How to find a Youth Basketball Tournament:
There are a few ways to find tournaments that your team can attend.
1. Websites: One of the best web sites out there is ACAhoops.com (alias AAUBB.com). ACAhoops.com has over 10,000 tournaments listed on their website in all 52 states and Canada.
Instructions on using ACAhoops website:
a) Go to the ACAhoops.com website – http://www.ACAhoops.com/
b) On the top / left hand side of the home page – Click on “Boys or Girls Tournaments”
c) Click on the State
d) List of Tournaments will come up on the screen (Print out the whole page, or just one tournament).
2. Links Menu: Go to the “Links” menu on the main page of the AVCSS Basketball Website, then to “Tournament Search” to locate tournaments at other basketball or sports websites located in this section.
3. Word of Mouth / Experience / Other Coaches: Usually after years of coaching a lot of tournament information will come from word of mouth and communication with other coaches. It may take a while but once you’ve been to your share of tournaments, it will be much easier to pick and choose the ones that you want.
What to look for in a Tournament:
1. How many games will your team be guaranteed? - Are you going to travel a long distance to play 2 games, 3 games, 4 games? It will matter, especially if you are trying to get your team some game experience.
2. What is the cost of the tournament? - This may or may not matter unless you are paying $400 for only 3 games. The typical tournament will usually cost around $250 – $325 for a 3-4 game guarantee.
3. Type of Pool play or Bracket play? – Some tournament brackets are fair and some are unfair. Here’s a type of tournament to stay away from, and one type that is “fair” to all the teams participating: (Both using a 6 team example)
* Pool Play is usually where you cannot advance to the Championship game unless you come in first in your pool. This is usually set up in two pools ( 3 teams in Pool A and 3 teams in Pool B), each team will play two games against the other teams in their Pool. Even though your team may be the one of the top teams at the tournament, you can still be playing in the consolation game because the tournament director put you in Pool A with the strongest team there, and his team (the hosting team) in Pool B with two other “weaker” teams. This type of tournament does not produce the best two teams in the Championship game but usually a very strong team vs. a typical 3rd or 4th place team playing for the Championship (all while the 2nd best team is playing a consolation game for their third game).
* A typical and very “fair” tournament is one that also has two Pools (A and B), but the main difference is that after each team plays their two games – all the teams are “seeded” and are now playing in the Championship Bracket round. Every team in this 6 team tournament will have a chance to advance to the Championship game. Now, a very good team that had a bad game in Pool play can redeem themselves (they get a second chance), and the best two teams are usually playing in the Championship Game. For example: (After Pool Play has finished) In the first round of Championship play A – 2nd Seed will face B – 3rd Seed, B – 2nd Seed will face A – 3rd Seed, and A -1st Seed, B – 1st Seed will have a “bye.” Both 1st Seeds will play the winners of the 2nd Seed vs. 3rd Seed games, with the losers playing in the the 3rd place game, and the winners playing in the Championship game. We always had the final four teams playing for trophies – the top 2 teams play for the Championships (1st place and 2nd place) , and the 3rd and 4th teams play in a 3rd Place game.
4. Will trophies be awarded to 1st, 2nd, 3rd place? The younger players get a big thrill when they see the trophies sitting on the table. So if this is important to you and your players, then make sure you ask about trophies prior to signing up for a tournament.
5. Location / Hotels / Restaurants – It’s nice to know if the hotel has a pool, are there nice restaurants nearby, how far are the gyms from the hotel, will there be a discount at the hotel?
6. How much will parents be charged admission? - Make sure you let your parents know what the admission prices will be in advance. This may or may not matter to some parents, but there may be one or two that this will matter to.
7. Traveling from the other side of the State? – Will the tournament director start your game later in the day (so you have time to travel). If your game is early on a Saturday morning, and you are traveling a good distance, you will most likely have to drive to the tournament on Friday (costing everyone the expense of another hotel room).
8. Will there be any special guests or appearances from pro basketball players? - My daughters have been to a few basketball tournaments where there were “special guests” attending. Although we may not have won all our games at these tournaments – the fact that the players got to talk to and take pictures with a famous WNBA star made for one great (and lasting) memory…
Alexis got to meet and take a picture with this famous WNBA star (Diana Taurasi) at a tournament her AAU team attended.
Hopefully the information above will assist you with finding a tournament and choosing the right one to attend. Just remember that not all tournaments are alike, and some will be run a lot better than others. Good Luck!