What is aau basketball? You might know about the AAU if you or someone you know plays sports. It’s one of the best places to compete against the top athletes in your state outside of school.
But if you’re first discovering the AAU, you might have questions like what does AAU mean? And what is it other than a way to play sports?
Below is a rundown of everything there is to know about the AAU.
WHAT IS AAU?
AAU stands for the Amateur Athletic Union. It’s a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that offers kids and teens a way to compete against the best athletes across 41 sports programs.
The AAU has almost 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers in 55 U.S. Districts. Their motto is “Sports For All, Forever” because they believe everyone should have the option to play sports and be physically fit. Their mission is to offer sports programs for people of all ages so anyone can learn good sportsmanship.
In fact, the AAU and the National Fitness Foundation (NFF) announced a historic collaboration in 2019 to support and expand youth sports and athletics participation in the United States.
The AAU now manages the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), which aims to modernize fitness education in physical education classes by emphasizing student health, goal setting, and personal progress. The AAU is the only organization in the country that manages youth sports and fitness programs in and out of school.
Today, the Amateur Athletic Union hosts the AAU Junior Olympic Games, one of the country’s most significant multi-sport events. They also host the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships. This volleyball event is the largest in the world, with more than 2,700 teams competing yearly.
WHAT IS THE AAU AGE LIMIT?
The age limit depends on the group/division you want to play in. It may also depend on the sport. Athletes wishing to play boys’ basketball in the seven and under group can’t be any older than seven on August 31, 2023. For athletes playing in the 20 and under group, they can’t be any older than 20 on August 31, 2023.
HOW DOES THE AAU PICK COACHES?
The AAU has partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance since 2010 to provide all coaches with the proper education. All AAU coaches must pass a background check and take mandatory coaching classes. These classes are:
LEVEL 1: Double-Goal Coach I: Coaching for Winning and Life Lessons
LEVEL 2: Double-Goal Coach II: Culture, Practices, and Games
LEVEL 3: Double-Goal Coach III: Developing Triple-Impact Competitors
You must check out prospective coaches before joining a team or allowing your child to join a team. Getting to know coaches before play can give you a sense of their coaching style and whether the team will be a good fit.
WHO CAN HOST AAU EVENTS?
To host an AAU event, you need to get written approval. This is also called a sanction. To obtain written permission, you must fill out the AAU Sanction Application Form and pay all fees. You also must check that all participating athletes are AAU members.
History of the AAU
The AAU was founded in 1888 as an organization in the New York Athletic Club. Since 1930, they’ve given the AAU James E. Sullivan Award to America’s top amateur athletes, setting the standard for amateur sports.
As a leader in international sports, they have often represented the U.S. in international sports federations. Initially, they prepped young athletes for the Olympics. In the 1970s, it transitioned to providing sports programs for all athletes of all ages and fitness levels. But its storied past doesn’t stop there.
In 1996, the AAU joined up with Walt Disney World and relocated their national headquarters to Orlando, Florida, moving into the ESPN World of Sports Complex. Now, 60+ AAU national events are held annually at the ESPN complex; which the AAU shares with the Atlanta Braves.
FIND AN AAU TEAM NEAR YOU
The NSCA has been a pioneer of sports recruiting since 2000 and has all the information you need to find the right AAU team, whether it is basketball, baseball or volleyball. It has helped more than 150,000 athletes play college sports in the United States of America. With our always-growing network of 40,000 coaches, your athlete will surely get noticed. Start your free NCSA profile online.
When can should players start playing AAU?
Leagues and teams are available as early as kindergarten. When you consider youth leagues, the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other organizations, there will usually be opportunities to play. Click here to read about the debate between club and school ball.
While the first question is usually when can a player start playing with a team the more important question is when should a player start playing with a team? They should also ask what type of team should they play on. The age and type of team depend on the player’s goals, aspirations, and where they are in their playing career.
Here is what we suggest as a guideline.
Why are they playing?
We list this one first because it is the most important. The most successful players play because they love the game. That love keeps them motivated through tough times. Their love for the game is established because when they started playing they had fun. Over time that love may turn from fun to work.
In the beginning, basketball should be about having fun and developing a love for the game. As the player develops that fun will evolve into a love for working hard and developing as a player.
How are their abilities?
This is where you start looking at things like skill level and athletic ability. Some of this will naturally get better over time as the player grows and matures. Skills and basketball knowledge will only develop through hard work and practice.
Players should start by learning the fundamentals so that there is a solid foundation to build on. When the fundamentals are established and understood, more advanced skills and concepts can be taught and learned.
What level are they competing at?
Basketball is a team sport so players will need to play on a team at some point. This means competition will now be a factor.
In the beginning, we suggest almost no competition until fundamental skills are taught and understood. If competition is introduced too early then players lose focus on developing fundamentals and it may affect the level of fun they are having.
However, when skills are learned and the player is having fun, competition is a good thing. It puts those skills into action and can give players a sense of accomplishment.
As players mature and get older, the level of competition will continue to rise. At the highest level, the competition is against the most elite players in the world.
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