AAU season is in full effect!
Nikki’s son, Nimari, plays with Team Why Not on the Nike EYBL Circuit, and Barissa’s son, Kyree, plays with Dream Vision on the Adidas circuit.
Here are our 12 tips to finding a good AAU program for your child:
How is the program serving your child's purpose(s)? Do they really care about your child, on and off the court, or are they using them?
Are they placing your kid in the right tournaments? How’s the competition? Not all tournaments are good ones.
Are they providing proper training and practice time? Do they care about making your child better?
What is their retention? Meaning - how many players return to their program each season?
Who are the coaches? Are they skilled and do they know how to coach different types of kids or are they only coaching because their son or daughter plays on the team?
How is their communication? Is there constant drama within the program? Do the players and parents get along? This is a huge factor in choosing the right program. We won’t mention names but we have both experienced playing with some ratchet teams.
Do they respect you as parents? As mothers? Do they value your opinion?
What is their overall goal? Is it to win for bragging rights or do they make a conscious effort to assist in making your child recruitable?
Are the coaches keeping their word? At the beginning of the season, parents are generally told what position their kid will play and how much playing time they will get. Pay attention to what is said and what is actually done!
Are all players treated fairly? Again, our boys have played AAU ball since the first grade and we’ve seen it all, from “top players” given shoes when the rest of the players don’t. That’s unfair and a sign that the program isn’t run the way it should be.
Does the coach act in a way that is a good role model for the kids? It’s vital, as parents, to choose who we allow our kids to surround themselves with, even adults.
Last, but certainly not least, is the program stacking teams or are they recruiting the right players to play together to win? Be mindful that stacked teams will create issues and only five kids can start.
Don’t rush the process. Instead, trust the process and be sure to place your child in the hands of a program you have researched and feel comfortable with. Nothing is guaranteed and you may find yourself removing your kid from a program or two but when it’s all said and done, you must do what works best for your student-athlete.