Is AAU Basketball Good or Bad?

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Basketball is such a dynamic sport with many avenues to pursue. Several leagues are available no matter your athletic level, whether it be professional, collegiate, or amateur. Talking about amateur basketball, is AAU basketball good or bad?

The answer is subjective because not everyone is at the same basketball level–it all depends on your skills and athleticism. Therefore, it is way behind if you are already a professional player.

However, like other tournaments, the AAU league has advantages and disadvantages. If you want to know why AAU basketball is bad and everything under the horizon, read until the end.

What Does it Mean to Play for AAU BasketballWhat Does it Mean to Play for AAU Basketball?

From its name itself, the Amateur Athletic Union is a sports organization that offers amateur athletic events and tournaments to athletic youth. Playing for AAU basketball means you are expected to participate in competitions made for amateur players like you.

While at it, check out the frequently asked questions below to answer all your confusion about the AAU program.

When was AAU established?

AAU is the largest non-profit and volunteer-supported sporting organization in the United States. The organization was formed in 1988, implying that the athletic organization has been training champions for over 100 years.

In fact, AAU was actively participating in international sports during its early stages by representing the United States in federations. It even made essential participation in Olympic movements, which prepared athletes for the Olympic games at that time. 

However, beginning in the 1970s, they began to refocus and enhance athletic principles.

What is the AAU motto?

Despite its location in the United States, it caters to sports enthusiasts and aspirants from all over the world under its motto, “Sports For All, Forever.” Thus, the organization holistically accepts applicants from all sports backgrounds and all areas of life (including basketball).

Through amateur sports tournaments, the organization has provided 41 programs in 55 US districts. It aims to cultivate athleticism and promote physical fitness in youth, transforming them into meaningful members of society.

What age to start AAU basketball?

True to its motto, “Sports For All, Forever,” AAU embodies inclusivity by providing basketball opportunities to girls and boys amateur players. However, they follow different age brackets and standards.

For male amateur players, anyone can start competing in AAU basketball games from the seven and under age bracket until Grade 12 or the 19 and under age group.

For female amateur players, anyone can start competing in AAU basketball games from second grade until twelfth grade or the 19 and under age group.

When is AAU basketball season? How long is the AAU basketball season?

AAU basketball season starts around February and up to July. It means the season starts right exactly after the high school basketball season concludes. The good thing is it offers off-season tournaments throughout the year.

AAU is better than other amateur basketball tournaments because they provide national championships for every age bracket. Providing equal opportunity to everyone is an excellent way to hone your skills from zero to hero.

The Pros and Cons of AAU BasketballThe Pros and Cons of AAU Basketball

It would be best if you remembered that there is no perfect basketball league. The AAU has pros and cons like any other athletic tournament, whether for professionals, college, or amateur players. Still, you can always gain experience from joining.

Does playing AAU basketball really help? Yes, of course. It helps you improve your basketball skills through national championship tournaments. Now that you are stoked, check out why you should and should not join AAU.

Why Should You Join?

If you want a sign to join AAU, this is the sign. It would be best if you competed in AAU because it provides many advantages you can use for your future basketball career.

Check out the bulleted list below to understand why you should join AAU.

  • It provides competitive basketball opportunities.

If you think AAU is for beginners, then you are wrong. The organization opens doors of opportunities for national championships. Hence, there are a lot of skilled basketball amateurs who prefer to join AAU instead of local tournaments.

Since you compete against advanced players for your age, you will be encouraged to train harder. Plus, it allows you to learn from other excellent players and coaches.

  • AAU offers scholarship opportunities.

Since AAU is nationally acknowledged, there are a lot of collegiate teams who are scouting talents from the league. It gives you a chance to prove your athletic prowess in various tournaments and get a chance to be discovered by coaches.

  • It provides diverse avenues.

Unlike playing in a high school team, you will be confined to a single team with the same roster as your varsity. However, AAU allows you to team up with ace players from different schools and states. Hence, you will learn more techniques and participate in better national competitions.

Why You Shouldn’t Join?

Admittedly, AAU is not perfect. It would be best to watch out for red flags when competing in the league. Check out the points below to see why you shouldn’t join AAU.

  • AAU is results-centered.

Some coaches in the league are strict when it comes to winning. Therefore, winning in AAU games is more important than skills development and fundamental improvements.

  • It has a poor coaching staff.

You will witness the disparity of coaching experience among the staff when you join AAU tournaments. Some coaches are brilliant. Meanwhile, others need to catch up. The organization is volunteer-driven, so you cannot expect to have every coach expert at managing a team.

  • It has little-to-no practice sessions but a lot of competitions.

Most AAU programs do not have a lot of training sessions, which is terrible for those who want to improve their basketball fundamentals. On top of it, each program has many tournament opportunities. Knowing that most players lack training within the program could have detrimental effects.

Is AAU Basketball Worth ItIs AAU Basketball Worth It?

AAU basketball is worth it for some, but it may be a bad idea for others. The good thing about AAU is that it provides you with many basketball tournament opportunities. Hence, you can compete against top-tier players from across the United States.

However, it is not a good idea for players who love attending training sessions. AAU programs have few practice games compared to other leagues, so it is not suitable for those who want to improve fundamental skills.

Is AAU basketball hard? Yes, because you will join excellent players to compete in national events. AAU is a perfect avenue for amateur players who wish to gain experience by joining national competitions. In that sense, it is worth it.

Should You Play for AAU BasketballShould You Play for AAU Basketball?

If you wish to join a basketball program offering a national-level standard, you should join AAU basketball. It is a perfect avenue because you will join a team with excellent players from different schools and states.

Understandably, AAU has weak points because it is just natural, like any other organization or league. You can only accept AAU if you want to become a national athlete.

Playing AAU tournaments opens doors of opportunities for you to become nationally recognized. Plus, there are collegiate teams who are scouting talents from the AAU tournaments. Hence, it does more good than harm at the end of the day.

Wrapping Things Up: Is AAU Basketball Good or Bad?

All the pros and cons stated above lead back to the question: is AAU basketball good or bad? The answer is it depends on your purpose and skill level. If you want to play for professional events, there are other options than AAU.

Nonetheless, AAU is an ideal field for amateur players who want to expand their network of people and learn from ace players. If you want to know more about their application process and eligibility, visit their official website.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here


Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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