Thursday, November 1, 2012
These days it seems as though AAU has taken over the basketball world. Everywhere you turn there is a another AAU team, and these teams all start at such a young age. Every parent wants to have their child involved in AAU at such a young age that they are forgetting about learning the fundamentals. Fundamentals are an extremely important aspect of basketball.
One of the things I noticed while coaching college the past 3 years is that our players were lacking these fundamentals. They would come in with a bad shot, horrendous footwork, or a weak handle. I didn’t understand why they were lacking such important pieces of the game that I worked on at a young age. I feel a lot of it is because parents are so worried about AAU at a young age that they are skipping over learning the basics first. I like to compare it to building a house. In order for a house to be sturdy and last a long time (without multiple repairs) it needs a great foundation. The same comes with basketball, in order to be a great player, a solid foundation needs to be laid first.
Does a great shooter become great by walking in the gym and shooting 3’s for the first shot? The answer is no, they start in close and work repetitively on their form. When I say repetitively, I do not mean 20 shots, I am talking about thousands of shots. From there they have a solid foundation in which they can continue to increase their distance from the basket. I see so many young kids come in the gym and jack up a 3 as soon as they touch a ball instead of staying close and getting their form down. It is almost near impossible for an 8 year old to shoot correctly from the 3 point line, they just do not have the strength.
AAU is a great tool for being recruited, and I am not trying to knock it any way. I just know that without a solid set of fundamentals first, kids are missing an important aspect to the game. People pay thousands to play AAU each year, and it starts at such a young age these days, that we are forgetting about the fundamentals. I did not start to play AAU until I was in 7th grade, and even that was young. I do not feel it is necessary for 3rd and 4th graders to play AAU. From what I know, the whole point of AAU is to play on elite teams in which you get noticed by college coaches. However, no college coaches are interested in recruiting a 3rd grader. With the amount of AAU teams out there these days, are they even “elite” anymore?
Everyone wants to be a great player and play at the next level, but are you willing to break down your game and develop the fundamentals first. Yes, it can be tedious, but fundamentals can go a very long way. It takes time, effort, and hard work, but in the long run it is worth it. Like I stated before, build the foundation first and then work from there. Get the fundamentals down and let the rest of your game develop around those skills.
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