High school basketball season is coming to an end, and what many call the "real" basketball season is shifting into high gear. Everyone is scrambling to find the right select basketball organization that they believe will eventually put their child in a position to receive that coveted college scholarship. There is only one problem; very few parents have any idea where to begin looking. Not knowing where to start, who to trust or even what to look for in a select basketball program can equate to months of wasted time and thousands of wasted dollars.
So, just how do you evaluate a select basketball organization or club team for your child? In order to avoid the headaches and disappointments of joining the wrong organization, it is important that you first have clear goals and expectations before entering into the complicated world of select basketball.
Select basketball was originally intended to give youth athletes the opportunity to gain extra game experience during the off-season, but has recently become more about hype, travel, nice uniforms, and free shoes. These are some of the more insignificant elements that cloud the minds of parents, players, and coaches, and ultimately prevent the majority from making a sound program decision.
Here are 4 important factors to consider when choosing the right select basketball organization or club team for your son or daughter:
The Experience factor is generally one of the most overlooked and/or undervalued aspects when choosing a program. But, the Experience component should be of HIGH priority if your child's personal growth and development is more important to you than his/her basketball development. The reality is that less than a fraction of 1-percent of all high school seniors receive a college basketball scholarship. So, it is vital that your child's select basketball organization emphasize character building, values, and life skills such as discipline, work ethic, and sportsmanship. There should also be some emphasis on academic success and community service. It's bigger than basketball!
Development is the most important of all basketball related factors. Development is a term that is commonly misused and often thrown around by club teams and organizations to help persuade parents to join their particular program. But, what exactly is Development? Development is the process in which a player improves in all facets of the game, making for a more confident, knowledgeable, fundamentally sound, complete basketball player. It includes increasing basketball IQ, skill-level, court awareness, performance, as well as refining their approach to the game.
Opportunity is an important factor, but does not mean as much if the Development component is not in place. We define Opportunity as being in the right situation that allows a player the greatest chance to receive adequate, monitored, position specific reps. For example, a point guard receiving meaningful game-time reps at that position is key. Play to improve and play on a team that offers competition, but don't play above your head. Being on a successful, high-level team is wise, but, sitting on the bench and watching all of the high-level players get all of the playing time is foolish. In short, the best way to become a better player is to play!
Exposure is the stage in which an athlete is able to display his/her talents and abilities in front of college coaches, scouts, and media outlets in hopes of recognition, selection, and/or scholarship offers. Although Exposure has its place in the club team selection process, it is important that we recognize its level of importance as compared to our first 3 factors. Exposure should be one of the rewards of a talented athlete who first understands the importance of having great character, a strong academic foundation, discipline, and dedication. Exposure before Development and the right Opportunity usually leaves an athlete Exposed.
When it comes to finding the appropriate select basketball organization for your future basketball star, it is important that you do your research. Remember, Experience first, then Development, then Opportunity, then Exposure, then everything else. Good luck this off-season!