Overview: AAU basketball groups are independent Clubs and Organizations that form teams and participate in various tournaments throughout the year under the AAU umbrella organization. Important differences exist between AAU teams and School or Travel team leagues:
Season: The AAU season is largely dormant during the typical basketball season of November through February as most of the AAU players are playing on school, recreation, or travel programs. Most AAU teams are very active between March through June, with some programs also playing through the summer and fall.
Games: Most games are played in tournaments (some AAU sanctioned, some not) that take place on weekends (two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday is a common format). Some teams play only locally, while others travel around. Some teams stay overnight in hotels for tournaments when the commute is long, and elite teams at older levels might even fly to a tournament or two.
Average Cost and time: There’s a significant money and time commitment to participating in AAU. Costs vary but can range from $600 to $1500 or more per year—not counting travel, meals, and hotels. As for time involvement, this is also variable, but many AAU teams practice one to two nights per week and play 2-3 weekend tournaments per month.
Your Child: Your child will likely improve. Youth sports have changed and become more competitive. Growing up, many of us played a new sport each season. While some parents still prefer this approach, many of the best basketball players now play year-round and participate in AAU. As a child grows older and competition increases, the ability to make teams becomes tougher. Your child will experience a more focused program. While AAU can seem intense, there are important life lessons in focus and commitment. We live in a competitive world, and we want our children to be dedicated and to strive for excellence. Because of the required commitment, a well-run AAU team will give your child a deeper, richer sports experience than most recreation or travel league teams. You can find outstanding coaches and resources that match the best that top high schools offer.
The vast majority of kids, including those on AAU teams, do not play in college. Making a certain AAU team guarantees nothing. No AAU program will be able to guarantee your child will be exposed to any college program.
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