AAU Basketball

Arrived in Charlotte today and checked into my hotel. While checking in I see a bunch of kids and parents wearing the same T-shirts. I asked one of the parents what they were in town for. The lady told me that her son was playing AAU basketball. She told me that they had a game over at Carolina Courts. I asked what grade her son was in and she said the fourth grade. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. When I was in the fourth grade I was playing little league baseball in Keyport, NJ for the Braves. Mr. Ditmars was my coach, his full-time job was a painter. We played at ATCO field against other kids that lived in Keyport. There was the Bears, Cardinals, Raiders, Yankees and Reds. If you were good enough you were chosen to play All Star. The All Star team consisted of players from the Keyport teams. Now we would play other towns until we lost. Once we lost it was over, there was no loser bracket. Kids are traveling all over the country playing other kids from other cities and states, staying in nice hotels. What type of jobs do the parents have where they can travel with their kids? Spoke to a young player and he said that he is playing all the time with his AAU team. I asked him how much do you practice and he replied that they only play games in all these tournaments all over the country. I feel sorry for these kids because they are growing up too fast. We aren’t allowing them to enjoy their childhood. Parents, let your kids be kids. They need to practice more and play less. How do we expectkids to improve if they don’t ever practice. When is a kid going to improve his or her shooting if all they do is play? Then the behavior from most coaches and parents is notacceptable. They rant and rave about everything, screaming at officials and coaches. The parents think their kid is going to be the next Michael Jordan and the coach thinks he is going to the NBA. The kids see adults behaving poorly and then they complain about every call and blame a turnover or missed shot on the official or teammate. They think they never make a mistake. There was a time when kids improved during the summer. I see so many kids with natural talent and they fall by the wayside because they never developed a jumpshot or worked on their fundamentals. Kids enjoy your childhood because you can never get it back. Parents let them.

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