“Coach, I got cut…..”


Where do we begin but at the beginning….


Many-most will not take the time to consider these kids who get cut.  Most of these players quit at the time, but surprisingly many continue to try.


This post is about those kids.  The kids who do not make the team but continue to try.


At Basics, kids getting cut is a rare occurrence.  Over 90% of the kids who attend our training make their school teams.  Some years it’s in the 95 + % percentile.


But it’s inevitable.  Some kids don’t make it.


Coach Wooden and I share a few things in common, including our favorite 4-letter word.




We are blessed with the opportunity to work with your kids.  Basketball is an emotional, skill laden sport, a very visible and tactile sport.  Not much is left to chance.  What you see is what you get in terms of players, skill level, commitment, condition, parental involvement.


I love every kid I work with regardless of their skill level.  What’s NOT to love?  For good coaches and programs, maybe the most fun game of all coupled with youthful exuberance and potential creates an almost celebratory atmosphere.


Far too many programs and teams become chore-like in their approach.  Parents, if your kids are in a program or on a team that appears chore-like or workmanlike in its approach, communicate with your kid and determine if they are in the right place.   It’s a game.  It should be fun.  If it’s not fun, don’t play.


Recently we had a player not make their school team.  You could sense the hurt, the disappointment.  So when kids like this choose TO CONTINUE, the echo of pure courage, pure resilience was hard to miss.


For those kids who want to continue after being cut, I will often seek permission from the parents to have the player discuss this setback with others in the gym.  Most are understandably hesitant to do so.  For those brave enough to talk about failure, it is quite a sight to behold!


Imagine it.  A 12, 13, 14 year old kid talking about failing, about being cut with peers and random strangers in the gym.


  • Coach: “So you were cut last week.  You’ve indicated you are OK talking about it?”
  • Player: “Yes.”
  • Coach: “What happened?”
  • Player: “I was surprised.  I thought I was ready.”
  • Coach: “Can you talk about the try out?”
  • Player (the emotion clear via body language): “Well I ran hard, I rebounded pretty well, I didn’t shoot very well.  After the first day, I was a little nervous but I thought I did better the 2nd day.  They broke us up into different squads, I wasn’t sure what that meant.  I tried hard.  I really tried hard.  I wanted to make the team.”
  • Coach: “Just being willing to talk about it, to face an adverse situation shows real courage.  I am very proud of you.  Don’t give up.  If it’s in your heart, keep trying.”


I absolutely LOVE kids who keep trying after they get cut.  They are among my favorite players.  In many respects, by continuing to try and squarely face failure, they are exhibiting courage that will benefit them throughout their lives.


“Success is never final.  Failure is never fatal.  What really matters is the courage to continue.”  Coach Wooden


Coach Jim McGannon