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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 15:33 

Posts: 4
Hello,

My son is 12 years old and has been playing year round for 4 years. He trains 5 days a week and plays on two different teams. He has an intensely strong passion (almost an obsession) with basketball. I don't know where he got it because my wife and I never played so we haven't influenced it other than to make it as available to him as we can w/out sacrificing school work etc.

He has been invited to play for the best traveling AAU team in our state 12u. We know the coach and some of the players very well. We know if he joins this team he'll likely be coming off the bench playing fewer minutes than he is playing now. And he'll be playing the 3 or 4 position handling the ball less than he is now playing up a grade at the 1 and 2 position.

I have absolutely no background in basketball so I don't know which direction to go with this decision. Ultimately we want our son to have fun and enjoy the game above all. Secondarily but also important we want him to be improving his skills for all of his hard work. I know it's probably an impossible question to answer with certainty but I'd like to hear what others have to offer w/ advice and thoughts. Is it better to play on a team that has more talent or is it better to have more play time and opportunity in-game? (assuming the coaching quality is roughly equal).


Thanks in advance for any advice you can lend.


-David


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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 16:51 
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I think it's good to get challenged. But if he's playing less than 15 min a age on average, that doesn't seem like enough playing time for this age level.

As a general guideline, you want a player succeeding around 60-80% of the time. That is the sweet spot for development. If they are succeeding more than that, they're not getting challenged enough... can get bored, complacent, etc. The way you learn and improve is by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.

If you're failing 50% of more, then it can become discouraging, etc. I think ideally your son would be winning his match ups 50-80% of them time.

Those are just a few thoughts. Like you said, it's impossible to give you a good answer. There are lots of factors and no right or wrong. Most of the improvement is done during training/practice. Then hopefully you have a chance to compete with other players in games and practice, to refine your skills. Ideally you are matched up against similar competition. You don't really want to be the best player on the team (not every year at least) but you also don't want to be the worst.

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Jeff Haefner
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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 16:57 

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Thank you Jeff. That makes sense and definitely helps


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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 17:00 

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Good points (as always) from Jeff. From what you've described of your son, he appears to have a passion for basketball with a good work ethic to boot. I'd logically assume he'll continue playing over the next several years. If that's the case, the competition to make teams will only increase. A lot will depend upon your son and where he wants to go in the coming seasons.

I'm more in the camp of taking the opportunity as long as your son realizes this will be a challenge and he might not be playing as much at first. There's really no substitute for playing on a more competitive team if that's where you're headed. I doubt they would have asked him to play if they didn't think he was good enough. I think it sounds like a great opportunity to experience some solid basketball.

I wouldn't overthink this too much, especially if you're only talking about one season. I've witnessed some kids who didn't really like that level of bball and some that seemed to get a fire after playing on a team like this.

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2015, 18:22 

Posts: 4
Good points coach, thank you. Realizing it is just one season makes it a little easier. I'm personally leaning towards taking the opportunity because I know it'll challenge him. And he has friends on the team so he'll have fun. My biggest concern is his confidence so if we go this route I'll just do whatever I can to support him when challenges arise.

Thanks again for the advice!


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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2015, 11:20 

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I think you and your son will be just fine. You never know where this might lead down the road. Get your son's autograph now and make him promise you floor seats when he's in the NBA.

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CRob


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PostPosted: 25 Apr 2016, 15:42 

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Thanks for the advice! Quick update on how things have worked out.

Our son made a traveling team that is loaded with talent. He is the 7th man in the 11-player rotation hoping to earn more play time and a more predominant role on the team. We're ranked in the top 5 on the West Coast for 12u. All 11 guys are starter quality players (extremely uncommon in my admittedly limited experience watching aau teams).

It has been difficult for my son to come from a team where he averaged playing most of the game and scoring 30-35% of the points to a lesser role and scoring less than 10% for this team (sometimes not scoring at all). But I think the situation will challenge him to get better and give him clear goals to strive towards. The team practices alone make up for the lack of in-game playing minutes given how competitive they are with each other. But I could see myself losing patience waiting for him to bubble up the rotation. As a parent, I have a _very_ hard time seeing him sit on the bench when I know how hard (and often) he practices. So I guess I have some learning to do to...

I appreciate the advice from you guys! I'll keep you posted and will likely have more questions for you as I navigate through these unknown waters.


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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2016, 14:44 

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Whew! Being ranked 5th on the West Coast says a lot. As you mentioned, the practices alone are probably helping your son. I'm guessing if that team is ranked 5, they'll end up in some more dominant games and your son will be able to get more playing time.

Thanks for the update! Make sure to relax and enjoy the ride as you go along.

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