In decades past, when the basketball season ended it was on to the spring sports. Whether they were lacing up the cleats or shining their clubs, players wouldn’t consider touching a basketball until late summer. However in today’s demanding world of youth sports, kids are making decisions before they hit puberty to focus on one sport all year round.
When it comes to AAU basketball, it is no joke. Teams invest time and MONEY to travel the country looking for top competition.
This circuit started out as simply a tool to keep kids playing in the off-season, and now it has evolved into this whole separate juncture that does more than just offer games.
However, is spring and summer ball good for these developing players? Hall of Fame legend “Pistol” Pete Maravich is known for being obsessive in the gym. He would spend 7 hours a day during the summer practicing his shooting, ball handling, passing, and all other fundamentals to improve himself come basketball season.
With AAU, it is instilled into young minds that they need to play games during the off season to get better at their craft, not by working individually. The more AAU gets recognized, the more players will steer away from learning core skills and migrating towards nonstop gameplay.
Unfortunately, college coaches utilize AAU to the maximum since it is their off-season too. These tournaments don’t give the coaches the full picture though.
“How is this kid’s work ethic?” “How much time does he put in the gym lifting and working on different parts of his game?” These are two questions that will always be unanswered to college coaches when they are sitting in the bleachers at a tournament.
The developing basketball players of this generation need to make sure they have their priorities in CHECK. Sure, the AAU circuit will give great exposure to colleges, and outstanding competition. But to get to the next level, it all starts with what the player is doing when no one is WATCHING.
We have a duty as members of the basketball COMMUNITY to instill a mindset into players that putting on a CBC jersey all summer doesn’t serve as a placeholder for an offseason regimen. Too many players at a young age have all the talent in the world, and wind up playing their most significant games in high school.
Read up on some past high school rankings. Most of them become very good at the college level, but less than 1% of them make it in the league. The ones that do are the most diligent. They all are born with ability, but very few want it as bad as they say they do.
A great book by George Dohrmann, Play Their Hearts Out, gives a perspective to its readers on this exact aspect. I’ll spare you a book review, but if you ever get the chance to read it, you’ll understand the point we are making here.
You’re only as good as your last Miken Drill.
By: Nate Rubinstein