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Essie l Haney-Washington
Essie l Haney-Washington

You hit the nail on the head on this one. I played professional basketball ball purely on your belief system. Granted this has been more than 20 yrs ago. I agree that parents and AAU coaches are missing the mark here. No, it's not the same game I played, however the the same skills apply, if you don't have them along with good grades, no amount of exposure will help you. Don't believe the hype!!!

Janelle
Janelle

Thanks Alan for an awesome article, I can't wait to share it with my boys and many coaches I know. I have witnessed first hand what you speak of with one son in a club team that has torn him down mentally and physically with focus in all the wrong places and another son whose team was so bad that in multiple games the score was shut off yet they just keep playing more games instead of learning how to dribble, pass, and shoot correctly. This article was just what I needed! While basketball is a great love of many in my house it saddens me greatly to see what has become of youth basketball as well as youth sports in general. I want my kids to play simply because they love the game. Your vision is inspiring and appreciated.

Tommy Murray
Tommy Murray

Great article....helps keep me focus as a coach as well as a parent. I told my son who is 11 each season (Spring/Winter/Fall/Summer) we want to improve in one area of your game and add something new to your game as well as continue to review the basic. So far this is working and will stick to it.

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

I just want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to share your thoughts, raise additional points and for your support.

Paul Koepke
Paul Koepke

Great information! More training! less games! Playing in a tournament should be a reward for working in weight room and putting in gym time and working on fundamentals. Roll Pride! "Hustle and Heart will set you apart"

Roy Green
Roy Green

Great post! I think this is more on the boys side of the game than the girls side. That is not to say this is not happening on the girls side of the game. Just like anything in life you have "really good AAU coaches and you have some bad AAU coaches". I think over-all on the girls side coaches do a good job. One of the greatest coaches in the history of the game Pete Newell said "Basketball is over-coached and under-taught". I think the emphasis should be on skill development, fundamentals and basketball IQ! You can see the coaches that teach skill development and fundamentals "just watch their teams play". The million dollar questions is "most parents, players and even some coaches don't see the need to go through the process"? You can try but you can't ignore the process. It is a process!! No one really cares about what you did in the 7th and 8th grade. We all have seen players in the 7th and 8th grade that could really play and in high school just become average! I believe there is a place for ranking systems and evaluators if it is used for Outcome based education (OBE). A player is required to demonstrate they have learned the skill set through measureable tasks! The great thing about our great game is this "If you have any weakness basketball will expose you". The college coaches can see in five minutes if you play or not. They are looking for the right player not the best player. Thanks

Pat W
Pat W

Alan, you hit the nail on the head with this article. Player development not only on the court but more importantly off the court is essential for young basketball players. The problem isn't exposure, that's what the tournament directors will tell you but more importantly the money these tournaments are generating at the expense of these young athletes. It really is a big business and unfortunately the athletes play too many games and have little or no skill development. As a high school coach I see the "club" team coaches hang around at every high school game and promise the players and their parents everything in the world. Their big claim to fame is "I have players at this school and that school" and I will do the same for your son/daughter while all they are doing is using the kids for their own egos and the tournament directors make money at the kids' expense. Unless the NCAA changes the evaluation and recruiting process not much will change because many parents and players are chasing the all mighty scholarship. Keep spreading the word and progress can and will be made.

Lindsey G
Lindsey G

I think this is a great post. Most coaches focus on getting in more games, so their players and themselves can be seen, when in fact their players could be better if they focused more on their own skills and their team skills. Its sad that many kids don't play just for the love of the game anymore. ITs all about gatting noticed.

William Everett
William Everett

Apparently Stephen Curry didn't play AAU ball either. All the ACC programs in his "backyard" ignored him despite his ex-NBA father.

Roger Smith
Roger Smith

I read the book "Play their hearts out" about two years ago and it opened my eyes to the ugly side of basketball. The side of basketball where kids are used as pawns and commodities. I believe a kids talent should be used by his parent to advance his/hers education and set them up for a successful career after gaining a college degree. I have watched a lot of highly ranked players and unranked players and one key behavior pattern that puts them in the "CAN NOT play for me" category, is the "entitlement" attitude. Your ranking dont mean a thing once you hit the court.

Michah Davenport
Michah Davenport

I agree fully. I do both basketball workouts and run a AAU team. I believe that if you train hard you will get the looks you need. I not worried about going to different state I want my players to be able to use their weak hand and get an IQ for the game. Players that dont work out start off above the others and the become average players

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

I am so appreciative of all of the support, thanks gang. Together we can make a difference!

Tom Otstot
Tom Otstot

As a Middle School and Club Coach, I couldn't agree more with this article. It is shameful to see what Youth Basketball has become, and I am a kindred spirit, Alan. My goal - my responsibility as a coach to young players - is always development. Not just player development, but, more importantly, character development. None of my kids are going to play in the NBA, but through good coaching the life lessons that come from lessons on the court and in the gym my guys can become good men with the resiliency and self-confidence to handle whatever comes their way. Coaching certification is a good first step. Unfortunately we don't have that right now although there are many "certification programs" being peddled on the internet (and they are not bad, just not universal). I am in the process of setting up my own "Coaching U" business to work with Youth Coaches to give them the tools to make a difference with young athletes, regardless of their skill level. Kids that develop a love for this game, who gain self-confidence and mastery of skills they did not previously possess. that learn how to fill a role on a team - in a family, an organization, a community - and identify their strengths and gifts that they can share with the world - these kids will prosper and be lifelong fans while at the same time becoming responsible members of their communities and good role models. This is much more important than padding my win-loss record as a coach.

Coach Jim McGannon
Coach Jim McGannon

Fantastic stuff. It's an uphill battle but one worth fighting. Basics has 51 program grads now at the college level, including 7 D-1. We never travel. We do not play AAU. Whoever said "If you can play they will find you." is 100% right. Just play hard and try and get better everyday. Save the travel $$. Oh, and hit the books too!

Victoria J
Victoria J

This is all too true. I know girls who think that they are under appreciated because they don't have high point averages. Little do they know that they are getting noticed because of the smaller things they do that contribute to the whole team. They are great players and most likely get more exposure than the scorers because theses players do more. These girls need more confidence, while the scorers need to improve themselves before thinking of their rank. Exposure will come to those who focus on themselves. I completely agree with this article.

gavin tang
gavin tang

Otto Porter Jr was the #3 overall pick and he didnt play AAU ball AND he played at Georgetown. That by itself should put the exposure argument to rest.

Kaushik
Kaushik

Great post! Spot on about everything!

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Thanks gang, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support! Keep helping me fight the good fight!

Bob
Bob

Stick with the basics and players will neve have to go back to the basics. Shooting and passing are lost arts. Do what few will, play like few can. Great players become great when nobody is watching. It's the parents who are responsible. Otto Porter gets my vote.

Heather Graham
Heather Graham

Yet again, great post. I can't wait to share with my high school kids. I had a player tell me last week "I'm not playing ball unless its D1". My first thoughts were "what about a free education or love of the game?" Broke my heart! Thank you for the post. Can't wait to read part 3.

D J King
D J King

Alan - I love the article and assisting with "fighting the good fight." As a parent of a passionate baller, I like the idea of his goal being the best player he can be as a senior. That being said, if everyone else's goals are playing as many AAU games as possible and getting exposure, how can we expect to be at the top of a college coach's list? My point is nice guys tend to finish lowly ranked in today's system because the system is wrought with ne'r-do-wells. Do I sacrifice my son's opportunities on principal?

Maverick Coach
Maverick Coach

Coaches are not only exposing the student-athlete, but themselves as well. I am a big supporter of coaching education. I am talking about the coach educating themselves and also being able to teach the game. Too many times we see the coach that clearly overemphasizes the athletic talents of a player versus their basketball IQ. The question I have is how can a coach teach players when they themselves refuse to learn?

Veronica J
Veronica J

I agree with what's being said! Often times players think that certain stats go unnoticed, and they then begin to question whether their number of assists really matters, which is detrimental to their contribution in the game, or they worry too much about being a certain type of player, like one who is always scoring, because average points per game is a well reported statistic. I also agree with the part of this article saying that players focus more on proving their game than developing. A lot of times players want to be better, but have a negative attitude toward team practices. After hard work is put in at practice, the hard work will be noticed (whether or not the player knows) by a scout or someone who may have an opportunity for the player.

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Thanks for taking the time to share and for your support. I appreciate you!

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Thank you so much for your kind words and support!

Lee
Lee

Love the article. I got killed many years ago for saying these same points. I think people are now ready to hear it. I wrote a letter to the editor of a big paper in a major city of basketball about 10 years ago for ranking a 4th grader as the best player in the country for his age group. I was so upset by this because that young boy was set up for failure...where does he go from being ranked number 1. Thank Alan!

William Everett
William Everett

Most AAU coaches do not development (character, skills, mental) their athletes. You are to be commended.

Charles Lucas Shabazz
Charles Lucas Shabazz

Rodney Carney was another good NBA player that never played for a shoe-company club. For one thing, anyone that says that playing in shoe-company tournaments is the only way you can get a scholarship overlook the fact that if you can play, recruiters are going to find you. Furthermore, with social media (twitter, facebook and myspace) and video media (YouTube and vimeo), coaches are going to find you. How about the famous Five Star Camp? If you ever go to their website, the costs is less than what parents spend on their children playing on club teams, though it's still not cheap. Five Star provides more quality for young players who want to improve their game, this includes fundamental stations and games.

jschmitz
jschmitz

DJ King-There are other ways to get "exposure". As a high school coach, I sit down with each of my players after our season. We talk about realistic goals and how to go get them. With the players within our program that have the will and ability to play beyond high school we put together what I call an athletic resume. We then send it out to appropriate schools that match their level of ability. For example, this season we graduated a young man that never played 1 AAU game in his entire career and he was offered nearly a full ride to a junior college in our state. Instead of AAU he rarely missed a skill development open gym (2-3 days/week). He met with me 1 on 1 to work on ballhandling throughout the summer before his senior year. Then he played on his own as much as he could. Basically he developed his game and then went out and helped us get better as a team. Hopefully this helps! Good luck.

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

You hit the nail on the head. Coaching education is vital!

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Thanks Lee. We sure appreciate your support my friend!

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Yep, he is an excellent example! We need more players like him to find success. Alan

Charles Lucas Shabazz
Charles Lucas Shabazz

Five Star is how the famous Michael Jordan and other great NBA players were discovered and many of the top college and NBA coaches help run clinics at these camps.

D J King
D J King

Thanks Coach Schmitz, it sounds as though you are a great advocate for your players. Keep fighting the good fight!

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

Very true! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Alan

Alan Stein
Alan Stein

I appreciate you both for sharing and making several excellent points!

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