High School vs. AAU

All of these coaches make good points. It's so hard and so much pressure on these kids though. I feel bad for the high school coaches however it sometimes feels as if the AAU Club coaches go make the extra effort to get to "know" their players. By get to know I mean, read their faces, their emotions, know what moves them and what drives them to win and get the most out of each one. Because these coaches are squished into a passenger van or SUV with their players on road trips, staying in a cheap hotel and eating at McDonalds with them they get to KNOW their players. That is why at the end of this segment you heard the player say that his club coach is the one he picks to help him out with his future.

Now that my boys are in high school I see the difference between high school coaches and club coaches. I have the additional experience of having their coach also be their father which brings another link into the picture. Coach Dad knows EVERY ONE of the players on his team. He knows how to tell if "Jimmy" is tired, if "John" can give more. He knows that "Bobby" is having a hard time at home lately, that Shawn needs to hear some encouragement to get him going and that the ball should always be in "Paul's" hand at the end of the game because he's going to make that shot or draw the foul. He knows how to call a time out and look his team in the face and say "dig dammit or I'm calling the season and I'm done with with crap". He wants it as much as they want it.

High School coaches often simply just don't have enough invested in their players. They haven't paid for the player who's parents couldn't afford it. They haven't fed 5of the kids in the SUV with them. They haven't picked up 4 of the kids for practice or talked with them 30 minutes after practice while waiting for their parents to get there. They haven't listened to the conversations going on in the back seat. They haven't had an event outside of basketball to watch the kids personalities. Something as small as sitting by the hotel pool while the boys swim and watching how they interact with each other makes a world of difference. Instead, they get the kid often after he's left the house at 7:00am, done a long day at school, had a bag of chips and soda before practice, flunked his math test and doesn't really feel like running lines because his teammate missed his freethrows. The coach has to play "everybody" on the team. He doesn't understand why Seth feels his minutes are being wasted on the "scrub" behind him who is getting minutes because he comes to practice everyday and who just got beat by his man the last three trips up the court. Lastly, the club kid is unconfident in his coach because not only is he usually a highschool teacher who doesn't get on their level but he's given the kids no reason to believe they can relate to him. Highschool coaches tend to do two things. They either feel the AAU player has a big head already so they do not reward them when they do well or kiss their butt so much that the kid doesn't respect him. You'd be amazed just how far "nice pass or good job buddy" go. These remarks can't just be for the bench players. Let's be honest though. Highschool teachers HAVE to be held to a certain standard though. They more often have to deal with the student-athlete. A club coach is in a position to be a little more personal with the player's family. You actually pay your money to this coach to get the best. Can a highschool coach really grab your kid up by the neck and say "get your ass out there and ball". Not really...a club coach can do it and have a replacement for your kid by next week should he decide not to oblige.

On another coach there is the highschool coach who wants to prove so much that the player ain't sh**, that it becomes a personal vendetta to break the kid down to show them and everyone else who will pay attention that "he ain't sh**", instead of doing what an AAU coach tends to do which is say "get out there and get in his chest and lock your man down, I know you can do it". I believe that we all know a "bad" club coach when we see one. It's reflected in his players. As an observer of both sides I've been to a million AAU tournaments and highschool games. This is an on-going battle that will continue for years. As a parent I can only hope that both my sons' AAU coach and highschool coach has the best interest in my son. To make him better, be a role model to him and use his love of the game to help him along the road of being a successful man. This does not mean that basketball will be his life but when he looks back on these years in high school I want him to enjoy these years, make lifelong friends and know that the time has not been wasted but made him grow as good human being. Vince Lombardi said "Winning isn't the everything, it's the only thing" however I hope he meant in the game of life. It's the most important part.

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