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Tough Truths About AAU Basketball

Posted by Admin On August - 4 - 2015

Playing Time: Tough Truths about AAU Basketball, Youth Sports, Parents, and Athletes


CHICAGO, IL – Participating in youth sports is supposed to be about fun, fundamentals, learning and sportsmanship. Every youth dreams of sports stardom and every parent cosigns on the process and the union is one of wide eyed ambition and anticipated athletic achievement. Then the waters become murky. But in his balanced, steady and compassionate book, “Playing Time: Tough Truths about AAU Basketball, Youth Sports, Parents & Athletes,” Kevin McNutt wants to help all within youth sports and team sports deal with the single most pressing problem they are sure to encounter: playing time or more telling the lack of playing time.

Yet, the book offers so much more than ways for parents and athletes to cope and deal with playing time issues as they move up the “sports pyramid” of athletic competition. McNutt tackles the complexities of youth sports and how it is so easy for parents and athletes to become confused, misled and lost in the multi-billion dollar business of youth sports. And then, once entangled in the process, feeling a sense of desperation, parents and athletes make knee-jerk responses and countermoves that, lacking solid foundation and rationale only accelerate the distancing of reaching their athletic goals. McNutt does this without passing an ivory tower judgment or Monday morning quarterbacking reflection but instead with a been-there-done-that understanding and compassion that says I feel your pain. This is expertly illustrated in how parents must speak with the coach regarding playing time for their athlete. Here, McNutt provides valuable insight and in depth knowledge of the psychology of this meeting from the perspective of parent and the coach. It is invaluable instruction that all parents could use in an upcoming discussion—the author clearly states that for most athletes the “playing time” dilemma will certainly become the central focus at some time, some level within athletic competition.

The meeting with the coach is but one of several youth sports scenarios that the book addresses. All are dealt with in a systematic approach that attempts to guide the unsuspecting parent and athlete from the youth sports unchartered waters without a compass that they often find themselves. However, the book does not allow them to drift with the current as it provides tangible methods to correct the situations.

Nevertheless, it is not a pity party for the woe-is-me athlete or parent caught in the web of corporate youth sports. Tough truths is what the book says and delivers when parents accentuate their ego, obsessions and greed and place their selfish motivation beyond those of their athlete. McNutt is quick to point out these scenarios and chastise accordingly.

In this regard the referee in McNutt is obvious. Clearly, he is not afraid to make the big call regardless of who it may upset and offend. He aggressively takes on the burgeoning specter of AAU and specifically AAU basketball, which today is spoken about incorrectly albeit confidently by uneducated youth sports parents that had never heard of the term 10 years ago. In an odd twist, he is less harsh on AAU than he is on the black sports community for allowing it to become their Sheppard to their sheep-like sports grazing. Even here, while critical of the black sports community he provides solutions to how to maneuver adroitly within the AAU maze as opposed to becoming a support system athletic scholarship chasing casualty. The two chapters on the exploits of a DC based AAU program are fascinating in their depth, scope, and understanding. One need not be a sports fan to appreciate and have an attachment with the relationship between coach, player, sport and community.

Playing Time does not attempt to intimidate or run off parents and youth from participating in youth sports with gaudy and mind boggling numbers. It does not attempt to dissuade youth participation in sports. To the contrary the book endorses sports participation by addressing the tangible and practical pratfalls, setbacks and accomplishments that are certainly in the path of every sports family. Playing Time acknowledges the inevitable mistakes that will made by parent and athlete in youth sports but the goal is to provide a clear narrative in assisting to prevent or minimize the disastrous sports career ending choices before youth potential has a chance to thrive.

About the Author

Winner of just about every hat imaginable within youth and scholastic sport, from a basketball player, on the playgrounds of Washington DC, to private high school starter to college scholarship athlete, Kevin McNutt excelled as a coach for seven years of AAU basketball as well as being actively involved in his daughter’s athletic career as she would become a high school basketball star and eventually accept an athletic scholarship to Division I (Georgetown) university. Kevin is the author of Hooked on Hoops: Understanding Black Youths’ Blind Devotion to Basketball and he is also co-host, with Dave Zirin, of Edge of Sports radio for Sirius/XM.

For additional information, contact (708) 672-4909 x731, P.O. Box 1799, Chicago Heights, IL 60412. Website: http://www.africanamericanimages.com, Email: customersvc@africanamericanimages.com.

Photo: Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, African American Images


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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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