Special to Greensborosports.com:
Now that the regular season is nearly over for majority of highschool boys and girls
basketball players except for the State playoffs, many student athletes are now
participating in AAU practices and events. Many student athletes are now coming to
the realization that this is a year round process. Is that good or bad for a student
athlete? The answer to that question will get a variety of responses. Here is one
thing for sure; the body does needs a rest at times before it takes on another
activity. The pressure comes when coaches take the stance that I can always find
some one else to take your place if you are not here when we begin and yet they wait
for the super star kid to come when the kid is ready. This is where a parent role is
extremely important with the understanding that their kids health is far more
important than the pressure being asserted by an AAU coach. Some times a week or two
break is not a bad thing and maybe it should be mandatory.
Again this is where a parent should take control of the situation.
During the AAU experience that a parent is about to embark on early on in their
kid’s participation and development, I sincerely hope they realize that their is
going to be an enormous amount of time and financial resources that will be required
and at the end of the experience there may not be a scholarship in the process as
far as basketball is concerned. Several factors could cause this to happen. One
could be that the student athlete really was not that good and by no means does it
has anything to do with success or failure in life. It could mean that the student
athlete was never that commited and many parents may need to get out of denial early
on when they see this before they end up spending thousands of dollars that leave
bitter tastes in their mouths later on. Sometimes maybe doing something else is the
better route versus wishful thinking. If the parent and student athlete is okay with
just being a part of something, then that is good as long as it is understood and no ill will is created during the process.
Some things that parents and the student athlete need to come to grips with
early on is if a kid starts to participate in AAU Basketball by seventh grade and
now they are in the ninth grade entering highschool and no improvement seems to be
on the horizon, it may be time to have a honest talk to see if just playing
highschool ball is more appropriate and it gives them a chance to enjoy the
highschool experience. Is this taking away a kids dream? No, it may help them to
avoid a nightmare as far as basketball is concern. Sure, there will always be
isolated situations that raises one’s expectations, but more times than not it does
not happen. Even the better players during this time come up short. Coaches from
college recruit early on and if a prospective student athlete is not at least in
their colleges data base as far as receiving letters or anything else that is
permitted by the NCAA rules guide lines, then there is a good chance that
someone needs to get on the ball quickly. Both parents and student athletes need to
do this; Do not wait for someone else to become your mouth piece.
Student athletes must also keep in mind that if you are good they will find
you and it has nothing to do with what AAU program that you are with. Coaches just
need to know what tournaments you are playing in during the Spring, Summer and Fall.
Also let them know what highschool that you attend. No one can measure the heart or
work ethic of a prospective student athlete and if they have that with a little
talent, then the end of the process could be rewarding as far as being offered a
Division I or Divsion II scholarship early on. Most student athletes will know
early on if they are being recruited and the parents should also be on top of the
situation as well. The biggest mistake that many student athletes and parents make
is that they get caught up in listening to the wrong people and they turn their
noses at schools that are not considered high major. Which in the grand scheme of
things means absolutely nothing. Researching the
academics and other pertinent information will help student athletes make a much
more informed decision that tends to work out best in the long run.
AAU and Highschool Coaches for both boys and girls sometimes needs to be brutally
honest with kids in letting them know that where their progress is at the moment,
that thinking of schools like UConn, North Carolina Tennessee, Duke and many
others are not realistic and maybe an Elon, Highpoint Central, North Carolina A&T,
Western Carolina and UNCG may be more of what they should secure or at least have
dialogue because in many of those cases some kids game are not even at that level.
Now that may sound harsh coming from a coach and many student athletes or parents
may not like it, but a coach needs to be straight forward and not be liked for
telling the truth versus being liked for saying what student athletes and parents
want to hear and hated later on when it does not pan out.
Sports is a very complex entity and yet simple that exposes strengths and
weaknessess for public display. Those student athleets that learn early on how to
deal with it more times than not will have grteater success and a much more happier
time. Oh by the way, so will their parents!