Evaluation periods are near, and college coaches will be out in droves to seek out the next top prospects for their programs. This ranges everywhere from high-level Division 1 coaches to NAIA Division 2 coaches.
As an AAU coach, hopefully you have your players’ best interests in mind and put them in great situations to be seen by colleges coaches.
Because we want to make sure your kids are in great situations, we’ve created this AAU coach’s guide to the April & July Evaluation Periods.
1. Force Your Players To Talk On Defense
Not only should you force your players to talk on defense, force them to SCREAM on defense. Get the attention of college coaches that are around. If five guys on your team are screaming on defense in unison, you’re going to draw attention. Talking on defense is a non-negotiable that college coaches are looking for in their programs. It may seem silly, but this will help your players get the attention that they are seeking.
2. Play Man-To-Man Defense
While a zone defense may seem enticing against a team that may seem more athletic, man defense should be played the majority of the time during these evaluation periods. Coaches are seeking players that fit into their systems, and about 98% of college coaches primarily play man-to-man defense.
Again, make sure your kids are talking (screaming is better 🙂 ) on defense, are always in a stance, close out chopping their feet with a hand high, and understand the basic shell defense principles. Those things go a long way in impressing a college coach.
3. Take Kids Out of the Game Not Giving 100% Effort
You should be preaching to your kids that 100% effort should be given when they are on the floor. There are so many talented players at AAU events, don’t let your players slip through the cracks by allowing them to play and not give all of their effort.
You’re doing your players an injustice to let them remain on the floor without playing as HARD as they possibly can. That’s the quickest way for college coaches to write a kid off because they know they can go to the next court and find a kid that’s giving it his all.
When you take a player out for not going as hard as he can, remind him that he’s hurting his chances at playing at the next level and that you expect better effort the next time you put him on the floor.
Giving 100% effort means diving on loose balls, taking charges, sprinting the floor on offense and defense, going after every rebound and keeping possessions alive. If you have a team full of guys willing to give that extra effort, they’re putting themselves in a good situation to get noticed.
4. Good Attitudes Are a Must
There probably isn’t a bigger turnoff for a college coach than a kid with a bad attitude. That includes putting teammates down, pouting when you’re taken out, talking to officials, talking back to a coach, getting down on yourself after every play, constant trash-talking to opponents, and more. Before every game, remind your players that you never know who is watching and that they must maintain a good attitude, regardless of what is happening in the game.
Traits of a good attitude are:
- Being respectful to officials, opponents, and coaches
- Remaining vocal when you’re out of the game
- Maintaining composure when things aren’t going your way
- Lifting teammates up after their mistakes
5. Shot Selection is Important
If players see that college coaches are in the gym, they often think that they need to score a lot of point to impress, but that is not true. If a player scores a lot of points from good shot selection, that’s great, but poor shot selection and not sharing the ball does not impress coaches.
Make sure you preach shot selection to your team. Encourage your players to take shots that they can make when they’re open, but certainly discourage taking bad shots that are not in their wheelhouse. You want your players to showcase their skills and taking bad shots is not something you want them to showcase.
6. Put Your Players In Positions to Succeed
This means highlighting what your players do well. Have a knock-down shooter on your team? Run plays to get him open beyond the arc. Have a kid that is deadly coming off of ball-screens? Put him in pick-and-roll situations.
This means that you have to know your personnel and what they do well. By getting to know your kids and putting them in situations where they can showcase what they do really well, you’re helping them show college coaches what they can do really well, too.
Ultimately, as an AAU coach, your job is to help your players accomplish their goals. If one of their goals is playing at the next level, coaching your team with the six items addressed above in mind will aid in that process.
Have more that you’d like to add to this post? Let us know in the comments!