What To Expect Before Playing In A Basketball Tournament
Photo by Production Team

What To Expect Before Playing In A Basketball Tournament

By Kaitlyn Fedor

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Participating in tournaments can be the culmination of much hard work and preparation for a basketball team at any level. Tournaments are often exciting, fast-paced events that give players significant experience competing and learning. That said, there are several issues to expect and prepare for before participating in a tournament. As a company that provides basketball skills training to players of all ages and levels, Hoop Group has helped many players and teams prepare for tournaments. Here are some of our best tips regarding tournament preparation.


While a team's overall season is typically a marathon encompassing many months, a tournament is a sprint lasting anywhere from a few days to an entire week or two. Therefore, a team's coaching staff may prepare its players for a tournament by initiating different conditioning exercises.

Believe it or not, conditioning for an upcoming tournament might be slightly less intense than during the general season. Many coaches stress that the rigors of a tournament can take a significant physical toll on team members. The idea is not to run players tired before tournament play. Going too hard might result in a squad peaking too early and performing poorly once competition begins.

Increased Focus On The Entire Team

Most teams have one or two very good to great players complemented by other starters and perhaps a few reserves that play the bulk of the time. Prior to tournament play, a squad should not be surprised if their coaching staff preps bench players that do not typically receive a significant degree of playing time during the regular season.

As previously mentioned, tournaments are often completed over a relatively short duration and games can be scheduled on consecutive days or in accordance with schedules the team might not be accustomed to. Therefore, preparing the entire team's roster for competition might give said squad a decided depth advantage. Depth is critical to teams competing in tournament play.

Expect Both The Offensive And Defensive Playbook To Be Tweaked

Players embarking on tournament play should not be surprised of their coaches add a few plays to both the offensive and defensive schemes. While many successful coaches caution against invoking different schemes between regular season and tournament play, the individuals do not frown upon adding a few wrinkles here and there. A few fresh plays may prevent stagnation on both sides of the ball.

Anticipate Potential Breaks

Some successful tournament coaches stress the importance of allowing players to recover from intense preparation training before the tournament begins. Giving players a few days of rest is absolutely vital. One cannot reiterate enough that tournament play and scheduling of the event occur at a quicker pace than during the regular season. Certain coaches deem that a couple days’ respite for players to clear their heads and heal any lingering bumps and bruises can pay huge dividends as the tournament progresses.