the session, although they are trying to make an assessment of how “coachable” athletes are.

Typically, the coach may “set up” what they want done in an activity (e.g. ball reversal, with down screen) and this may reflect or include concepts that they wish to use with the team in the tournament.

The coaching staff need to assess each athlete in terms of what contribution they can make to the team at this tournament. This will include making an assessment of the player’s:

  • skill level;
  • versatility to play a number of roles within the team;
  • attitude – will they “accept” their role on the team, particularly if their role is likely to be as a “non-starter”;
  • understanding of team concepts and how responsive they are to coaching.

Ideally, the coach will have had the opportunity to watch the player play prior to the selection session, although more likely they have seen some but not all of the athletes. This makes selection particularly difficult because the coach may tend to prefer the athletes that they are familiar with.

The selection policy will include a process that the coach must follow. It is recommended that coaches:

  • seek input from a “panel” of coaches;
  • that all coaches involved in the selection process make brief notes on each athlete;
  • in the selection meeting, work through the complete list of athletes being considered and group them into the role they could play on the team (guard, forward, and centre). Every athlete must be put into a category and this ensures that no athlete will be overlooked. An athlete may be included in more than one category;
  • coaches should discuss each athlete after each session, working through the list logically (e.g. alphabetically) as this will help coaches to identify if there are athletes they want to see “more”.