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PostPosted: 03 Jun 2015, 11:47 

Posts: 6
I have a 12 year old boy that is playing AAU basketball for the first time. Compared to the other kids his age, I would say he's a bit behind in skill level as he's not been playing as long. We went from a fieldhouse team league where he played well but would sometimes get discouraged with himself if he missed a basket to this AAU team where it seems like the level of play is MUCH better and now I find him getting frustrated, totally losing confidence, acting like it's the end of the world if he makes a mistake. We've had talk after talk after talk and I have convtinued to encourage him as well as the coaches and other parents. As a side note, he's almost 6 foot tall as 12 and in a size 13 shoe - he's huge and pretty athletic. So I have several questions. 1. Do we continue with this AAU team if at every game he's not having fun and seems distraught? Not after the game just during the game if he makes a mistake. 2. Is this just a maturity / lack of playing experience issue? 3. I'm wondering if maybe we should go back to the fieldhouse league vs. AAU so he can get a little more confidence before venturing into the AAU world. These kids / teams having been playing together for quite some time. At the fieldhouse league he felt confident but the coaching wasn't as 'skilled' (for lack of better word) but w/ AAU he feels unconfident but the coaches are extremely skilled. HELP!!!!!


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PostPosted: 03 Jun 2015, 12:35 

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The transition from rec ball to AAU is always a bit bumpy at first. The faster pace is a factor, there's more pressure, and the physicality increases. The more you play in those conditions, the better you get at being able to handle that arena.

I'm curious why you made the decision to play AAU this time around? Was that a mutual decision with you and your son?

I think the number one priority should be your son and what he wants to do. There's nothing wrong with a little nudging and encouragement from parents to try something a bit more challenging, but if he's really not happy, I wouldn't push it.

I say this a lot, but a strong solution for these situations is to find a good private coach and have your son start working with him/her. You can explain the confidence situation and a good coach will know what to do. The key will be your son's willingness to want those lessons. When I found a private coach for my son, I was the one scheduling the sessions. About a year into it, I told my son I'd pay for the sessions, but he needed to be the one that initiated it, I wasn't going to force him to do it. It worked out as he was able to see the improvement from working with this coach and had positive reinforcement through his stats and other parents.

You already know this, but there's no magic fairy dust for these situations. The hope is your son would be willing to do a few sessions, work on his own, go back, see the improvement and continue to work with a coach and practice on his own.

Walking the tightrope of nudging your son to do more challenging activities and knowing when to back off isn't easy. Especially when it comes to something like a sport that is supposed to be enjoyable.

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PostPosted: 03 Jun 2015, 13:12 

Posts: 6
We just happened to get an invite from a team looking for a big guy and my son jumped at the chance. Before accepting the offer, we made sure to get the coaches' theory on amount of time spent playing/practicing as we really feel it needs to be FUN and about FUNDAMENTALS. This particular coach having been a former Division III athlete was right in line with that. My son does work with a trainer on Sundays and WANTS to do so..one hour, very low key. I'm not pushing at all - this is all him. In addition to that he goes to the YMCA and plays by himself. I just don't know what's best at this particular time having seen his emotions play out on the court. With the league team he was gaining confidence, scoring and the players looked up to him. With the AAU team, it seems a big overwhelming for him like he can't handle the step up. So....give it time or take step back? But yes, in answer to your question he WANTS to play with this team. I feel, however, it's messing up his confidence.


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PostPosted: 03 Jun 2015, 15:54 

Posts: 892
Thanks for the clarifications. It sounds like your son has a some great self-motivation which is a huge factor in this whole deal.

1) Do you feel the trainer he works with on Sunday's is improving his game? I know when my son started sessions (around age 12) with the private coach, that coach pushed him a bit beyond his limits. Very encouraging, but got him out of his comfort zone. A lot of working on the weak hand, lots of footwork, shots. He kept things moving.

2) I'm thinking a large part of this has to do with maturity and the other large part is the reality that these kids have played together. They're used to the AAU scene and he's not. It's tough to not feel the pressure to perform as the new kid on the team.

3) I don't see a problem holding off on AAU until your son feels more confident. You'd have to weigh out the pros and cons. AAU isn't going anywhere soon, so it will still be there if you decide to go that route.

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PostPosted: 03 Jun 2015, 16:38 

Posts: 6
No, he doesn't push him at all really. I'm in the indianapolis area. Of you know of someone, please let me know via email....italy713@gmail And thank you for the expertise and ear. Awesome to have a forum like this, especially for a single mom.


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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2015, 09:45 

Posts: 892
On the private coach, my advice is to dig around by asking other parents on that AAU team and other AAU teams. If there is a central place the kids play, that gym probably has coaches renting out courts for lessons, you could also make a few phones calls to those gyms. I've found that asking around is the best bet at finding a good coach that's already out there. I'm not suggesting you spend hundreds of dollars here, but if you can find a coach that he could do a couple of sessions with, it might help his confidence.

You could try e-mailing these folks hoosierhillshoops@gmail.com

There are also camps, clinics, summer sessions. I ran across a place called Indiana Basketball Academy. No clue how good they are, but they offered more group type situations which can be more cost effective.

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PostPosted: 05 Jun 2015, 10:17 
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Location: Winter Garden, FL (Orlando suburb)
It sounds like you're off to a great start with your soon. He actually wants to play pick up basketball and wants to do these things... that's awesome!

Coach Rob also gave your some great advice.

Here is my biggest concern...

italy713 wrote:
We went from a fieldhouse team league where he played well but would sometimes get discouraged with himself if he missed a basket to this AAU team where it seems like the level of play is MUCH better and now I find him getting frustrated, totally losing confidence, acting like it's the end of the world if he makes a mistake.


Being a recovering perfectionist, I can understand how detrimental this mindset can be from an athletic standpoint. But more importantly, I know how it can be a detriment as an adult.

When I was a high school, I would get extremely frustrated if I didn't make 70% of my 3-pointers and 90% of my free throws when practicing by myself. I didn't want to screw up when practicing dribble moves. I had a few lopsided basketballs. :)

What happened during my HS career, while I still had a decent HS career, my skills marginally improved because I was too hard on myself and I was afraid to get outside of my comfort zone.

I like to teach kids the "Forget it" mentality. It means that as soon as a mistake happens, you don't even think about that mistake, you move on to the next play or the next shot or the next repetition. I actually got this mentality from a high-level skills coach, but he used a more colorful phrase.

He said, "Don't let your last miss get in the way of your next make."

He would also say, "Did anybody die when you missed that shot? Did anybody die when you lost the ball? Then who cares. Move on and play and have some fun. "

IF your child being too hard on himself outside of athletics as well, maybe there is some good "Life Coaches" he can see to help him better handle failure.

From my little experience with life (only 32 years old), my observations are the people who have the most success on and off the court are the people who handle failure the best.

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Joe Haefner
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/kc/


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PostPosted: 05 Jun 2015, 11:19 

Posts: 6
I hear you loud and clear and thank you so, so much for sharing. I don't see the perfectionism off the court. The league folks have been great...they see him being hard on himself and everyone, I mean everyone including parents, officials, try to take a minute to talk to him about it. So you know it's clearly visible when practically everyone wants to talk to my kid to help steer him. The coach has started pulling him out when he gets all down. Hence the message, if you want to play you're going to have to learn to let go. You guys are awesome. I appreciate all the feedback!!!!!


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PostPosted: 02 May 2016, 13:53 

Posts: 62
Your son is in a tough position. Once he can realize what a great player he is, he will be able to enjoy his skills and the game. Kudos to you being a single mom but still getting your son out there to play. I realize it must be tough but SO worth it for him and you. Happy Mother's Day, May 8th!


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