The Truth About Playing AAU

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to find teens and even young children playing AAU sports. But what is AAU truly about?

These athletes are participating in a local club volleyball game

Eryn Rainer

These athletes are participating in a local club volleyball game

Eight o’clock, arrive at school.

Four o’clock, arrive home.

Five o’clock, go to practice.

Ten o’clock, arrive home.

A recurring schedule for some athletes. Not your typical high school athletes, but athletes striving to play not only in high school but at the next level. These are athletes who play in the Amateur Athlete Union “AAU” or club sports outside of school.

Participating in these types of extracurricular activities can be beneficial to sharpening your defensive and offensive skills, but there is also a sacrifice and a price to pay.

In 2019, Rynn Johnson, a freshman student-athlete decided to play club volleyball while participating in high school basketball. High school practice would end around five, yet club practice would start around six. She had thirty minutes to get ready after basketball as the commute to club practice was thirty minutes away.

“She would come home very tired, stressed out, not able to focus on schoolwork – but by the grace of God she was able to get it done,” Johnson’s Dad said.

Club Volleyball practices can be around an hour and a half to three hours and thirty minutes. Practices are generally two to three days a week and can be on school nights.

Imagine coming home after a long practice just to try to finish up homework and get at least eight hours of sleep, but nope you are up until midnight trying to submit an assignment on time.

Club Volleyball isn’t the only extracurricular with serious time commitments, competitive cheer is also very time-consuming for some students.

“With three-day practices for two hours and a half hours, cheer can be very stressful especially with school, but I do it because of the memories I make,” Jakayla Walker, a competitive cheerleader said.

With three-day practices for two and a half hours, Cheer can be very stressful especially with school, but I do it because of the memories I make. ”

— Jakayla Walker

Along with stress, AAU or club sports can also be expensive. USA Today reveals playing club volleyball can range from ” $8,000 to $10,00 per year, with club fees making up $4,000 to $6,000 of the cost” if the athlete is on a competitive team. Basketball can be around $5,ooo.

Along with stress and a pricey cost, AAU sports can assist student-athletes with gaining exposure or getting noticed by colleges, however, this doesn’t mean the automatic possibility of getting a scholarship. As CBS News states, “Only about 2 percent of high school athletes win sports scholarships” every year to NCAA colleges and universities, and about 2% of student-athletes play division one.