Saturday, April 30, 2011

Youth Basketball: The climb to an AAU National Championship (Part 4)

My daughter, CC and her team are making a run at a AAU Division I National Championship. I am following the process through this series of blog posts.
  • (Part 1) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship -Registration Process
  • (Part 2) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship -Tournament Qualifying Process.
  • (Part 3) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship -The Super Regional Step
  • (Part 4) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship - Tips and Tricks 1

AAU Basketball Championship Tip

If you are on the sidelines helping the team as a coach, trainer or scorekeeper you are required to wear a collared shirt. 

The Main Point
I did not have on a collared shirt for the first Super Regional game and couldn't keep score for the team. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Youth Sports Fanatics by Nature or Nurture? (Part 2)

In November, I was interviewed by Mark Hyman, professional journalist and blogger (Youth Sports Blog) about youth sports. He asked about our obsession with youth sports. 

I told him that we're a sports family. My wife and I both come from sports families. Read Youth Sports Fanatics by Nature or Nurture? for the long history. We love sports and either by nature or nurture our kids love sports too. None of us can get enough of sports.

Here is more proof that nature might have something to do with it. I was talking to my wife's grandfather Leroy, who is 97, he told us that his father was an athlete. In fact, his father, my son's great great grand father, played professional baseball in the Mississippi Valley league in the early 1900's. Leroy told us that could have advanced further in the sport, but his parents forbade him from playing on Sundays. 

Fred Sherman Whannel - Catcher - 1910 (Left)

The Main Point

What makes this nature or nurture debate even more interesting is that my son is a catcher and his grand father (My dad) was a college catcher and based on the picture above, my son's great great grandfather was a catcher too. (Check out the glove of the player on the left above - compare the glove in the picture to these historical gloves.)

Nic - Catcher - 2010

Friday, April 22, 2011

Youth Sports: Live to Play

To succeed at youth sports your kid needs skills, dedication, fearlessness, an opportunity and some good coaching. Oh yeah I almost forgot the most important part. your kid needs to exist. I am always fascinated by all the things that needed to happen throughout history for my kids to be born.

My wife's grandfather, Leroy is 97 and I love to visit him because he is a terrific story teller. Every time we talk to him we seem to hear stories about lust for adventure and a couple near death experiences.

Today he told us about the house he grew up in on the Detroit river, the river that connects Lake Erie with Lake St. Clair. Leroy used to ice skate on the river when it froze over. One day skating alone he fell through the ice. As he was falling he put his arms out to form a T. This kept him from falling completely through. The river underneath the ice was flowing at about 4 mph so if he let go he would float way from the hole and be completely trapped under the ice. He tried to kick himself up, but the heavy skates made this seemingly impossible. He tried one last time and felt a pull from his collar as he slipped up onto the ice. He looked around to see who pulled him up. There was no one there. He told us that his belief in God was strengthened that day.

On another day, Leroy decided to skate out under a distant bridge. The ice was firm and fast on the side canals, but under the bridge the current was stronger and the ice was thinner. When he reach the bridge he fell right through the ice. He tried to pull himself back up, but could not. Each time he tried to pull him self up, the ice would break further. His only chance was to keep breaking the ice and expand the hole by punching it. With each punch the ice gave way and allowed him to get closer and closer to a bridge support. Finally, he was able to reach the bridge support and pull himself up.

Finally, on a very windy summer day, Leroy took his sail boat out onto the river. He was a master sailer and he skillfully navigated the currents and winds on that day until he notice that a rope slipped out of place on his boat. To fix the problem he had to let go of the rudder. An instant after letting go, the wind and current turned the boat and the boom from the mast swung around and knocked Leroy out of the boat unconscious. He landed on his back and floated face up. He's not sure how long he was floating before he eventually regained consciousness. He does remember that it took him a few seconds to even realize that he was in water. As soon as he did, panic replaced the relaxed unconscious state he was in and he immediately started to sink. He looked up and saw his boat 20 yards away floating down river at the same speed as he was moving. He was able to swim over and get back on the boat. I said, "wow lucky you had a life preserver on." He said, "I did not have a life preserver on, those are for sissies."

The Main Point
97 year old Leroy Whannel with his great grand kids
I watched my kids as they listened in wonder to Leroy's stories. I wondered if they understood that if Leroy did not survive these accidents that they would not be there to listen in wonder. Did I mention that Leroy was on Normandy Beach during the D-Day invasion? That is a story for another day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Youth Sports: Gatorade Become Campaign

Gatorade is running a campaign called BECOME to promote their G Series products. It's an authentic campaign that is rooted in real consumer insights. I believe that these ads will resonate with Gatorade buying moms because they beautifully illustrate the real emotional bond between moms and their little athletes. 

I like the ads, but I have to admit, I am disappointed that Dads are not featured too. The insights that make these ads so strong are true to both moms and dads. And Dads buy lots of Gatorade. 

The Main Point

Moms are planners, they buy Gatorade in bulk at the grocery, club or mass store. Dads are forgetters, they forget to get the Gatorade out of the refrigerator before the game and then need to stop at the local convenience store or concession stand to buy more. Both moms and dads are important to Gatorade. Therefore, I think that they should feature dads in their ads.

BTW - I am not paid to talk about Gatorade.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Youth Basketball: Passing Down Traditions

When I was about eight years old, my dad bought a basketball hoop. The local handy man attached the white fiberglass backboard with its orange rim right on the front of our house. It was an eyesore for all passersby to see. I'm sure my mom hated it, but my dad, an accomplished college basketball player, considered a basketball hoop a necessity.

My dad and I used to play for hours. My dad taught me the basics of basketball and taught me how to play Around-the-World, H-O-R-S-E and 5-3-1. Over time my dad taught me modified versions of the games to make them more interesting. Eventually I would teach my kids these games and we would modify them further.

5-3-1 was my favorite game.

5-3-1 Basic Rules

5-3-1 is a game that can be played with 2 or more players. Although there were plenty of times I played the game by myself pitting my right hand versus my left hand.

Each player takes a turn shooting a set of three uncontested shots; a 5 point shot from 20 or more feet out, a 3 point shot from the foul line and a one point lay up. If the player makes all three, he or she records 9 points and goes again.

If the player misses any of the three shots, the player counts up his or her points and passes the ball to the next player. The players take turns shooting their set of shots until someone scores 21 points.

The winner has to score 21 points exactly. At the end of the game, a player may need to miss a shot on purpose to avoid going over 21. To make it interesting, each shot had to hit the backboard or rim to count. If the player missed entirely or made the shot, they would go back to zero. Harsh I know (See advanced rules #3)

5-3-1 Advanced Rules 

Here are some advanced rules - you can add any one, any combination or all four of these.

1) If a player misses all three uncontested shots - the player goes back to zero.

2) Add in rebounding. Instead of shooting the 3 point shot from the free throw line and the 1 point shot as a layup, the 3 pointer is shot from the place on the court where the shooter rebounds his 5 point shot and the 1 pointer is shot from the place the shooter rebounds the 3 point shot.  If the player makes the 5 point shot, the 3 pointer is taken from the foul line. If the 3 point shot is made, the player shots the 1 pointer as a layup.

3) Modify the penalty for going over 21. In the basic rules the penalty for going over 21 or shooting an air ball is harsh. The player who commits these errors reverts back to zero points. We modified the rule so that the games do not take forever. The modified penalty is to subtract the amount of points of the shot taken. For example if a player has 17 points a 5 point shot would put the player over 21. If the player made the 5 pointer by mistake or missed the rim / backboard completely they would lose 5 points and go back to 12. The same rule applies to 3 point shots and 1 point shots.

4) My son and I added a new twist to the game just the other day. We played 5-3-1 with the basic rules as described above, but instead of an uncontested layup for 1 point we allowed the other player to defend the basket. We also allowed the opponent to defend any 5 point or 3 point potential winning shots. So if the score a player had 17 points, the opponent could defend the 5 point shot, but could not defend the 3 point shot. The 1V1 element added new excitement to the game. He beat me 2 of 3 games.

The Main Point

My dad now 73
Several years ago, my dad gave me a generous gift of money. It was enough money to put up a basketball hoop in our side yard. It was the perfect use of his money.

There is a circle of life for sports. My dad passed on his knowledge of the game to me and I am teaching my kids. One day, my kids will be teaching my grandchildren. Luckily my dad passed on his basketball genes through me to my kids. I was not a great player. Hopefully they will get his height (6 ft. 5 in) too.
Great Basketball Players Skip A Generation

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Youth Baseball: Keeping Score

Keeping the book for a baseball game is so easy a 10 year old girl can do it. Literally.

My daughter loves to keep the book for her brother's games
The Main Point

There are very few parents who know how to keep the baseball scorebook. And most of the people who think they know how to do it are not very good at it. I'm not sure why because it is not very difficult to do. Keeping score is a skill that is typically passed down from father to son or daughter. My dad taught me how to keep score at Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia Phillies)

I know this is unusual, but my daughter loves to watch her older brother play baseball. Several years ago when my daughter was 8, she watched every inning of the CABA World Series. During that series, I taught her how to keep score. Last weekend, she asked if she could keep score again. I handed her the book. I was surprised at how much she remembered. After a few innings of guidance, she was flying solo.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Youth Baseball: Find a Confidence Building Coach

To succeed in baseball you need skills, knowledge, passion, a short memory and the most important ingredient, confidence.

My son had all of these ingredients until last year. Last year, my son struggled and I blame myself because I saw it coming.

My son enjoyed three years of success playing under a task master head coach who taught him the game and an assistant coach who built his confidence. After the 2009 season, the confidence building assistant coach left the team. Unfortunately, he left with little notice so we didn't explore options. 

Prior to the 2010 season, my wife and I were very concerned about my son's baseball psyche without the assistant coach there to counterbalance the head coach. Sure enough, Nic had the worst season of his career and 2010 turned out to be a long painful season to endure as predicted. There were some bright spots during the year, like Nic's first home run over a fence in Noblesville Indiana and the entire Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament. Despite these highlights my son still contemplated quitting the game that he loved so much once. 

Luckily, I persuaded my son to tryout for other teams for the 2011 season. During the tryout process,  coaches saw his potential, his leadership and his knowledge of the game. All of them were complimentary. The tryout process was the first step back to a confident state of mind. 

During the tryout process, we interviewed coaches with as much scrutiny as the coaches were evaluating my son. We were in search of a confidence building coach. We not only found a confidence building coach, but we found an entire coaching staff who would provide a positive environment. We jumped at the opportunity.

My son played fall ball with the new team and struggled in the beginning. His self-confidence was still low, but the confidence that the coaching staff had in my son was still sky high. By the end of the fall ball season, my son was hitting the ball hard and was looking forward to the spring season.

Single over the SS
Returning to the Field after a 3 Run Double
This weekend, playing against some of his old teammates who were now scattered among other teams, he enjoyed success again. In the semi-final game of the tournament he had 6 RBIs. He did it by getting back to his old style of hitting the ball the other way. 

My son also played a flawless second base (when he wasn't catching). When my son asked his previous coach if he could earn a chance to play second, the coach chuckled and told my son that he is not an infielder. He completely dismissed him.

It was a thrill for me to watch my son this weekend. I got to see his contagious smile and his geniune love of the game again. 

The Main Point

Quick word of advice. Find a coach who builds confidence and run away from a coach who erodes it. I was an idiot for not finding a better situation for my son last year.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Youth Sports: The Parent / Coach Dynamic

Some select youth sport clubs have rules that prohibit parents from being the coach of their kid's team. I guess they have this rule in place because the parent / coach dynamic is very tricky. I have seen some coaches who are great at the balancing act and others who were epic failures. I have played a starring role on both sides.

I have three kids who have played on countless teams for countless coaches so I have seen it all. Currently, my daughter's elite soccer team and AAU basketball team have paid non-parent coaches. My son's select baseball team has a paid trainer, but the head coach and all the assistant coaches are parents of players on the team.

Here are the most common coach / parent scenarios.

  1. The parent / coach thinks his son or daughter is better than he or she really is and favors them. They play their kid at all the choice positions and give them lots of playing time while the rest of the players and their parents boil with resentment.
  2. The parent / coach favors their son or daughter who happens to be the best on the team. The parent / coach plays their kid at all the choice positions and gives them a disproportionate amount of playing time. The rest of the team reluctantly accepts this because the kid has earned the playing time and positions and they want to be a part of a winner. The parents do get upset when the star player / coaches kid is still playing in a game that the outcome is all ready determined. (i.e. If a football team is up 28 - 0 and the coach is calling plays for the star quarterback so he can get his 5 TD of the game.)
  3. The parent / coach has unrealistic expectations of his own son or daughter and treats them poorly. I couldn't wait for my older son to play baseball, the game I loved. My oldest was a good athlete and had a great arm. He, however, was not good at baseball. It turned out that he had / has ADHD and the slow game of baseball just couldn't capture his attention. Not knowing anything about ADHD or that he even had it at the time, I was infuriated by his lack of focus, hustle and ability to learn the fundamentals of the game. I was overly harsh toward him. The other kids and parents loved me as a coach, but I was a terrible coach for my son. I was young, stupid and overly concerned about winning and stats. Luckily, I have matured as a coach. Since this low point in my coaching career, I have seen many coaches treat their own kids poorly and it makes me cringe because it reminds me about my own stupidity as a young coach.
  4. The parent / coach wants to look unbiased so they treat their very deserving kids unfairly. (i.e. They bat a their son low in the batting order when he deserves to bat at the top)

Coach Lokar from the Positive Coaching Alliance developed 25 tips for the Parent / Coach. These were  featured in a three part series on

The New Apprenticeships - Playing for Coach-Dads & Coach-Moms 

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two (Tips 1 to 10)
  3. Part Three (Tips 11 to 25)
The Main Point

Parent Coach U7 Soccer
It is much tougher to coach a team when one of the players is your own kid. It can be a no-win situation. 

As I mentioned above, I wasn't a very good parent / coach with my first child, but I learned from the experience. By the time I was coaching my third child I had figured out most of the tips outlined by Coach Lokar. I highly recommend that you read the 25 tips and take them to heart if you are going to be the coach your kid's team.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Youth Sports: Are you on the same page with your Kid's coach? (Part 2)

In very competitive select youth sports, many kids have a coach / coaching staff and they have a private trainer. What do you do when the two fundamentally disagree? There are two ways to handle this: The right way and the wrong way. I wrote about the wrong way yesterday.

This is the right way.

The Right Way

My son did not get off to a great start this year and he thought to himself, here we go again. The poor start was not surprising because he faced some of the best pitchers in the region in an elite pre-season tournament. It was not surprising because he was hitting in 28 degree temperatures. And it was not surprising because he was swinging violently and trying to pull everything to right field again. As a result, he was pulling off the ball and not making good contact.

After the tough tournament, I talked to my son about his approach. I told him to stop swinging so violently and just try to put the big part of the bat on the ball and drive the ball the opposite way.

During batting practice, the hitting coach for his new team (an ex-Mets AAA player) told Nic to go after it. Asked him why he was holding back. Nic had a right to be frustrated.

After the practice, I pulled the head coach and the batting coach aside. I wanted to get on the same page with them. We came up with a plan and a message track that we all agreed was the best approach. In short, we agreed that Nic should work on seeing fast balls longer and hitting them up the middle or to the opposite field. The next day, I took Nic to the batting cage and we worked on just that.

Single over SS
The first 12 ball hitting session was a pull-fest and my son didn't hit many of the balls hard. He came out of the cage frustrated. I said, "Nic you haven't changed a thing. Wait, Wait, Wait then drive the ball up the middle or to left field." He went back in and worked on waiting.  After a few rounds, it started to click. He left the batting cage facility with confidence that his old swing was coming back.

Afterwards, I email the head coach and the hitting coach with an update on the great batting session. The head coach email back a supportive message. The hitting coach left a VM on my son's phone reiterating the message track, some confidence building comments about quickness in his swing that will serve him well now, high school and perhaps beyond. Great words to hear from a guy who has had success in baseball.

Last night, Nic went 3 for 4. He hit 3 balls to the opposite field and pulled an offspeed pitch into the gap in right center field.

The Main Point

A consistent message is the key. If a kid is getting conflicting instructions from three different sources (coach, dad and trainer) than confusion will set in. Not only that, but no matter what the kid does, two of the three sources will not be happy. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Youth Baseball: Are you on the same page with your kid's coach

In very competitive select youth sports, many kids have a coach / coaching staff and they have a private trainer. What do you do when the two fundamentally disagree? There are two ways to handle this: The right way and the wrong way.

The Wrong Way

Last year, my son experienced the first slump of his life. Over 3 seasons of select baseball, he earned a lifetime .468 batting average by hitting the ball the opposite way to left field (he bats lefty). He got on base with regularity and he caused havoc on the base paths stealing 150 or so bases in 160 or so tries. This style of play earned him a spot on the All Tournament Team at the CABA World Series. Why mess with success right?

My son is not big, but has tremendous bat speed and a lot of pop in his bat. The coach of the team recognized this and wanted my son to change his approach and pull the ball more often. He was hoping that my son would hit for more power.

Admittedly, I was not opposed to this as I believe that to be a great hitter you need to hit to all fields. This approach was counter to my son's private hitting instructor who preached looking at a pitch as long as possible and hit it the other way. He believed that as my son faced faster pitchers who also had offspeed pitches, Nic would be able to drive the fastballs to the opposite field and not be fooled by the off speed pitches.

Well, my son liked the idea of hitting more home runs so followed the plan of the team's coach. He worked on pulling the ball all winter long. When last season started, he got off to a terrible start. He was pulling off the ball and making contact with less frequency. Yes, when he made contact, the ball went farther, but his average dropped significantly. As his average dropped, so did my son's confidence and this deepened the slump. The coach tinkered some more until my son was so screwed up he could not even foul the ball off.

Age 7 Hitting to the Opposite Field
We went back to Nic's private hitting coach, Coach K. Coach K is the same coach that made my son into an opposite field hitting machine from the age of 7. I spent $60 per hour over several sessions to rebuild his swing and his confidence.

What I didn't do was tell the coach what the game plan was. He was simply not the type of coach who wanted to hear a parent's point of view. I simply told my son to follow Coach K's advice. He struggled at first, but he started to come around.
Age 12  Hit...

or Miss.
The team had an indoor batting session one mid-season rainy day. The team coach was working with Nic and undoing everything that his private hitting coach had worked on just the day before. He wanted my son to try a big leg kick as he loaded.

I yelled, somewhat rudely, for the coach and told him that we're not going to do that. I was actually surprised that I spoke up. I had to look around to see if I was the one who actually yell it. But it must have been me, because the coach glared directly at me. I collected my thoughts and I told him what we were doing and what the plan was. The could tell that the coach took umbrage with my interference.

We did not get on the same page and sadly our relationship suffered. He was a great coach for three years, but the final year with the coach was a struggle for my son and for me because I was working against him instead of with him.

The Main Point

If you are going to be involved with the development of your young athlete, get on the same page as your coach. Work with your coach not against him or her.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Youth Basketball: The climb to an AAU National Championship (Part 3)

My daughter, CC and her team are making a run at a AAU Division I National Championship. I am following the process through this series of blog posts.

My daughter's 4th grade AAU team has been together since December '10. The team played up in a local winter league against 5th and 6th grade teams to prepare for the 4th grade AAU season. The girls took their lumps playing against bigger, more physical and more experienced teams, but they also won quite a few games while they gained confidence and toughness. 

The team also played in several 4th grade tournaments over the winter to gauge where they stood against their peers. These games gave CC's team a chance to work on plays without the intense pressure that older girls provided. The team won every 4th grade tournament game leading up to their eventual run at AAU Division I National Championship. In fact, they won almost every game by a margin of victory of 10, 20 and 30+ points. They were ready to start the climb to a national championship.

The AAU season started March 25th at the pre-qualifying tournament.

Pre-Qualifying Tournament

Fast Break
The Ohio AAU put on a pre-quaifying tournament the weekend of March 25th. CC's team entered the tournament to prep for the Super Regionals the following week. 

Note: Super Regionals, Districts and the National Tournaments all use a 30 second shot clock. It's highly recommended that teams who have not played with a 30 second shot clock play in a pre-qualifier to get used to the shot clock. Our 4th grade girls had never played with a shot clock before.

CC's team won all of the pool play games of the pre-qualifier including an exciting over-time victory against the host team. It was the first 4th grade team to challenge our girls. The host team then avenged their heart breaking loss in pool play to win the tournament championship game. That was the first loss of the season against a 4th grade team. I am pretty sure the team felt like the #1 UCONN women did tonight after losing to Notre Dame.

After the loss, there were no tears, but the team did leave with a feeling like they could have and should have won the tournament. After the game, the team was reminded that they would get a chance to take it back the next weekend in the Super Regionals. And they were also reminded that they would have their 5 ft. 9 in center back who missed the pre-qualifying tournament due to spring break.

Super Regionals

The Ohio District for Girl's AAU Basketball held a Super Regional Tournament this past weekend. Only 3 teams signed up for the tournament, so only one invitation to the Division I National Tournament would be awarded. (See Part 2 for National Championship Qualifying Rules) 

The pressure was on. To gain a bid for a Division I National AAU Title, CC's team needed to win the tournament and that meant beating the team that beat CC's team in the pre-qualifier.

4th Grade AAU Team
The team's center was back in action and the girls won both pool play games, but it was not easy. The pool play game against our new rival went into over time again. CC's team was victorious, but the win was meaningless because both teams would advance to the Super Regional championship game. 

The finals turned out to be a very physical game between two teams that wanted desperately to earn a Division I bid. Girls were getting knocked down and crying, coaches were yelling and fans were riding the refs. It was pure excitement and I think that we all forgot that these were just 10 year old girls playing a game that was meant to be fun. 

Super Regional Gold Metal
The lead changed hands back and forth all game long until CC's team put together some clutch shots done the stretch to pull away and win 33-24.

The Main Point

The climb to a Division I AAU National Championship is not easy. It will be a battle. I blog with unfounded confidence. I have no idea how good the teams are in other parts of the country in comparison to my daughter's team. It will be fun to watch it all unfold. Regardless of how it turns out this will be a great experience for my daughter.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Youth Basketball: The climb to an AAU National Championship (Part 2)

My daughter, CC and her team are making a run at a AAU Division I National Championship. I am following the process through this series of blog posts.
  • (Part 1) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship - Registration Process
  • (Part 2) Youth Basketball: The Climb to an AAU National Championship - Tournament Qualifying Process.

How to Qualify

There are three ways to qualify for an AAU Basketball National Tournament
  1. Place in the Top 4* of a Super Regional Tournament (* Depends on number of teams playing, see below)
  2. Place in the Top 2 of a District Qualifying Tournament
  3. Place in the Top 4 of the previous year's National Championship tournament
Step One: Find a Super Regional Tournament. The AAU website has a complete list of Super Regional Tournaments under the Events tab. Click here for the list.

Step Two: Register for a Super Regional Tournament on-line. 

My daughter's team played in the Cincinnati Super Regional
Step Three: Compete in Super Regional Tournament and win games. 
  • Teams are awarded invitations also called bids to the Division I, Division II, or Division III National Championships based on how well they finish in their Super Regional Tournament(s).
  • The number of invitations awarded to the National Championship from a Super Regional is based on the number of teams entered in the tournament. The chart below outlines the number of bids awarded.
  • All teams that receive an invitation to participate in a National Championship Tournament via a Super Regional Tournament need to play in their District Championship Tournaments to validate their bids. 
Step Five: Find a District Tournament to validate Super Regional Bid. Go to the Events tab of the AAU website for a complete list of District Tournaments. Click here for the list. (Note: At the time of this post, this link led to a coming soon message. If this is not updated yet, go to the website of your district. For a complete list of District websites click here. From your District website, you can get a list of District Qualifying Tournaments.

Step Six: Register for a District Tournament on-line. 
  • If a team qualifies for the tournament via the Super Regional but can not play in the Districts, their coach must petition the tournament committee to validate the bid. The bid may or may not be approved.
Step Seven: Compete in District Tournament and place high. 
  • The position that a team finishes in the District tournament will influence their seeding position in the National Championship. (I will cover the National Championship Draw in a future post.)
  • Note for Coaches: If you qualified your team via a Super Regional, you cannot add players for the District Tournament. If players are added your team will lose their Super Regional bid and the team will need to re-qualify via the District Tournament by placing in the top 2 teams of the division in which you want to compete.
Step Eight
  • If your team plays in a Super Regional but does not received an invitation for the Division level Tournament that the team was targeting, then that team can compete in another Super Regional.
Other Ways to Qualify
  • A team can qualify for the National Championship Tournament without competing in a Super Regional if they finish in the Top 2 of the District Qualifying Tournament for division in which they want to compete for a National Championship. (Example: A team that finishes in the Top 2 of the Division I District Tournament will automatically qualify for an invitation to the Division 1 National Championship Tournament. Teams that finish 3rd or worse, can elect to play in the Division II or III National Tournaments. A team that is trying to qualify for the Division II National Tournament needs to finish in the Top 2 of the Division II District Tournament)
  • A team that plays in the Division I District Tournament before a Super Regional and does not finish in the top 2 needs to play in a Super Regional to earn a bid. The team's finish in the District event that they played in will count for the National Championship seeding process. In effect, a team that plays in the District Tournament before the Super Regionals has pre-validated their invitation. 
  • The top four finishers in the previous year's National Championship Tournament receive an automatic invitation to the current year's tournament.
The Main Point

The easiest way to qualify for a Division I invitation is to place high in a Super Regional Tournament. Tomorrow, my daughter is competing in a Super Regional.



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