AAU Girls Basketball: How it All Works
AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union, which is a non-profit volunteer organization that has clubs spread across the United States. AAU girls basketball is one of the 41 sports that are under its umbrella. AAU girls basketball is one of its most popular sports as numerous players in age groups that range from second grade to 12th grade learn skills that they can take back to their high school teams and, for many of them, to college ball. So, the answer to the question, "What age can you start AAU basketball?" is that it depends on the grade in school that you are in.
However, that's not all as those who do an AAU sign up also get to experience all of the benefits of AAU's mission statement, which answers the question, "What does AAU stand for in basketball?" This states that AAU girls basketball participants should receive the opportunity to experience physical, mental and moral development and be taught good sportsmanship and citizenship. Of course, the sport itself is crucial to those participating in AAU girls basketball tournaments, but so are these other values.
Thousands of AAU girls basketball teams are spread across 56 districts, which frequently have the same borders as states do, but several exceptions exist too. For example, Alabama and Tennessee comprise the Southeastern district, Utah's district includes northeastern Nevada, and Texas is divided into five separate districts, one of which also consists of all of New Mexico.
One of the most significant positives of taking part in AAU girls basketball is the ability to find teams and competitions that provide challenging environments with quality learning opportunities but not so challenging that they're overwhelming. In other words, you are good enough for an AAU sign up and to take part in AAU girls basketball tryouts regardless of your skills; what needs to be determined is finding the best fit for you and for the team(s) that you're trying out for.
Competitiveness in girls AAU basketball
In many areas of youth sport, the focus is more on making everybody happy and giving all of the players a trophy, but AAU girls basketball tends not to have that focus as it also offers a more competitive atmosphere relative to the ages and skill levels of those participating. You must earn playing time and teams need to win trophies; securing the mindset to push through adversity and accomplish both of those goals is also what you need to do to get on to a college roster and succeed there. Additionally, even if college ball is not in your future, having this mindset when competing with others for jobs, promotions and other aspects of life will serve you well.
A significant plus for those looking to be recruited by college teams is that college coaches often see the most competitive AAU girls basketball games for those of high school age, sometimes multiple ones simultaneously. This type of exposure helps improve the odds of being offered a scholarship by one or more of those coaches.
Note that other than in sporadic cases, college coaches will have no interest in players who are younger than high school age, primarily because the basketball recruiting timeline has, for the most part, not started yet. This timeline generally commences the freshman year of high school, and it does not begin in earnest until the junior year.
AAU boys basketball and differences in age categories
Not only is AAU girls basketball competitive, but so is AAU boys basketball as the same mission statement and competitive nature do apply to both sides of this sport as well as, for that matter, all of the games that AAU oversees.
What are the differences between AAU boys basketball and AAU girls basketball? The main one is that the divisions in AAU boys basketball can also be based on ages – 7 & Under, 8 & Under, etc. – as well as on grade levels as is solely the case for AAU girls basketball. Otherwise, there are more similarities than differences between how boys and girls basketball are run by AAU.
AAU club level 1, AAU club level 2 and AAU club level 3
The differences between AAU club level 1, AAU club level 2 and AAU club level 3 are more based on how the club is organized than it is on the skill level of the girls AAU basketball players taking part in that club. For example, those who have an AAU club membership at club level 1 are not allowed to host any events while those clubs that want to host competitions need to be at club level 2. Meanwhile, those that can receive tax-exempt status and related benefits such as receiving funds from corporate donors via a 501(c)3 need a club membership at level 3.
Upgrades from level 1 to level 2 are allowed, but upgrades to level 3 are not; a new AAU club membership is required in those cases.
AAU girls basketball information
If you're looking for information such as AAU girls basketball tournaments, AAU girls basketball rankings, AAU girls basketball schedules, AAU girls basketball teams and AAU girls basketball camps, the best thing that you can do is look up the website for your local AAU organization. For example, AAU Florida offers an event look-up page on its website. Some of these local organizations have also, from time to time, posted AAU girls basketball rankings of teams located within that area.
Events are taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., which is where AAU is headquartered, may be viewed on the AAU website.
When is the AAU girls basketball season?
Since high school basketball is the focus for so many AAU girls basketball players, the AAU girls basketball season tends to take place immediately afterward. It focuses on the months of March-June. However, girls AAU basketball competitions do also occur at other times of the year, including during the high school basketball season.
Note that AAU girls basketball often involves a considerable amount of travel, which usually requires a bit of time as well as financial expenses. One of the significant events that draws AAU girls basketball teams from throughout the country is the AAU Junior Olympic Games, which take place every year around Aug. 1. AAU girls basketball nationals at various grade levels tend to occur in and around July.
The major AAU girls’ basketball competitions are the district qualifying tournaments, super-regional tournaments, and national championships. Although these tend to last three days, AAU girls basketball nationals can go a maximum of five. At that event, the first two days are comprised of pool play before at least the top two teams in each pool advance to the national championship tournament bracket.
Quarter lengths at the national AAU girls basketball championships and, in most cases, other competitions too are 16 minutes for those in seventh grade and up with them lasting 12-14 minutes for those in younger age groups. Thirty-second shot clocks are used at the national championship tournaments for those in eighth grade and up.
How to join AAU
How do you join an AAU basketball team? The first step is to do an AAU sign up and pay the annual participation fee of $14. This provides access to AAU clubs and events from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 of the following year. Multi-year membership payments can also be paid with two years costing $28 and so on. You will also need to locate AAU girls basketball teams looking for players that fit your geographical and skill needs. At that point, you may be asked to take part in AAU girls basketball tryouts.
Note that you must be a current member of AAU to participate in any AAU-licensed events and that you need to be part of a team that has registered for that event.
AAU girls basketball camps
AAU girls basketball camps provide tremendous opportunities to learn skill development, be individually rated and evaluated and gain a significant amount of exposure to college coaches who are deciding who to offer scholarships and spots on their teams to. These take place at locations throughout the country. In 2018, some of the more prestigious ones were held in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia. The cost of a camp fee is $130.
AAU has had a storied history, which dates to 1888. It was founded on Jan. 21 of that year at the New York Athletic Club and has overseen various sports programs since then. It was the primary governing body for sports such as track and field at times, developing athletes for the Olympics. However, since the Olympic Sports Act of 1978 passed, it has transitioned its focus to young athletes, primarily high school age and younger, and helping them improve their skills on and off the court and other playing surfaces.
AAU girls basketball has been a part of the organization since 1923 while the first AAU-held basketball tournament for female athletes held in 1926.
Impact on college basketball
Between the skills learned from playing AAU girls basketball, especially considering how many games they play in a short time at AAU girls basketball tournaments. The exposure to college coaches attained from participating in these competitions; it's easy to see just how much impact AAU performances have on a player's likelihood of earning a basketball scholarship.
Of course, don't place too much emphasis on exposure. You need to ensure that you have the skill set and the mindset to be a top player as, if you don't, you will not be of interest to college coaches, and any exposure that you do receive will be wasted.
The impact of NCSA
NCSA (Next College Student Athlete) has helped an impressive majority of the athletes and their parents who have used its services, and, as a result, has earned an average Google Reviews rating of 4.9 out of 5 with more than 2,000 reviews posted. This partly due to its focus on helping high school athletes navigate the oftentimes-confusing recruiting process. The company is founded on that principle. Chris Krause played football in the 1980s and had a difficult time going through this experience and later decided that he would help others following him not need to experience those difficulties as well.
Not only does NCSA help athletes plan their side of the recruiting process, but it also helps them gain exposure to a variety of coaching staffs across the country, both directly and indirectly, through the creation of their profiles, the compiling of highlight videos and analyzing where the best fits are.
One feature that helps both athletes and coaches is the fact that tens of thousands of coaches are a part of the network as well. These coaches appreciate that their job has been made easier too since the recruiting process is a time-consuming one for them as well as they look to find athletes who best fit in their programs and at their schools.
Several former NCSA athletes have voiced gratitude for the assistance that NCSA provided them with. For example, a women's basketball player who headed to the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor said that she especially appreciated how much information is available on the NCSA website about the schools.
If you would like to join this ever-increasing group of athletes making the transition to college ball, fill out a free girls basketball recruiting profile today. If you have any questions, give us a call at 866 495-5172, and we'll be glad to help you.