Basketball has certain notions that are a must to understand.
What happens when you are unaware of such basketball-centric notions, rules, policies, etc.?
You are deprived of comprehending the basics. Eventually leads to the misfortunes, you could have solved by knowing.
Likewise, AAU in basketball is something you should know…
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What will happen if you learn about it in advance?
It will help in knowing about the following aspects:
- Who is allowed to take part in AAU?
- How to participate in AAU?
- Can kids take part in AAU?
There are other questions too which are answered in this article. However, the main focus will remain on the question: what is AAU in basketball?
First thing first, let us explain the term AAU.
AAU is an abbreviation for “Amateur Athletic Union”. This union is operational since 1888 with more than 700 thousand registered members.
Now that you know what AAU means, let’s focus on another question…
What is AAU in Basketball?
AAU is a sports organization for young and amateur basketball players. In AAU groups are formed to make independent teams. These teams later compete with each other to win the AAU tournament.
The main aim of AAU is to enhance and prosper youth’s fitness through sports. Another objective and goal of this union are to develop amateur players in basketball. However, the real focus was to let the best Olympic players compete.
Later in the 1970s, it has diverged youth’s development in sports to the most acquired and fundamental level. AAU states that the union is built to facilitate young volunteers and athletes with opportunities that could bring out the best in national local events.
Coming to the next part, parents, basketball professionals and experts have been asking questions around AAU. Some of them are taken care of and answered below.
Who is Allowed to Play AAU Basketball Tournaments?
Remember, AAU is not meant for any specific gender. Means, any gender can take part in the tournaments. However, there are some rules for either gender.
AAU Rules for Boys:
7 is the age which boys have to cross in order to take part in the AAU competitions. But, there is a big butt!! See, there are kids who have a thing for basketball, right? Will AAU deprive these kids of chasing their dreams to play in a competition? Well, no! AAU gives chance to play in the group for under 7 kids. And then compete till they are 19 under the division.
AAU Rules for Girls:
However, girls can start playing basketball in the second grade and later can start taking part in the competitions when they are in grade 12. By the time they reach grade 12, they will be allowed to play under division.
When does AAU Basketball Season Start?
It starts right after basketball season in the high schools – from February till July. Many other tournaments are in the round for the entire year. So much so that there are tournaments and competitions during the high school basketball season. Anyone (as in age group and gender) hits the prerequisite to join tournaments in the national championship category.
Pros and Cons of AAU Basketball
Criticism is a part of almost everything. The only difference is based on the fact that some are healthy and constructive and others are demeaning and bigotry. Likewise, AAU has both, good and a bad side.
Benefits of AAU Basketball
There are mainly two advantages of AAU. Let’s check them out…
Healthy and Fair Competition – Competing Same Skillset
AAU lets you compete with players who have same skillset. Not that you will be in competition with someone who doesn’t know anything about basketball. Neither it will be with someone who knows more than you. This gives a fair chance of competing with someone of the same potentials and capabilities. Furthermore, this competition isn’t readily available if you tend to play in local leagues. When someone plays with the basketball players with same potentials then it gives an edge to level up the game, learn about their weak areas in the game, and also let them work on the shortcomings.
Scholarships by AUU for Kids
Another benefit of AAU is that it gives opportunities of earning scholarships. Elite players might not need a scholarship. But, there are many who deserve scholarships and have exposed credibility in the game. Which later helps them in earning a scholarship.
AAU allows new talent to exhibit their talent in the competition with professionals and elites. These competitions are held in front of many coaches and referees who later decide about the scholarships (on the basis of performance and obviously, the winning aspirants).
Cons and Disadvantages Around AAU Basketball Tournaments
As compared to advantages, there are more disadvantages of AAU tournaments. However, the main two are mentioned below.
Coaching is Not up to Expectations
Coaching for the AAU basketball tournaments and competitions is far from getting good coaching experience. It is mainly because of the fact that anyone can make a team and start coaching. The worst thing is that the person who makes a team is not appointed by the players. Instead, the team head who appoints himself as a coach is the one who makes the team.
Another worst aspect of the coaching part is based on criteria. There are no criteria whatsoever to coach a team. Team members are paying the coach for participating in the team and coaches are not questioned on what or how they are functioning in a team.
Development and increasing skillset or teaching how to work on weaknesses, coaches are mostly found using profane language with the team players. That doesn’t make sense at all and should be condemned on a larger scale.
The main idea of team players is to compete in a better way. Not to get disheartened! So, coaching should be something where others get boosted. Maybe they shout and use bad language to get attention! But to many of us, it is not a good idea at any level to shout and bother players in a negative way.
Development is Secondary
As mentioned in the previous point, the main focus is on winning and not development. What comes in “development”? Anything that makes you progress, make fewer mistakes as compared to what you play in the last game comes under the term “development”. Understanding rules and following them is neglected by the coaches. That leads to the mere factor of winning.
Practicing is another aspect that is completely ignored. It could be because players are not living in the same vicinity and are already the best ones. Another reason for not carrying out practices is due to the entire setup. You and I know that it is not easy to set up a practicing basketball court in the house or nearby. Sometimes, coaches are really nice and they give extra time during events and matches.
There is one more question that is asked frequently…
What are the Main Areas to Look into While Sending a Child to AAU Tournament?
Everyone has their viewpoint. According to some, anyone can take benefit from AAU basketball tournaments. However, it is a must to see that the child of yours has gotten the best team players and the coach is more directed towards development. The winning part cannot be ignored but yes, it is a must to get benefit from the coach as a development guru.
Therefore, you being a parent or guardian must look into the following points;
Coach and Coaching Strategies
Remember, it is the coach who can bring out the best in a player. Without seeing competence in understanding and teaching rules, developmental stages as a basketball player, rectifying weak areas as a player, polishing existing skills, a coach cannot be called “good”. So, you must see if the coach has the competency to teach basketball as a game or not.
Practice indeed makes a person perfect. Selecting a team for AAU basketball (challenges, events, and tournaments) means a lot of practice. It is recommended to practice twice if not thrice a week. Joining a team that doesn’t pay attention to practicing is not worth it!
Last Verdict –
It is pretty daunting at times to let the entire idea of letting your child participate in AAU tournaments. You need to be sure if AAU tournaments are following rules, regulations, policies, and other areas (like practicing, etc.) or not. Being among those who are supportive and not authoritative is the best option. That not only levels up the game but also lets the player develop in the game.
Even though there are many wrong practices in AAU basketball, there is some good stuff happening too. Bearing in mind the aim and objective of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) one should always look into the valuable ordinances which mainly were related to how to prosper and develop as a basketball player to win competitions with the best of the best basketball players.
I have been playing basketball for more than a decade now, and my passion and enthusiasm for it drove me to write about it. I am Ahmed, a professional basketball player and a fan who has now become a writer to help fellow basketball players and enthusiasts to opt for the best possible basketball accessories and essentials. Stay tuned to feast yourself with the content you might not have seen anywhere else.