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The huddle

September 4, 2018

Club Basketball: The Inside Scoop

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It is imperative to know the ins and outs of club basketball. For club basketball, a number of talented basketball players play for AAU which is also known as the Amateur Athletic Union. AAU is statewide and is known to be extremely competitive; it is even more competitive than high school basketball.

For club basketball, 10th and 11th grade are prime time for basketball athletes; it’s a time when you have to work hard and sharpen your skills. This is when the club teams also do most of their traveling, and college showcases. Most important it’s the time where college coaches can reach out to athletes that they are interested in, so be prepared to put your best foot forward.

Shanika Smart, an AAU coach for the Boston Showstoppers and co-founder of the program she has been coaching for nine years. Shanika believes that the opportunities can be the same, but from her experience playing both high school basketball and club basketball leads to more exposure and overall success. Smart’s program has sent over three dozen student-athletes to college and a plurality of them went on scholarship. Club basketball has changed the lives of many student-athletes giving them the ability to pursue their aspirations of playing college basketball.

LRT Sports sat down with Shanika and asked her some questions about coaching club basketball and what advice that she can give to prospects and other coaches.

LRT Sports: When it comes to recruiting for club basketball are the rules are slightly different than high school?

Shanika: If a student-athlete participates in both it exposes them to more opportunities. However in my opinion, if a student-athlete is properly coached and have a great work ethic they can still be afforded the same opportunities.

LRT Sports: Do you initially reach out to college coaches for your players?

Shanika: I usually don’t. College coaches usually reach out to the other coaches or me when they are interested in a player.

LRT Sports: What advice can you give to prospects and your athletes?

Shanika: I tell my student-athletes; first they have to be coachable! Which for me is one of the most important things to be. I also tell the to have a good attitude on and off the court. No one wants a player with a bad attitude, no matter how talented you are. I tell them to work hard and have confidence and lastly put their academics first and go after what they truly want. I constantly tell them they can do whatever they put their mind to and don’t let anyone else tell them differently. I constantly motivate.

LRT Sports: Do you help student-athletes with (Hudl) highlight film to get attention from coaches?

Shanika: For high school I do, but I do not for AAU. That is something I am working on incorporating for next season.

LRT Sports: What do you think college coaches look for in student-athlete?

Shanika: Like I said being coachable is very important. Two other attributes that separate athletes are their attitude and work ethic. A coach will look for a player with the most positive attitude and strongest work ethic.

LRT Sports: Does social media play a role in the recruiting process?

Shanika: Absolutely. Social media has allowed individuals to showcase their talents and get recognition for it.

LRT Sports: How do you prepare for club basketball season?

Shanika: I have not started preparing for the season yet because high school’s first but I usually draft up practice agendas and game plans. To keep them motivated I stay in contact. I tell them to keep working hard, and I keep encouraging them.

LRT Sports: What were some of your success as a coach from last season?

Shanika: I was able to continue to build student-athletes confidence. I also did well dealing with the students as people instead of just treating them like athletes. I also won some games and lost some and I developed a lot from coaching that one season.

LRT Sports: How would you over reflect last season?

Shanika: It was a tough transition for the athletes. I was new to them after having the same coach for several years.

LRT Sports: What is your plan to get your athletes noticed?

Shanika: I start with them first. I build their confidence and make them coachable for the next level. Then I do my part in bragging about them and posting them in action on all my social media circuits.”

LRT Sports: Have​ ​you​ ​noticed​ ​any​ ​recruiting​ ​changes​ ​as​ ​the​ ​years​ ​go​ ​on​ ​from​ ​when​ ​you​ ​were​ ​playing from ​when​ ​you​ ​first​ ​started​ ​to​ ​now?

Shanika: Yes, a lot of changes. From size to height being a priority. Smaller individuals have to work 10x harder.”

 

For more information: http://www.bostonshowstoppers.com

 

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