AAU or Skillwork?
I have had several parents ask me my opinion for this topic and I wanted to write to you guys to share my thoughts on which one I think you/your child should focus more on and why.
….I was going to lead into this with a story about me and AAU but let me just get right to the point. What are you playing AAU for? Why is your child playing AAU?
Is it to follow the crowd? Is it to get them to play more basketball outside of the school year? Is it to play tougher competition? Is it for the Coach? Is it because you have had promises that AAU will help you be recruited?
This matters BIG TIME. Because if AAU is a social event for your child to participate in, then this isn’t for you. But if you/your child wants to be recruited by a college coach to play basketball then READ and be a sponge…I’m about to help you TREMENDOUSLY!!!
The only reason to play AAU is to be recruited, or to play tougher competition but even then you have to be careful, and I’ll tell you why. Every year millions of athletes are going into the AAU circuit, paying hundreds of dollars for tournaments, and even more for hotel stay, travel, etc. I played AAU basketball for 3 years, from my Freshman year until my Junior year. We were able to travel all over the United States and every weekend we were in a high-end tournament playing some of the BEST COMPETITION. Back in 2007 the AAU circuit wasn’t as big as it is now. The teams were very few and every team had the best talent in the state. Hundreds of coaches packed these small gyms to see some of the best talent play.
…..But now it’s different.
I can’t imagine what my parents paid to get me into the AAU circuit (and that was for only 3 summers). I was recruited way more in Prep School than I was through AAU and I think anyone that has played in both routes will agree with me. The money wasted on AAU is getting out of hand. Parents are paying a ridiculous amount to watch their child compete in mediocre tournaments (usually locally or in the state) for a couple of hours a week. With school ball, travel team, summer camps, and leagues, AAU is the cherry on the cake…usually.
Here is my 2 cents, again this goes back to what you’re in AAU for. If you’re in it to be like everyone else, more playing time outside of high school basketball, maybe someone promised playing time for you child, then run and don’t look back. Your child needs to get into the gym and work. They need to train. They need to get better. Unless you’re a Freshman through Senior you should stay away from AAU. Focus on SKILL WORK. Here’s what these Coaches and AAU leagues who promise to make your kid into the next stand out won’t tell you….
…..USUALLY, these programs don’t go to high end tournaments and if they do they get the weaker games in the tournament (very early games) or they play local/in-state tournaments that no college coaches go to, or local college coaches go to. You could be seen/heard about by just playing high school basketball from these local coaches. Now, the AAU teams that actually get you noticed and are worth your time/money are EXPENSIVE and require you to try-out to even make the team. Even then you might sit the bench the entire time. Every other league is just a watered down team looking to get your money and waste your time. I’ve heard stories of families traveling 6 hours just to find out the team they were playing didn’t even have enough players show up. Ever happen to you? What could that money and more important TIME have done for your child if used better? No 4th-8th grader should be in AAU especially over skills training. I just want you guys to realize skills training, fundamental training, practicing, should be picked over AAU until the time is right. Even though yes, I am a trainer, trust me when I say, find a GOOD skills trainer and pay them over spending your money on AAU, at least until you hit 9th grade.
Make AAU WORTH your time and money.
In conclusion, if AAU is only good for recruiting then make sure you’re on the right team, and a good enough player to get recruited. Make sure your child isn’t bombarded with games all weekend to the point where they don’t have the time or energy to work on their own game. If they play all day but don’t get into the gym to enhance their skills all that money is wasted.
Hopefully this helps,
Until next time.