Magazine charts AAU popularity

Posted March 09, 2009, at 10:13 p.m.

If I had to point to one of the fastest growing sports in Maine, I’d have to list AAU basketball at the top of any list.

Amateur Athletic Union sports organizations were founded in 1888. Back then, AAU had a huge hand in preparing athletes for the Olympics.

Imagine that, then imagine how the role of AAU has helped countless athletes prepare for higher levels of play in college hoops across the land.

A check of Friday’s BDN sports pages in the On Deck section finds numerous listings for upcoming AAU tryouts. A check of the U.S. mail last week found the official magazine of AAU, waiting for me in my mailbox.

“The Real AAU Basketball,” published by Lessiter Publications in Wisconsin, is further proof that the growing sport has really entered the national scene.

According to associate publisher Mike Podoll, this magazine provides “X” and “O” information for the AAU coach, as well as in-depth instructional articles, interviews with key hoop people nationwide, and a wealth of material for all AAU participants.

In addition, the magazine provides interviews with key role models, such as the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, who were former AAU stars.

AAU members received the inaugural issue in February. Summer issues will be available May 14, 2009.

In the past, my chief complaint about all this spring and summer AAU basketball was the caliber of coaching.

Far too many parents were getting involved in AAU coaching with the result being a lot of rolling out the ball and hollering at refs.

No more, say the magazine people.

Coaches now have a nifty coaching guide. Published four times a year, this one is impressive.

With everything from specific drills to set offenses and defenses, “The Real AAU Basketball” may be just what the doctor ordered to bridge the proverbial gap between free-lancing to organization in the AAU coaching setting.

Published by the famous “Winning Hoops” magazine people of Brookfield, Wis, this one is sure to be a hit.

According to senior editor, Mike Austin, “‘The Real AAU Basketball,’ is your coaching resource.”

Interested parties may find out more about the new AAU publication by contacting www.winninghoops.com, or calling Mike Podoll at (262) 782-4480.

30-Second Time Out

I caught some of the World Baseball Classic on TV over the weekend. The WBC is not drawing big crowds at all venues, but it certainly is gaining steam in a lot of baseball circles.

I’m guessing that the majority of major league managers think that the WBC stands for “Worry But Cheer,” and are proud of their teams’ Classic participants but worried about injury.

Red Sox participants Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia have served their country well thus far.

Regular season play in baseball can’t come soon enough for my money.

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