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A Guide to AAU Baseball

Baseball is known as America’s favorite pastime and the AAU provides an excellent opportunity for young athletes to play more games and further hone their skills Whether you’re a student-athlete, parent or guardian interested in learning more, we’ve got everything you need to know about AAU baseball covered below. 

What is AAU baseball?

AAU baseball is one of the many sports the American Athletic Union offers. Having sponsored baseball teams and tournaments throughout the country for many years, the AAU gives athletes a chance to play baseball outside of school with pre-established clubs as well as the ability to form their own AAU-sponsored baseball teams.   

Coaches are provided free courses about how to teach athletes to cope with winning and losing, developing team culture and more through the AAU’s partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance. In tandem with the AAU’s mission, it’s focus is to empower AAU players to develop physically, mentally, and morally while engaging in good sportsmanship and citizenship on and off the field. 

The AAU sponsors 41 sports in all, plays in 55 districts, and has been involved with sports since 1888. It had even been intimately involved with the Olympics until a change in how American athletes are chosen for the Games took place in the 1970s, and the AAU turned its focus to youth sports. Today, it is comprised of 700,000 members as well as 150,000 volunteers, many of whom work with baseball, which has been a part of this organization since 1983. 

The structure of AAU baseball is generally broken down within those districts into sublevels, such as one in which elite AAU teams participate, one that is more intermediate in nature, and one for those whose baseball memberships just started are not as experienced in the sport. 

Is travel baseball the same as AAU baseball?

Some might call AAU baseball ‘travel baseball’ if their team travels to play. The beauty of AAU baseball is that depending on the team and district, you could travel to play if you’d like, or you can play at games and tournaments closer to home.  

What does it take to play AAU baseball?

You need to be of the appropriate age for the team and competition you’re playing in, and AAU rules require that you supply proof of your age. Additionally, AAU rules stipulate that you live in the right geographical area for the team that you’re playing for. 

Your athletic ability doesn’t matter because there are teams of all skill-levels. Although if you want to be amongst those offered baseball scholarships for college, you should aim for the highest level possible to play against the top competition. Doing so can impress college coaches who may become interested in you while also making time to develop your baseball skills further. To know if you can beat the best, you must first play against the best.  

AAU baseball club levels

IMG baseball player

AAU baseball clubs can join the organization and become a member in one of three AAU membership levels. 

Those at AAU club level 1 receive the minimum benefits of being able to participate in AAU tournaments and other events. The primary bonus for those at AAU club level 2 is acquiring the ability to host events. Clubs can upgrade from AAU club level 1 to AAU club level 2 if they wish. 

Meanwhile, those at AAU club level 3 receive all those benefits and the ability to receive tax-exempt benefits if eligible by local laws. Unfortunately, it is not possible to upgrade to an AAU club level 3. A club must purchase that membership separately if it wishes to move to that level without delay. 

You might have seen these AAU club membership terms when you searched “Are there AAU baseball teams near me?”.  

The good thing is that membership levels correlate with something other than skill. The capabilities of players at each AAU club membership level are varied. You may see level 3 clubs with players that have beginner skill sets. Or you may see clubs with level 1 memberships that have advanced players.  

If you want to know how to start an AAU baseball club, that is the first step, deciding on a membership level and paying for it. 

AAU baseball membership

Players must engage in a sign-up before playing for a team. When completing the AAU membership process, you’ll be initially presented with two membership options. The only difference between the two AAU sign-up options is that the one that costs $14 a year includes insurance coverage for play at any AAU licensed events. At the same time, the $16 AAU membership option also provides insurance coverage under certain circumstances at non-AAU events. Once you complete your AAU sign-up, you’ll be a member and eligible for AAU teams through August 31. 

What is the oldest age for AAU baseball?

The oldest age a person can participate in AAU baseball is 20. They fall into the 20 and under group. If you’re unsure which group you or your child can play in, this handy tool will help you figure it out.  

How much does AAU baseball cost?

There are several costs associated with AAU baseball: individual costs for the participating athlete and costs for the club. For athletes, it costs $14-$16 per season. Not all teams charge to try out, but teams that do typically charge $50. 

The cost of hosting an event depends on the level and program. If you want to host a level 1 male or female youth club event, the costs are $30. Level 2 events of the same program are $60, and level 3 events are $300. Adult events for levels 1-3 are $50, $80, and $320, respectively.  

Tournaments vary by many factors, like location. They can cost anywhere from $250-$1,250. Do note there are AAU baseball rules that must be followed to legally participate in these national tournaments. 

How to make an AAU baseball team

Here are the steps to make an AAU baseball team.  

1. Apply for AAU membership if you haven’t done so. Make sure to have your member number handy.  
2. Go to the AAU Club Locator website.  
3. Select the sport you or your child wants to play and put in your zip code and other local information. 
4. After hitting enter, you’ll see a list of clubs starting with the closest club.  
5. Once you’ve found a club you’d like to contact, click the “Contact Club” link. 
6. Enter your AAU member number. 

It’s essential that you meet with as many teams or clubs as you can to ensure that it’s the right fit and skill level. Consider things like coaching styles and team culture when making your decision. You don’t want to sign up thinking you’ve found a good match only to find out it’s a poor fit. But the main reason to check out many clubs and teams is that you want this to be a good experience, even if all you’re looking for is a little fun.  

AAU baseball partners

The AAU partners with several organizations, and they provide benefits that are enjoyed by all who are involved with AAU Baseball. For example, AAU members enjoy discounts on Blast Motion products, while ESPN Wide World of Sports is home to several AAU events and AAU competitions in other sports. 

AAU baseball schedules, rankings and teams stats

Where to find information such as AAU schedules, rankings and stats depends on which district is yours, but that organization’s website should be the first place to look. For example, New England AAU Baseball provides a team tracker where you can search for league and tournament results. Click on the team names to discover more information about them, such as lists of tournaments that those AAU teams have played in, the results of those games, and who the teams’ coaches and players are. District pages for AAU baseball organizations in Florida and North Carolina also list team rankings. 

So you can browse a list of AAU baseball tournaments as well as a list of the AAU nationals. Of the AAU tournaments played nationwide, the National Championship, which generally takes place in July, is the most prestigious for older players, while the Grand National Championships is the feature event for younger players. 

AAU baseball tryouts

If you’re searching for AAU teams looking for players, head to the AAU website to see if any AAU baseball tryouts are taking place in your area. Consider that there might be a cost. If so, it’s often around $50. 

Depending on the AAU team being tried out for, there might be a minimum number of tryout sessions that need to be attended. This is usually one or two, while players can participate in more if they wish to. While there, you’ll be tested on your ability to perform baseball-related actions such as catching, throwing, and hitting as well as how you handle yourself while on and off the field. 

Note that you can also join the free-agent player list, which is viewable by all AAU coaches. These coaches can contact you if they need a player for their team. This can be helpful if you’re looking to participate in AAU tournaments and even AAU nationals but missed the tryout dates.   

How competitive is AAU baseball?

AAU baseball competition level depends on the club and team you join. If you’re looking to play with the best athletes at your skill level and age, you can try out for a more competitive team. If you’re just looking to have fun, you can find other teams that play at the level that’s most comfortable for you. 

AAU baseball districts, AAU baseball tournaments and ‘AAU baseball teams near me’

One of the most common questions student-athletes have is, “Are there AAU baseball teams near me?” The AAU is broken into many districts. These are primarily based on state boundaries but not always. For example, Florida and Kansas are each split into two regions, while Alabama and Tennessee join to make up one. Look at the district map to see where AAU baseball teams are near you. As a result of joining one, you’ll be able to start becoming a better player and teammate while facing competition that fits the ability levels of you and your team. 

Map of AAU baseball districts
State / Region AAU Baseball District # 
Alaska 56 
Arizona 48 
Arkansas 23 
Central California 46 
Central 21 
Colorado 32 
Florida Gold Coast 50 
Florida 14 
Georgia 45 
Gulf-Texas 25 
Hawaii 39 
Indiana 16 
Inland Empire 35 
Iowa 40 
Kentucky 41 
Lake Erie 18 
Michigan 19 
Middle Atlantic 
Minnesota 30 
Missouri Valley 28 
Montana 31 
Nebraska 29 
New England 
New Jersey 
New Mexico 42 
New York Metropolitan 
North Carolina 13 
North Dakota 52 
Ohio 17 
Oklahoma 27 
Oregon 37 
Ozark 22 
Pacific Northwest 36 
Pacific Southwest 44 
Pacific 38 
Potomac Valley 10 
Puerto Rico 61 
South Carolina 55 
South Dakota 54 
South Texas 43 
Southeastern 15 
Southern Nevada 49 
Southern Pacific 33 
Southern 24 
Southwestern-Texas 26 
Utah 34 
Virginia 12 
West Texas 47 
West Virginia 51 
Western Pennsylvania 11 
Wisconsin 20 
Wyoming 58 

Once on a squad, you’ll most likely play in several AAU baseball tournaments. The tournament fees vary by geographical and other factors, but they range from roughly $250 to $1,250 apiece. Some of the most popular AAU regions are AAU baseball in North Carolina (NC), AAU baseball in Massachusetts (MA), and Southern California AAU baseball (SoCal). 

AAU baseball North Carolina NC is ranked amongst the top three districts in the country, and AAU baseball North Carolina NC teams are spread across the Tar Heel State.  

Meanwhile, AAU baseball in Massachusetts, MA, is part of the New England District, which comprises more than 400 AAU baseball teams and is also home to organizations based in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  

Lastly, the Southern California AAU baseball SoCal District is among the country’s best as it ranks among the top five AAU districts. 

College baseball recruiting

One factor that AAU baseball playing experience helps with is earning college scholarships and attaining spots on college baseball rosters. Coaches want to see that you’re challenging yourself against the best competition possible, and time spent on AAU teams helps to show that.  

Challenging yourself is essential, as there’s quite a high competition for those roster spots. Only 2 percent of high school baseball players will end up on NCAA Division I rosters. While the competition for scholarships is even higher as each of those schools is only allowed 11.7 scholarships even though teams comprise many more players than that. 

Taking care of the steps you can take to get recruited is necessary. It’s best to start your freshman year of high school. If that’s in the past, jump into the process immediately. Also, note that your best fit might not be at a Division I school, as the best package for you could be at any level of college baseball

Also, consider the college baseball recruiting guidelines, as these will give you an idea of what experience and skills are necessary to play at the different levels of this sport. It also helps to get your name and ability out there through baseball camps, showcases, and recruiting videos

Moreover, consider the recruiting rules calendar to know when the coaches can contact you and related rules that need to be followed. However, don’t feel hampered by them, as you can get coaches anytime; the limits are more on their end than yours. 

Overview of NCSA

As you play baseball with AAU and go through this process, consider enlisting the help of NCSA, which has helped 24,000 student-athletes commit to a university for sports over the past 12 months, connects those athletes with 40,000 coaches and helps them reach out to and have positive interactions with the rest. 

If you want to join the list of NCSA athletes who have earned spots on college baseball rosters, fill out your  free baseball recruiting profile today. NCSA, the world’s largest college athletic recruiting network, can help you achieve your dream of playing college baseball.