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Finding a Youth Basketball League

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

Whether you are interested in burning some energy, gaining new friends, or aiming for a college scholarship, you have to start somewhere. It might be challenging to find a local youth basketball league if you don’t know how to go about it. But hang tight because we’ve got some tips for you on how to find the best youth basketball program near you.

Start Local

One of the easiest ways to start, especially when your kids are very young, is to look at local recreation programs run by your city. Often you’ll find ball programs for kids as young as three years old.

These rec programs are often inexpensive, which allows you to try out many different sports and see which ones your child enjoys. Another benefit to recreation sports is that the teams are often grouped by neighborhood. This is a great way to meet new friends (for both kids and parents!)

As your children get older or as their skills increase, it’s essential to look beyond typical recreation programs for more structured learning and playing environment to continue to encourage growth.

Youth Basketball Leagues

When you are ready to get more serious about skill-building and possibly working your way into high school basketball and beyond, it’s time to check out the basketball leagues in your area.

Chances are there are many different leagues to choose from, and you might have a hard time deciding which is right for you. Here are a few tips and questions to ask when settling on which league to join:

  • Get to Know the Coach: There are many coaching philosophies and styles, each with its own benefits. However, it’s essential to know the coach to decide if your styles and your child’s temperament will mesh.

  • AAU Affiliation: Ask to see a copy of their AAU non-athlete memberships for the club contact and coaches to verify if they are members of the AAU. All non-athlete memberships and adult athletes undergo a background check through the AAU membership process.

  • Key Relationships: When it comes to basketball, relationships are key. Ask league owners and coaches with who they have connections. Often there will be a league that works with the local high school coaches, sometimes coaches even have contacts within the college recruiter world.

Have Fun

The most important piece to this puzzle is enjoyment. If your children are going to play basketball through high school (and hopefully on to college), they will play a lot of basketball--so they need to enjoy the game! Look for a league that brings discipline, skills, and a positive atmosphere.

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