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Tampa Wardogs - Travel Team Try-Outs

Travel Basketball or AAU Basketball is the next step in a young player's development. Travel ball is a more intense and structured environment with practices and training sessions throughout the week, and games and tournaments played around the region.

Travel Basketball is expensive. Let's re-state that again - Travel Basketball is expensive.

It also is extremely time-consuming. If your son is not committed to working and training, he will fall behind and ultimately drop out or fall out of the program.

We are a "Dad-run" program. We strive to make sure the costs are as low as possible and that the experience is about the players. We want them to love to train and learn the importance of working together as a team.

We play and train a lot. This will take over most of your son's life. If that kind of time commitment does not sound appealing, travel basketball may not be for you. 

AGE AND ELIGIBILITY

We have one team playing U16 (graduating class of 2025), which is currently 10th grade. We will accept players as young as the ninth grade if the skill level is right. 

Most of our guys are playing High School basketball, so our program is not for beginners that have never played organized basketball. 

We will no longer consider development players. If a player is not competitive by 10th grade, basketball is not the sport to consider.

TRY-OUTS

There is no cost associated with trying out. We like to look at new players during a practice or training session to see where they are. We will put the players through some skill sessions to gauge if they are a fit skill-wise for our program.

During a try-out, we will explain to the players some of our basic rules and expectations of them as players. We also want them to see and experience the tempo in which we practice and train to make sure it is an ideal fit.

Fit really matters, so we are never offended if we are not the right program for a player.

We will also spend some time with parents to answer questions about the program, and how we operate.

COSTS

We try to be as transparent on the costs of the program as possible. We will also work with you on a payment structure to make sure this makes sense for all parties involved.

What is included? Our price includes two-hour practice sessions (usually Wednesdays), three-hour training sessions (usually Saturdays or Sundays), and games and tournaments.

These change from cycle to cycle based on tournament availability. Our fees also include an Annual AAU membership for the player.

We do our cycles in 12-15 week increments, based on the part of the calendar we are in.

A typical 15-week season will run between $750 and $800, depending on our local tournament schedule. If a cycle is longer the cost will be marginally more. 

Out of region tournaments may have additional costs, usually related to lodging costs.

We play and train a lot, so this is a huge time commitment.

PHILOSPHY

While some teams believe winning on Saturdays is the most important aspect of travel ball, it really is not. 

Our program focuses on several key concepts: 

Learn to train. Regardless of how far a player goes in this game, learning that hard work, effort and sacrifice are required for success is critical. We love to train. We love players that want to train. The work you put in determines the success you will have. Attending practice and training are critical to that.

Learn to play modern basketball. The game at the next level has evolved dramatically and players must understand the modern principles and concepts of game play. Which include running plays, being able to shoot and score and work together as a team.

Learn to be a great teammate. Learning how to fit in and work as a group is critical to team success whether that is in life or in sports. We have a tight nit group. We play for each other. Learning to be a meaningful part of a team is a critical life skill that will carry our players beyond the game of basketball.

Learn to be coached. Our program is very intense and passionate. We push our players to the edge both physically and mentally. Being able to accept critical coaching and direction is important at the next level. Learning how to process complex information and be productive with it matters.

Winning is the result of the work you put in. If the measure of success is how many plastic trophies you can collect, that is misplaced. The goal has to be about improving as skilled basketball players and to get better every day.

COVID

While the age group of our players puts them at limited risk, we will not take chances with our families. 

We do require that any player showing symptoms of illness stay home. We do sanitize our game balls frequently. 

All of our coaches have been fully vaccinated as have some of our players, we do encourage vaccination but do not require it. 

We have returned to playing in tournaments, including many that are out of the immediate region.

We will be playing in some larger "exposure" type events in 2022-23, these may take place in Orlando, Bradenton and Winter Haven. 

In the Spring of 20223 we will be traveling to some of the larger college exposure events in Atlanta and South Florida.

UNIFORMS

All players must purchase a uniform kit which runs $250 and is a one-time fee. Our uniforms include four different color combinations. The primary home and away kit is made by HoopCulture and includes a shooting shirt and a backpack.

Each cycle we try and supply a new piece of gear for players such as t-shirts and such.

We want our players to look good.

Our jerseys are customized with a number the player chooses (some numbers are taken) and their name.

Jerseys kits take about 15-20 days to arrive. Backpacks are a little longer.

PLAYING TIME

We do not guarantee playing time in games. We are a competitive team, and the best players will play.

We base our playing time decisions on how players train and practice, as well as how they fit together as playing units and ultimately how well they perform when we put them in games.

Players that miss practice and training will not likely play significant minutes in games.

There should be no expectation of playing in games if a player is missing practices and training, its completely a coach's decision.

The leagues and tournaments we play are "coaches discretion" games, and we will play the players that have put in the work and give us the best chance to win.

We do operate a starters and reserves model. Starters will play anywhere from 60-70% of games, reserves will play anywhere from 35-40% of games, based on how well they play and how effective they are replacing a starter.

All players are given the opportunity to play, what they do with those opportunities will ultimately determine their role.

PRACTICE

Our practice schedule is pretty locked in and intense. We expect every player to be ready to practice when it is scheduled to begin. We base our roster and playing time decisions on how our players practice and prepare.

Our team practices are three-hours in length and typically held on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. We also have weekly skill training sessions on Saturdays or Sundays. These training sessions run from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm or on Sundays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

These are subject to change based on our weekly schedule.

Our teams has been working with a private speed and strength training group called VAST Sports Performance. These sessions are typically on Thursdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and carry additional costs. While these sessions are encouraged, they are deemed optional. 

Our schedule can be found here: http://www.tampawardogs.com/ca...

TRAVEL

Live Periods are the times of year in which college coaches are allowed in tournament gyms to look at and evaluate high school level players for possible roles on college teams. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of great and competitive tournaments in our region, so we do not have to travel far to get a good game or tournament during non-Live periods.

As our players look to gain collegiate exposure we will be playing in Atlanta, South Florida and other regions where large Live Period events for college exposure take place. 

As these tournaments hit our radar, we typically discuss participation as a group and try to make sure it makes sense for everyone involved. We will do 5-7 Live Period events over the next calendar year. 

OUR CREDENTIALS

We are a "Dad-run" operation; however, we have been at this for almost seven years as a group and we have been playing at a high level for some time. The majority of our players made their middle school rosters, and their high school rosters and were highly productive. Of our core group of players, virtually 95% are playing at the high school level.

We are an accredited AAU team (W3433W) and a USSSA Basketball team (Reg#:919690270355), as well as having accreditation from USA Basketball and the Jr. NBA.

We have worked with and around some of the best NBA skill trainers in the business and our players have had the opportunity to train with some of the best skill instructors in the world as part of our program.

We routinely invite special guests to help teach the game to our players these include professional NBA skill trainers and former and current NBA players and coaches.

We are insured, not only through the AAU's Team Coverage policy but also through private liability insurance.

We would love to have your son try-out with us. If its something he has an interest in, please reach out. E-Mail Tampa Wardogs

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