Spring 2020 Development Academy
In the Spring of 2020 we will be offering a new program for players currently in 3rd-8th grade that can act as an alternative or a supplement to AAU. The program will be separated into two groups (3rd-5th and 6th-8th) and feature a unique blend of athletic performance, film study, individual skill development, and 3 v 3 play. There will be approximately 12-16 sessions beginning in early April and concluding in early June. The number of players per grade level will be capped to ensure maximal development. Dates, times and locations are all in the midst of being finalized. Registration will be available this winter.
To shed some light on where this idea comes from, I have coached competitive high school AAU for the past six years. In that time, I’ve seen some incredible growth in young athletes on and off the court. Dreams and goals of all magnitudes have become realized- doors that may not have been opened w/out AAU were opened. I am not anti-AAU or here to tell you that nothing good has ever come from it- that would be irresponsible and hypocritical of me. I do, however, see trends most specifically at the younger levels that are alarming.
Some athletes are giving up other sports at young ages not because they want to, but because they have to for scheduling purposes. Families spend every spring and summer weekend in the gym. There are more tournaments than ever, which leads to referee shortages and many doing several games a day on consecutive weekends- this leads to a significant decrease in the quality of individual games and entire events. From a parental perspective, travel and admission fees alone over the course of a season are rent or mortgage payments for many people. By the way, as a “thank you” for your admission fee, you also have to do the clock or scorebook at the tournament as well.
From a basketball development standpoint, players play six games over the course of a weekend, but often times see limited minutes or touches due to the “win at all costs mentality” that has taken over youth sport. Not to mention being in the gym eating concession stand or fast food for the entire weekend doesn’t allow them ample opportunity to recover or improve their bodies. Practices are typically focused on reviewing plays for the upcoming tournament with little to no time on developing skills, learning how to play or moving your body more efficiently.
All this added together is the reason why we are offering a different opportunity for youth players in the Milwaukee area. Even if this opportunity isn’t right for you, keep challenging conventional wisdom and don’t be led to believe that your child “has to” play 60 games and travel all over the country to improve next spring.