I have played basketball my entire life. I love the game. I started on the street as a kid, joined junior varsity and varsity leagues in school and even played in the military for a while.
I probably could have played in college but life had other plans for me. I joined the military right after high school, fought forest fires for 4 years, had kids and even helped other kids an assistant martial arts instructor. I love helping kids but I never lost passion for the game of basketball.
When I first found out about AAU (Amateur Athletics Union) basketball, I was impressed. It was like the NBA for kids and had completely reinvented how kids played and learned the game. My cousin plays. He’s a really good player but the more I listened to his dad (my uncle) and studied the program, the more I concerned I got.
AAU basketball is a great program
The problem that I was looking at were the systems, basketball clubs and businesses that were created to support the organization. Every time I spoke with my uncle, he was busy planning and paying for the next tournament. Monthly fees over $100, tournament fees, travel fees and more.
I thought to myself, when did basketball become so expensive and, more importantly, how were parents who could barely afford to pay bills, finding ways to pay for and support these systems?
Basketball began on the streets
It started out as fun. The more you played, the better you got. The better you got, the more you played. You eventually played in recreation leagues, middle schools and high schools. It was the school stats that mattered then and your varsity coach that helped you get into college. However, no matter what skill level you were at, there was always a place to play, have fun and improve.
What happened? AAU happened. Players were led to believe that the only way to college was through AAU basketball and the only way through AAU was with lots and lots of…money!
Your child can have all the talent and/or potential in the world but if you can’t afford the “obligations” to reach his or her potential, they will never be able to succeed. That is the reality.
I took my son to an AAU club tryout. He wasn’t ready for that level of play but there was no where else to go to help him get better. Most good coaches had given up on street level basketball and recreation leagues simply because they didn’t pay enough. My options were extremely limited.
Pay $150 per month for training my son wasn’t ready for or join a recreation league that may or may not have a coach qualified enough to teach him anything. But wait a minute, what was I thinking? I was qualified to coach. I played basketball for years. I coached basketball on and off and was actually pretty good at it.
But what about the parents who couldn’t help their kids?
My son has since taken a different path for himself. We still play basketball together but he has fallen in love with soccer. I’m happy for him but for myself, the experience of getting back in touch with basketball and helping my son has made me understand that basketball is where I want to be.
Blackrock Basketball Academy is a curriculum based training program for all ages and skill levels. We focus on building players and coaches in local communities. We also create leagues for youth player development and strategies that give players the exposure they need to help them get into college.
We believe there are great benefits to AAU basketball and the systems that surround it but we also believe there is a need to help kids who want to play but can’t afford expensive training programs.
Our mission is to address this need and provide an affordable way for kids to play basketball and be successful in life.
Let’s get started.