The Rise and Fall of AAU Basketball in Massachusetts
This article will discuss observations on current basketball options for youth girls and boys in MA.
AAU stands of Amateur Athletic Union and it is one of the biggest non-profits in the US. Teams are formed and compete against other teams in weekend tournaments throughout the basketball off-season.
The title of the article aims to sum up how AAU basketball is affecting basketball in a positive and negative way throughout Massachusetts. It also aims to give helpful guidelines on how to find a good team or organization.
The rise and fall of AAU basketball in Massachusetts has been a factor of several things:
- Increase in the amount of teams
- Practice time
Increase in the amount of teams:
From the 4-11 grade level of boys and girls there are well over 500 teams in just Massachusetts.
Some of these teams are not AAU teams, but travel teams put together by local town coaches to keep their kids playing together in the off season.
Rise: More kids are playing basketball, which means more kids are active and building team comradery.
Fall: The talent level is skewed because of the amount of teams. Teams losing or winning by over 50 points is a common occurrence. This becomes a waste of time for both teams. This also hinders the development of both teams because the worse team can’t score or cover (and loses confidence), while the better team can score every time.
Good coaches are hard to come by anywhere you go and at any sport.
Usually the best criteria for a good coach is passion, experience (playing and/or coaching at a high level), and leadership (an example of leadership is being captain for your varsity high school or college team).
Because there are so many kids trying out for AAU basketball, many programs choose to make a “B” and a “C” team for each age group and they will need to find coaches for each team. Because finding very good coaches is hard to do, these coaches are often parents or volunteers.
RISE: The more teams, the more coaches, which means these instructors can teach the players respect and responsibility.
FALL: Quality of play and skill development lowers. The parent coaches typically do not know how to coach basketball very well and there is also a level of bias because their kid is playing on the team. The volunteer coaches usually do not have a lot of experience in training players for the next level, but sometimes you can get lucky and find a very good volunteer coach.
This is a very important factor in finding a good AAU team in Massachusetts.
60-70% of every AAU basketball practice should be focused on skill development.
The remainder should go to working on plays and defenses.
RISE: Many clubs are getting good practice time, which means they are practice two-three times per week for 1.5-2 hours.
FALL: The use of practice time is rarely focused around skill development because many coaches do not have experience in skills training or running a team practice. The majority of practice time for many AAU clubs then becomes working on plays and scrimmaging. This means that many players are not developing skills in the off-season.
We feel that the clubs below are doing things the right way. We would recommend these AAU Basketball Clubs in Massachusetts:
Rivals Basketball Club – MA, NH, ME
CMAC – Metrowest MA
Bay State Jaguars – Metrowest | South Shore MA