AAU BasketballCoachingMotivationTeamworkYouth Sports

The Importance of learning VS winning for basketballl

In running a youth basketball training and AAU program, there is often an overarching philosophy or organizational culture that needs to be put in place and at the forefront is determining whether the emphasis of the program will be on learning basketball or winning and having a winning reputation.  Over the course of many years, there have been basketball programs that built a reputation on winning and recruiting those that are deemed elite or already good at basketball, however should that be what youth basketball is about?

There are a number of considerations to determine what the priority of youth basketball should be.  One is considering the player’s age and experience level.  Biddy programs which are catered to 1st and 2nd grade or younger should prioritize learning the basketball fundamentals and growing the player’s experience over winning.  If a player in that age group is deemed to have a higher skill level than peers, there is always an opportunity to challenge that player and even have them play “up” with those that are older. Therefore, prioritizing the development of the player and their skills and creating an atmosphere of a high level of competition is what is most important in the short term and having a young athlete reach their potential in the long-term.
Don’t get me wrong, no one likes the feeling of losing, not even kids that age, but it is important to install in them the learning and love of basketball over winning at such a young age to instill the right foundation to build off of.  A strong focus on learning lays the groundwork for future success. Creating an atmosphere in an AAU program that emphasizes the value of learning, even beyond basketball will enrich a players personal growth as well.  Emphasizing teamwork, communication, resilience, and dealing with pressure despite wins or losses will build character in an athlete.

However, as impressive as an AAU program can be, winning can sometimes be the only motivator for a player. Although a player can be developing their skills and improving, absent wins with their team, it may be difficult for some players to continue to work with the same work ethic, and stay focused. For many – the wins are an actual confidence builder and without that they will not feel a sense of accomplishment.

Additionally, for those older athletes they believe that winning can create exposure for them and their team and opportunities. Many kids dream about getting the attention of scouts and coaches and receiving a scholarship to play at a prestigious highschool or collegiate level. Absent a winning record and more importantly a winning mentality, they will not think this can be achieved.

Therefore with all these considerations in mind, the best AAU programs will strike a balance where learning and development is the priority at a younger age and strive for the wins and emphasize that as an athlete gets older, matures and their goals evolve. Learning and winning are not mutually exclusive. Creating a competitive environment that emphasizes individual development, knowing how to develop players through constructive feedback, and celebrating both victories and moments of growth are key.

One other thing to note is that communication to coaches, parents and players on the type of program they will be participating in is essential to set expectations. That will allow everyone across the board to determine if that program meets their expectations and values, but it will be hard for anyone to pass up an enriching AAU experience that fosters both learning and success.

Previous Post
The importance of non-dominant hand development in basketball
Next Post
New NBA Rules – Flopping Penalty

Related Posts

No results found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed