Questions From Subscribers...

Topic:  Missing High School Open Gyms For AAU Basketball

Question from Marirutan:
What are the typical 'open gym' rules? If a player does not show up for the first two open gyms even though she played for an AAU team, does the head coach the right to say she will not play varsity in the fall? He did not allow her to start for the first two camp games.

She is a regular starter for jv. She will be a sophmore this year. Last year she did not get to play varisty because she missed conditioning. She earned the right to dress and play a few minutes. I understood this decision, but I lack to understand this most recent decision. Was the coach upset because she missed two open gyms and came down hard on her? Help me. I thought open gym was voluntary on the player's part. She has been attending camp since the beginning. This was an off season open gym. Is there a policy that approves what this coach did? Even the jv coach did not approve of his decsion. I need to know some facts because I am to meet with this coach next week. Thank you

Coaches & Parents, please share your thoughts...

Answers and Comments

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Coach Chaney says:
10/23/2018 at 1:30:43 PM

What if the players who are missing the open gyms are playing fall basketball and working with personal trainers.


Mario morgan says:
7/23/2016 at 10:20:02 PM

Schools about to start for me but I am moving at the end of October and I think tryouts are in November so I want to try out for my school or go to conditioning butt what if I missed the date for tryouts and
conditioning for my new school does that mean I have to wait for next year to come for me to try out


Jeremy J says:
5/22/2014 at 5:23:29 PM

Open gym and offseason workouts are optional, so is playing time. Don't complain about lack of playing time if you're not putting in the practice time.


Kevin Mitchell says:
11/6/2013 at 8:12:03 PM

The most important thing is communication between the coaches, the players, the parents and supporters. The communication should be all encompassing with information about the basketball season, post season activities, opportunities, guidelines and best practices. Whether it''s during the season or post season, every player has to improve his or her basketball skills for player development. To understand the need, there needs to be an understanding of the environment. The question I challenge all basketball enthusiasts with is "What are you doing to get better?" This question isn''t just limited to the players, it also involves the coaches, the parents, the supporters or anyone involved in the basketball journey. As with anything else, nothing is ever going to be perfect but if all parties involved put themselves in a positive and proactive basketball environment the benefits should be realized. Not all basketball programs or coaches will be exceptional or offer the best experiences whether those opportunities are with high school, AAU, showcase or grassroot tournament... on the other side, there will be some excellent programs with exceptional experiences. I always advise any basketball enthusiasts if they have any questions or apprehensions to look at the culture of the basketball program or team. The interaction from coaches to players, players to coaches, coaches to parents, parents to coaches and everything in between. The bottom line is if the player is not enjoying the experience, the player is not going to enjoy playing basketball and will not give their best effort. Anyone who plays basketball… must play for the love of the sport... anyone who coaches basketball… must love the responsibility of coaching, mentoring and teaching life lessons. The bottom line is scholarship opportunities are presented based on character, academics and the ability to play basketball in a structured system with a team. Talent is great… but if that talent doesn''t lead to improved basketball skill and player development... most basketball opportunities well end after high school. As coaches, we have a responsibility but we must also remember this is just a game and where we came from... children are like clay and must be allowed to experience their childhood. It is great to be fired up about basketball... but not at the expense of a child soul or childhood experiences. If the kid is a "gamer"... he or she will be discovered if placed in the right basketball environments for development and exposure... and opportunities will be presented. It should never be about the ego, control, admiration or the money... otherwise those coaches are in it for the wrong reasons and limiting opportunities for the player''s future.


really? says:
11/6/2013 at 1:35:28 PM

I am disappointed to see the author's stance on this posting. Rules exist in my state to prevent coaches from penalizing athletes who do not attend open gyms.

Unless the coach is an AAU coach, he most likely will not do much to get the athlete seen by colleges since most teams do not advance to the State level. AAU season and AAU coaches do.

As a coach myself (not AAU) leave the off-season to the athletes to work on their own games and get different coaching perspectives, work with different caliber players and learn new skills.

And please stop giving coaches the free pass to treat players disrespectfully. By empowering coaches to disregard the rules and state "the coach has the right to do whatever they think is right" is an extremely SCARY position.

Just as all players aren't good! I can tell you from my experience, there are just as many coaches that aren't, either. Realize that every situation is unique and insecure coaches with the wrong motivation can truly damage a child. STOP EMPOWERING COACHES TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT!

A good coach will follow the rules. It's the bad ones that have the win at any cost mentality that don't.


Monte Moire says:
7/10/2013 at 5:20:33 PM

Like others have stated, communication is the key. Just before the school year ends, I hand out a schedule of when camps are for the young campers, when we will have skill development and weight training, as well as team shootouts. If a player can't make any of those dates, we talk about it and move on. I don't "sweat" my players if they can't make a shootout or the open gym session because I know that they have a life outside of basketball. When we talk, they let me know what works and doesn't work for them over the summer. I am ok with that. Some of my peer coaches are not cool with that. They make sure all of their players are at everything, which is their right. Their team, their rules. Me on the other hand, I wanna make sure that my players enjoy their high school lives and summer. I don't want them burning out during the season.


Ken Sartini says:
5/6/2013 at 3:30:32 PM

Micheal..... some kids treat Ballside / Helpside like its a dirty word.


Ken Sartini says:
5/6/2013 at 3:27:15 PM

Wow !!

As I read all of these it makes me feel good that I am retired. From over zealous parents to coaches that have unreasonable expectations.

Part of the problem is that every state is different... some will let you work out every day of the year... others, only a certain amount of contact days after the season. Some where along the line there should be a set of rules that EVERYONE has to abide by... problem is.... coaches will find away around it.

There are good and bad AAU programs just like High shcool programs. Most AAU teams are All Star teams... heck, you and I would look good playing for them... OK, just you.

These are kids people, lets treat them that way. Let them have some fun and grow up to be fine young men and women. IF they want to do something extra on their own, then so be it..... but they should be loyal to the HS program first... and IF they talk to the head coach I am sure that they can work something out. We all want the same thing... for them to get better.


Raul Fuentes says:
5/6/2013 at 1:08:31 PM

It''s come to my attention that many of the high school coaches don''t have the time to train many kids that play the game. Practice, practice, practice doesn''t always cut it. You have to train to play the game of basketball. I''ve trained my son to play multiple positions and I realized that if my son didn''t play AAU, Camps, personal Training Sessions from (5star, Renegade, Nike, Phenom, PGC along with the several personal trainers he gets invited with) then the Head Coach wouldn''t want him. My personal feeling is if you know your player is getting a better education elsewhere who are they to judge and keep these kids from playing because they don''t attend their workouts. It makes absolutely any sense and let''s be honest a lot of these coaches are PUNKS with egos and get off showing their power over these kids. You got to let some MEN and WOMEN know that if they ever disrespect your child that they are still your child and we are fully capable of taking it to a whole new level. The pen is mighty and when people here the truth it can put many of these coaches jobs at stake. Keep them accountable because some get less in the power instead of the coaching. Also my kids are very limited to what schools they can attend because 7 of the 10 will only allow them to play only 1 sport. Very few will allow them to be a multisport athlete anymore.


Michael Allen says:
5/6/2013 at 12:45:34 PM

We strongly suggest that if you are in town, you need to regularly attend Open Gym. We have a wide variety of kids at our school (some specialize in BK, BB, SOC, etc) and therefore are "seasonal players" in other sports. We cannot mandate attendance as we have kids committed to their main sport, they also go on vacations, mission's trips, and/or have jobs, etc. We do not recruit and do not offer financial breaks to athletes so we have to try and develop what we have. It unfortunately gets harder every year.

Now pertaining to AAU, it has become a joke the way this organization and those associated with it are controlling and brain washing our youth and their parents. According to AAU gurus, everyone who plays will get a scholarship and your HS team is not that important unless you play on an Elite HS team. We'll I'm hear to tell you, you can either play or you can't. If you can, the colleges will find you NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE or what HS you attend. Also, you either have a basketball IQ or you don't. If you don't you better get with your HS coach and develop it because the exposure you hope to gain from college coaches will only turn into you being EXPOSED.

I see so many kids who cannot play away from the basketball, have no clue about any other screen but a ball screen, can't shoot proper layups, and don't know the difference between a good shot and a HORRIBLE shot. Oh, and don't get me started about helpside defense and rebounding. They won't get in the gym with their coach but they will pay money to travel every weekend to play in numerous games and think they are getting better. Most kids are not gaining exposure, they are getting exposed.

The bottom line is everyone is fighting for the kids attention and unfortunately the HS coaches (Educators) are not who they are listening to.

The NCAA needs to do away with AAU and give control back to the actual universities and High Schools. It is long overdue and our basketball in America is in dire straights where AAU coaches, agents and middle-men are running the show. This is exactly why I stay completely away from it. If you don't believe me, read the book "Playing Their Hearts Out" by George Dohrmann or look at what most recently happened to the McLemore kid from Kansas.


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