Finding the right AAU or travel team can be daunting to any parent. Everyone wants to make sure they get into a competitive club that balances exposure, competition, and character formation. Google “AAU teams” and you will find the choices can be overwhelming as well as confusing.
To guide you in making the best choice for your athlete and your family, let us consider these factors:
Goals and Mission
This is one of the most important factors when deciding on an AAU team. Asking the team some of these questions will help you to know the goals and mission of the team.
For some people, the goals and mission of an AAU team may not fit what they value or are looking for in a team. Every team may not be the right fit for every player; however, it is better to know this before making any commitment that will not end up benefitting your young athlete.
Coaching should be a huge consideration when choosing your AAU team as this is one of the main contributors to your development and basketball experience. Researching about the coach can shed light to the kind of experience you may get when you join a team.
Always prefer an experienced, knowledgeable, positive, and non-parent coach. Finding a coach with proper background check and basketball license is not easy, however, it is crucial to maximizing your growth as an athlete.
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Practice not only prepares the team for competition but it helps players develop their skills and ultimately win games. However, if the practice is not conducted properly, you may end up questioning why you invested so much hours of your week driving places. Some questions to ask:
Many AAU basketball teams do not practice or practice just for the sake of saying they practiced. Choose the teams that practice at least twice a week along with doing scrimmages and situational play.
The tournaments you will be competing in will surely make a difference in the long run. So, do not waste your time and money on tournaments that are not valuable for your development. Some questions about the tournaments to ask are:
Generally, AAU teams start traveling beginning in 10th grade, right when colleges start recruiting players. Teams traveling to NCAA certified events where college coaches watch teams play are obviously your best choice to get exposure.
Families and players can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per summer to play. These fees usually include basketball uniforms but not travel expenses. It is good to know and ask the following:
At the end of all this, remember the goal is to find the best fit possible. Do the best you can and do not hesitate to ask questions or ask other parents for their own experience. Being a part of a solid AAU team can very well help your child land a college scholarship, or at the very least, develop valuable friendships and life lessons, all the while enjoying the sport they love the most.