Sunday, April 21, 2013

Great tool for improving shooting.

Definitely recommend! There program works and the website has lots of great tips. And the owners will email you back if you have questions!

Wow how times have changed.... for the better and not bitter!

wow it's been a while since I added to this. I knew when I made this blog, it was more about getting my thoughts out. I read it and see lots of frustration. Justified frustration, but still lots of anger to get off my chest.

I'm glad I did. SOOO much has changed.

My player is now in 9th grade and on her 4th AAU program. Sounds like a lot jumping around and disloyalty. But we had to find the right fit. Recurring theme. But we've got the right fit now. More on that in a bit.

The last 2 seasons, she played for a smaller club that has a good reputation but is better at developing the younger kids. Problem is that when the younger kids get older, the find opportunities to play with middle and high school teammates on other teams.

Anyway, before the season, the club announced they were going to take the best 20 older girls (there were only 20 on the 2 older girl teams but the split was 13:7) and form 2 teams of 10: Freshmen/Sophomore and Junior/Senior. Some girls would have to play up. And the 6 tournaments they has scheduled were all College Showcase Tournaments.

That didn't sit well with me because my daughter needed time on the court to get better and take that next leap. (She's improved a lot since my last blog post. Got to keep working those fundamentals.)

She made varsity her freshmen year and the coach recommended a different AAU program that was forming a new, developmental team. My kid was dead set AGAINST switching programs AGAIN. And oh good lord... throw into that mix being 14 years old and trying to act like she's 25.

Anyway, I kinda tricked her into going to one workout with the new program and she was hooked. Didn't want to admit it, but she was hooked bad! Fresh scene, new teammates she gelled with instantly, and a chance to start!

First tournament game came and she went OFF! Hitting threes and playing solid defense. Confidence shot up. The team doesn't have a fully developed point guard (the current one is more of a slasher to rim and is developing her leadership) so my kid got thrown into the roll. Struggled a bit a first but started doing some impressive ball handling.

She played her old AAU team from 2009 today (except they added some older girls to the team) and took it to a new level. Played very aggressive and disciplined. Scored 15 and again was tough to get past on defense. A few of the parents we knew came up to me ans said "wow she really improved". A few others said "we knew that was there all along and just needed the chance".

Now how much of that was opportunity and how much of that was her maturing and believing in herself? Hard to say.

But now we find ourselves in a new roll: Being the parents of the best player on the team. You get a lot more attention. I'm determined to stay humble. I talk about the things Emily struggled with and the potential you can see in all our team. Our "developmental" team is starting to be a team that's hard to beat. We'll still only win maybe 30-40% of our games this year. But we're becoming that scrappy team that play solid disciplined ball and you can't sleep on.

So we're enjoying the positives right now. Hopefully that trend will continue. Hopefully I'll post more than every 2 years. Attending a college showcase is a nightmare at times. Worthy of it's own blog!

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's like buying clothes... gotta find the right fit.

Making enough mistakes and learning from them is what they call "experience".

Best advice I can give if you're thinking about having your child play in any sporting "club" is find out what goals of the club are. Clubs are teams that play throughout the year and aren't a church or rec league.

We're on club #3 and this one feels like a good fit (we said that about #2 but my daughter is getting a lot of playing time on #3 and so is the rest of the team so we're pretty happy). We originally switch to team #3, switched back to #2 after a bunch of promises, then went back to #3. #3 coach said he was glad we did that because now my daughter has no doubt where she wants to be. I like this coach.

Most of these clubs don't advertise or recruit openly. Lot of word-of-mouth type info. AAU, USBA, Junior Nationals, USSSL, YBOA, there are many league and teams to play on. You really have to start looking in December to try and find a team for spring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Beginning

Something you'll need to understand about AAU teams that focus on winning titles: They are not interested in player development. They wish to maintain their starters and keep the bench players on the bench. They believe this is the only way to win. Unfortunately, the only ways these teams get any better is by picking up new superstars. Otherwise they only incrementally improve. There's no big leap in performance.

We were on such a team but before the season, we got approached by another developmental team that wanted my daughter to play for them. We like them a lot but my daughter got sold a bunch of lies by her current coach and the coach asked her to stay. Said my daughter would play a lot during the games. When the season started, it went back to the same as before.

Augh but this time we had an out. The other team still wanted her so we made the switch. I honestly thought no one on the old team would make much of a fuss. It sent shock waves through the entire club. We got accused of hurting the teams chances for a state championship.

We had a meeting and I asked why everyone was so upset. She didn't play but 15 minutes in first 8 games of the season. The explanation? "But she has so much potential and she's going to be great".

Ummm yea.... maybe you should have played her more. Score one for the players.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ok what's going on?

my daughter has been practicing hard and working on her fundamental skills have paid off.

She's also playing in a church league and she's much more advanced skills wise than most of the girls in that league. If you've never been exposed to organized ball (besides school teams) there are a couple different flavors of organized ball.

Church/Rec leagues: these are leagues that cities, gyms, and churches organize. The YMCA and YWCA often have leagues during the winter. Perhaps the most well known church league is Upward Bound

The level of competition and organization depend on the group organizing. Call around to see which league has the most teams. This is a good indication of how well the program is run. My daughter plays in a Upward league that has had as many as 8 teams in the girls division IN HER AGE GROUP alone. I've talked to other player parents that their entire program, both boys and girls in all age groups, had 8 teams.

At the club level, usually consisting of traveling teams, is the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). USSSA originally was a softball league but opened up to other sports in 1997. AAU is much older closely linked to Junior Olympics and colleges. Both have the same overall goals and in our local area, the team participate in each other tournaments. AAU is the more recognized "brand" but joining an AAU program won't get you closer to a scholarship than if you played for a USSSA team.

The level competition and quality of the program vary from club to club. I've seen some club teams that are nationally recognized and others that would have a hard team against some of the Upward teams my daughter has been a part of. With the top level clubs, there seem to be 2 sets of different goals: Some run their teams to win games and tournaments. Others seek to develop individual players and worry less about winning (with the belief winning will come with more fundamentally sound players). You have to do your research. Does the
club boast of team accomplishments or of their players who have made it to the college and pro level?

There's other club level organizations like
  • USJN - United States Junior Nationals
  • PTS - Prime Time Sports
  • YBOA - Youth Basketball Organization of America
  • GBA - Girls Basketball Association
  • MAYB - Mid America Youth Basketball
  • USBA - United States Baskeball Assoc

Which is more popular depends on your geographic region. 

Then you have your middle school and high school programs.

Anyway, my daughter plays AAU most of the year but also plays in an Upward league. Playing upward is very fun for parents and players. It's design to give a "big league" feel but trying every player to get equal playing time. My daughter has dominated her league this year and it's boosted her confidence. We've also been working a lot of her fundamentals. She's taken her game to higher level and is turning a lot of heads.

The coaches and players that would pay her no regard before, are now becoming her good friends and mentors. While I'm pleased she is being accepted, it's frustrating to see her deal with finding a new group of friends and seeing her old friends look at her differently because they are still warming the bench. She still chooses to pair up with her buddies during drills but it's becoming clearer that she passing up some girls that used to be better than her.

I guess you could liken it to a kid suddenly becoming popular in school and having their old friends get mad at the kid for it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

add to the scammer, maimer, and rip off list

-Bait and switch
-Will steal your money
-Will steal your identity
-Will maim you or your player
-Owned by Luke Lowrey

Stay away from them.

Rip Off: Luke Lowery and

Stay away from . Nothing but a bait-and-switch site lead by known confidence scammer Luke Lowery. The man has no interest in legitimate business and improving athletes. He just wants money. His methods are dangerous and will maim you. His research and advice is like that of someone who has never played sports before. His web site in intentionally confusing and poorly assembled so you can't find all the fine print.

Do a web search about his products and include "rip off" in the search parameters. Do an online search at the Better Business Bureau. The truth will be revealed.

I've heard rumors from insiders they keep a tally of how many people they hurt and rip off and wear it like a badge of honor.

Save you money and protect your identity. Stick to reputable folks like Gannon Baker. Or even just use youtube.