AAU Basketball: Make the Right Choice

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Am I Picking the Right AAU Team?

As some grammar and middle school teams are finishing up and high schools are entering into the state playoffs the most over used 3 letter word that is being heard from gyms all across the country is…“AAU”.  The decision to pick the right AAU team for a child puts a tremendous amount of stress on parents AND kids.  There are promises and pressures put on youth athletes that SEEM like the end of the world to them.  So the question at hand is, how do you know which AAU program is the right one? The answers to the following questions are extremely important in making a commitment to a team.

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“I think everyone can be better than they think they can be and I don’t let them dictate that- I dictate that.”

Hall of Fame Coach, Bob Hurley

WHO IS THE COACH OF THE TEAM?

 You need to research who the “coach” of the team is…NOT the program director. What kind of experience does he or she have? Not only are they knowledgably about the game of basketball, do they bring a passion to motivate the players? Has this coach been a part of the organization for a few years or have they jumped around from team to team. Doesn’t hurt to ask around to what others say about that coach.  Is this coach going to make my child a better basketball  player and more importantly will this coach present a positive experience?

“Leadership starts at the top.” — Morgan Wooten

WHAT WILL THE SCHEDULE BE LIKE?

How often is the team practicing? Once a week? Twice a week? Every once in a while? Too often AAU teams are just formed together to travel across the country just to play games. In addition, how are those practices designed? Is enough player development/ individual skill work in the practices and not just an hour and half of running through plays for every situation?  What tournaments is the team entering? As a rising junior and senior do the tournaments offer enough exposure? Exposure should not be a priority for younger ages. The priority should be, are they playing teams that will push the AAU team to improve? Are they teams you don’t play often? At a young age it is important that the experience he or she has this AAU season will bring more excitement to the game of basketball than the year before.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
–John Wooden 

HOW DOES YOUR CHILD FIT ON THE COURT?

            This is a question that needs to be addressed from the parent to the coach before any commitment to the team. Where do you see my child fitting in? For example a chance to be a starter?, competing for minutes? Or will be a reserve. Does the style of play help the child, but more importantly how does a child get along with the other teammates. That is a fair question to ask especially when a family is making a huge financial and time commitment to an AAU team. More than likely it is the first time meeting their new teammates and right away the child will be spending a significant amount of time with them on and off the court.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
— Michael Jordan

           At the end of the day each parent needs to do what is best for his or her child at all times and all that coaches ask for is communication. As a former college player and now a coach please feel free to use me as a resource as I have been on both sides of the fence…I’d love to help & best of luck to everyone this AAU season!

Written By: Ryan Finch

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Ryan Finch
Ryan Finch is the Director of Hoop Group Skills, and he is always available to answer any and all questions in regards to your basketball development. Feel free to contact him at…

Phone: 732-505-2255
Email: Finch@Hoopgroup.com

Follow the Hoop Group:

Ryan Finch @ryanjfinch1212
The Hoop Group @TheHoopGroup

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