Don't Waste Your Time Getting Seen Before You Get Good

By Tyler Coston. The Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook

With special permission from PGC Basketball...

This article was submitted by Tyler Coston (more below) of PGC Basketball.

PGC summer courses are unlike any basketball experience you, or your players, have ever had. There are no stations, no wasted time, and no endless full-court games with little to no defense. Everything is done with intention. And everything happens with one goal in mind: Ensuring you and your players have the best basketball experience of your lives.

Why Play AAU Basketball?

It was a great night for High School basketball. I was in a gym packed with fans, it was a regional playoff game, and the winning team would qualify for the State Tournament. I was proud to watch the game, between the two teams playing I had trained nine of the players in the game.

They all played hard, a few played well, and in the end it was a lopsided victory for the more experienced, better coached team that made more shots...

After the game the parents of one of the guys, I had trained, approached me. They were upset. Their team had lost. Their son hadn't played much and he hadn't played particularly well, outside of a big dunk towards the end of the game.

"Tyler," they said, "We need to get Jonathan on a good AAU team this summer."

I grunted non-commitally.

They went on, "He really wants to play in college and right now he doesn't have any options. We need to find the right team and the right coach that will get him to the right tournaments. Can you help us find the right team?"

They are loving, supportive, well intentioned parents. They want the best for their son. I decided to share the truth with love, and here is what I laid out for them...

Jonathan didn't start for a team that lost by a lot in regionals.

Jonathan is a 6'5" post player.

Jonathan can't dribble by a defender or shoot well from fifteen feet.

Jonathan can't defend a wing and won't play post in college.

If a college coach did see him this summer, they would dismiss him almost immediately and not think of him again.

These are TOUGH things to hear, but they needed to be said.

AAU Elite team

Jonathan needs to get GOOD before he even thinks about getting SEEN. Jonathan needs to spend 2–3 hours a day training his skills. He needs to be able to face the basket and beat a defender 1 on 1. He needs to be able to consistently make threes and elbow jumpers. He needs to be able to defend perimeter players. He needs to be able to pass and make plays at speed. He DOES NOT need to get seen by college coaches until he gets good.

Let's do some math. If Jonathan gets on a "good" AAU team and travels to a viewing tournament somewhere, he will probably invest five days in that one tournament between all the travel, games and useless hours sitting in a hotel or in a van. Over those five days he will probably play five games. The average high school player that isn't the star or point guard has the ball in their hands 1 minute and 47 seconds per game. In those five games he will have the ball in his hands against good competition doing something that makes him better a grand total of 10 minutes. 10 minutes!


If Jonathan chose instead to stay home during those five days he could have spent those five days like this:

Morning Basketball Training:
  • 40 minutes lifting
  • 1 hour basketball shooting
  • 20 minutes ball handling

Afternoon Basketball Training:
  • 1 hour basketball shooting
  • 20 minutes footwork
  • 20 minutes ball handling
  • 20 minutes agility training
  • 1 hour pick up games.

That is 5 hours per day!


If you are good, a college coach will find you.

Don't waste time nearly every weekend this summer trying to get seen when you are not yet good enough. Get good first, then get seen. Play pick up with players that are better than you, do things you don't get to normally do on your team. Stretch yourself to do things others won't.

Quote: "It is insane to keep doing the same things and expect different results."

Now, with all that being said, there is a place for AAU. Being on a team with better players that push you to be better has some value.

Just getting on a good AAU team will not get you a scholarship or a jump shot. Just playing against better players will not make you a college basketball player. The only way to get that opportunity is to do the painful, boring work in the dark where no one is watching or motivating you. Only then will you be seen in front of the lights. There are no shortcuts. The truth is this.

Go and do your work to get good. Don't waste your time thinking about how you will get seen.

WATCH MORE: Dena Evans: A Key to Greatness

About Tyler Coston

A full-time course director and clinician with PGC Basketball, Tyler first attended PGC Basketball in 1998 and was instructed by Dick DeVenzio. In 1999, Tyler led Lynden Christian High School to the Washington State Championship and earned first-team All-State honors. He went on to play university basketball at Trinity Western University, where he was named to the Canada West All-Rookie team. He then transferred to the University of Alberta and helped lead the Golden Bears to Canada West Gold and a spot in the national tournament in 2004.

From 2005-2007, Tyler coached the women's basketball team at Trinity Western University while simultaneously running a skills-development program that produced five Division I athletes. Becoming joining PGC full-time, he served as an Assistant Coach at Portland State University. During his first year at Portland State, the Vikings won the Big Sky Conference with an overall record of 23-8. After Portland State captured the Big Sky Conference tournament, they went on to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to the eventual 2008 champions, the Kansas Jayhawks.

Tyler and his wife Stephanie live in Bellingham, Washington, with their two daughters Kody (3) and Charlie (7 months).