We’ve been running these AAU basketball teams for the last 6 years or so, and we’ve seen the tremendous value that AAU brings to young kids if done the right way. We now have AAU teams in the Charlotte and Lake Norman areas, Denver Colorado, and Greensboro NC!
One of the things we do in our PSB Select club is, if we have multiple teams in a grade, we form multiple teams and break them up into “A” and “B” teams, which we label “Gold” and “Black” (our club colors).
We do this for a number of reasons including, but not limited to:
- Not wanting to “cut” young kids who want to play
- Ability to give more kids a chance to play
- More efficient distribution of playing time
- More efficient development of skills all-around
However, forming a “Black” team or “B” team always causes some issues, sometimes amongst players, but more often, among parents.
Parents often times view their child being put on a B team as a personal attack, but this is not the case (obviously). In fact, we’ve seen tremendous results from our B team players and teams.
If done the right way and for the right reasons, players truly grow on the court and off the court, and the team’s improvement throughout the season is typically pretty steep.
But don’t take my word for it! This past season, we placed Carter, the son of our Director of Communications named Corinthias, on the 5th Grade Black team as we felt that is where he would be best served.
While I doubt Corinthias was excited about it, we know she understood as she has been with us for a few years now and knew our reasoning behind the B teams.
After going through the season and seeing improvement in Carter and his team, we asked her to talk about her experience as a parent of a child on a B team.
What did she learn?
Was it worthwhile for Carter? For her? Etc.
Well, here’s what she had to say…
Many know I am the Director of Communications for Pro Skills Basketball, and I am a mom to three active, healthy, smart, amazing, fabulous, oh-so beautiful (I’m sure you get the picture now) kids!
You might say I am somewhat biased when it comes to them. It brings me joy to share their accomplishments. As you can probably tell, my feelings toward my children are not any different from that of many other parents.
Back in August, my son, Carter (my favorite child!), tried out for the 5th grade PSB Select Fall/Winter Teams. He made the Black team or what is considered the “B” team.
When I think about the meaning of the term “B” team, “not good enough” or “less talented” is what comes to mind. The thought of my son not being good enough was unsettling. After all, I think he is wonderful, but we all know labels can be misleading!
Reflecting on this past season, I realized most of the time us parents have it all wrong. Carter being on the B Team has proven to be far more valuable than a spot on the A team (Gold team) in many ways, not only to him, but to me as a parent too.
Even though there weren’t as many wins as the Gold team, this past season was a great experience for Carter!
The Black team allowed Carter to be on a team with players that had similar skills to his, which enabled him to get more playing time. More playing time equaled growth, improvement, and more confidence.
And this was not just for Carter…it was his entire team. On the final day of the league’s regular season the team went 2-0!
Being on the A team, he wouldn’t have had this type of opportunity. Carter would have sat the bench on the Gold team. It’s SO much more enjoyable seeing him actually play!
The B team also teaches hard work, and that Carter is going to have to work harder to improve and earn his spot on the A team if he wants it.
Being the parent of a B team player has served as a life lesson for myself as well. It’s forced me to check my ego as a parent at the door and realize it’s about Carter, not me.
Seeing Carter improve is far more gratifying than being able to tell others he plays on the Gold team!
Corinthias is an AMAZING PSB team member, so we’re super grateful she didn’t quit when we told her Carter was going to play on the Black team (ha-ha!).
In all seriousness, to piggyback off of her thoughts, we believe there are 4 main benefits for your child to play on the B team IF it is done the right for the right reasons.
If a child is placed on the B team instead of the A team then he or she should theoretically get more playing time as the other kids will be of similar skill level and typically not drastically better.
More playing time equals more opportunity to develop skills and fundamentals, which is obviously a great thing.
#2 Leadership Development
On the B team, players have more responsibility than they would on the A team.
On the A team, the team would lean heavily on the top 2-3 players, which wouldn’t be our B team player. So on the B team, that player would now be in a position that would require more leadership or at least give more opportunity for that player to learn to become a leader.
#3 Learn to Earn
Kids need to learn that things will not just be given to them just because they “want” it. Kids won’t make the A team just because they want to.
Players who are put on the B team learn that they must put in the hours of work to become a better player if they truly want to make the A team.
#4 Ego Check
This one is mostly for parents. As Corinthias said, this can be a tough pill to swallow for parents, but for those who go through with the B team, it can be a great lesson, like she said, that parents need to put the needs of their child before their parental ego.
We’ve seen AMAZING results from our B teams and players. We’ve had players go from the B team one season to the A team the next season due to their work ethic, hitting a growth spurt, etc.
Instead of cutting kids, they’re able to have an opportunity to play and develop their skills and leadership ability. They learn that they have to earn things in life rather than just be given things. And parents learn to put their child’s needs ahead of their own personal feelings, which is a valuable lesson.
As we head into our 2017 spring/summer season, we’ll once again be fielding Gold and Black teams, and we’re just as excited to be a part of the development of our “B” team kids as our “A” team kids.
There’s no telling where kids are going to end up in a few years!
If you have a player that is interested in trying out for a Pro Skills Basketball AAU team, we are still having open tryouts.