Frequently Asked Questions about the Panthers

What is AAU?

AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union. The AAU is a national organization based in Lake Buena Vista, FL , that is the one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States . The AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness, such as with the basketball program where The Panthers compete. The National AAU is divided into districts around the country. The Panthers compete in the Mid Atlantic District.


Who are the Chester County Panthers?

The Chester County Panthers organization is one of the fastest growing Grassroots AAU Basketball Programs in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Our directive is to field a highly competitive team that will participate in Regional and District Tournaments. Team members will receive the maximum amount of exposure to other venues in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.  Our goal as an organization and team is to develop our reputation by striving for athletic excellence while growing the student / athlete to deliver a well rounded individual for potential college play.

What makes Chester County Panthers special?

Our dedication to the children, who give their time and effort towards the game. Our commitment towards delivering competitive quality play, while developing the student / athlete mentally and physically. Our focus to ensure that the student / athlete enjoy what they are doing, thereby instilling a competitive spirit while growing their desire to continue their athletic endeavors.

What are the goals of the Panthers organization?

Commitment, Dedication and Competition.

We want our athletes to develop as good basketball players and outstanding young individuals. We want the players to have fun, we want them to be competitive and strive to win and we want them to be dedicated to continue to move forward. Finally, we want our players to be committed. Committed to improve their skills and developing their competitive spirit thus solidifying important characteristics by challenging them to strive and succeed to excellence.

Panthers Coaches and Mentors.

The club maintains a policy that coaches, mentors and volunteers be of high moral character, uphold the ethics of coaching standards as put forth by AAU,  at all times maintain respect for the referees and  AAU administration, maintain the attitude of putting the young ladies first in all their activities associated with the team and understanding that although being competitive is important it is not as important as the children who play.

All coaches are required to have basic medical kits available for the team at each tournament, which would include items such as ice packs, tape, ace bandages as well as maintain a safe storage area for any player that may need their personal medical treatments during a tournament.

Finally, Panther coaches will maintain the attitude that it is “for the student / athlete’s” benefit that their team competes, and that they must create and maintain the spirit of T.E.A.M. “Together Everyone Achieves More”

How does my child make the Panthers team?

Register and come to the tryouts.  If you can not register before hand,  we will have registration forms at tryouts.  These tryouts are open to any young player from Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and South New Jersey area who is born in the appropriate year. The Panthers have open tryouts starting in late January to early February. The team will be selected based on tryouts conducted by coaching staff who have donated their time.  Each player is encouraged to make both tryouts so that they may be evaluated  fairly. Coaches may also use other settings where they have seen the player as a part of the evaluation process.

Tryout dates will be published in the local newspapers, on this website and Facebook. Please check often.

How many teams are there? How is the age group determined?

AAU Basketball has gone to a pure grade basis, with certain maximum ages for each grade.  As part of moving to the grade-based approach, all competitive age groups have gone to a “grade” name rather than an “age group” name for the competitive division.  For instance, gone are the 9-Under, 10-Under, etc. names as they are replaced with 4th Grade, 5th Grade, etc.  Age group is determined by AAU and the 2011 new grade determination date rules.       Click here to find out your age group:

Exceptions to the grade rule can be sought and granted on an individual basis through the Amateur Athletic Union Of The United States, Inc.  District & Membership Services in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Please click on the link below, print off and bring with you if you want a grade exception.

How Long is the Panthers Season?

The primary tournament season for AAU basketball is March through June. This will allow maximum exposure for the players in multiple tournaments, and give the players a chance to compete and meet teams from other areas without adversely affecting any vacation plans families may have for the summer.

The Panthers also enter into league play year round by placing teams into the Malvern League and local tournaments.

What is involved in the commitment to a Panthers Team?

AAU is competitive not recreational! Although the commitment is strong, it can bring many rewards for your athlete.
The commitment principally involves time and money. Time, because parents have to be committed to getting their player to practices and games, and money because the Panthers is a volunteer organization and parents are responsible for supporting their players’ participation financially. It is expected that a player will make all the games and practices.
Most teams practice twice a week and while conflicts always arise in any endeavor, absences can disrupt the team’s continuity and chemistry and are not fair to teammates and coaches. The key thing is to always communicate what’s going on with your child to the coaches so they can plan accordingly. Players who play a school sport can usually play AAU as well.

Participating in a competing sport during the AAU Basketball season?

The Panthers do not mind participation in multiple sports simultaneously. School sports and our program usually work out to play both.  We would like to know when a conflict does arise.  In those instances where a conflict does arise with a school sanctioned sport, we fully understand that the student / athlete has to prioritize and therefore expect that the school sanctioned activity take precedence.  AAU caliber basketball requires commitment from players, coaches, and parents.  The Panthers know that the player and parents will balance priorities to ensure adequate contribution and prevent excessive absenteeism at practices and games that can disrupt performance, team harmony and overall chemistry on the court.  The Panthers will do everything possible to participate in scheduled tournaments when other sports do not interfere. However, State and National tournaments are scheduled by the AAU and we have no flexibility on them.

What about the time involved, practices and tournaments?

Practice sessions provide time for the development of individual skills and team concepts. Defensive and offensive strategies are covered. Players are expected to learn the system during these sessions, so that game coaching can reinforce concepts and procedures that have been taught.  Practices will usually last 1-2 hours.

If my child makes an AAU team, is he/she guaranteed playing time or could he/she sit on the bench?

The Chester County Panthers will do all possible to ensure that your child participates in each tournament to develop and gain the experience he/she deserves. However, only through dedication, hard competition in practice and during games, and commitment to attending the tournaments and practices, are players assured of participating in each tournament.

Our selection process attempts to get the best players so competition for playing time is earned by player performance and effort.  All players receive playing time. The amount of time that a player receives is determined by several factors such as game match-ups, foul trouble, game and practice attitude, attendance at practices and games and commitment in displaying a solid  work ethic.


The Panthers charge an annual player participation fee that is used to defray the cost of enrolling teams in tournaments, gym rental, insurance, equipment, AAU registration, and other basic operating needs. The Panthers have managed to keep this fee very reasonable compared to similar programs. Through judicious cost management, and the contributions of its many volunteers. The Panthers understand economic conditions and will operate within its means placing no other financial burden on the player or family.

The participation fee which includes the cost of uniforms, tournament entry fees, equipment and facility leasing fees all flow back to the players and families.

The participation fee is payable at the time a player is selected. The cost of travel to tournaments (transportation, meals, and lodging) is the responsibility of each player. If the cost of participation is a concern, the Club President or Coaches may be consulted concerning alternative arrangements. If the team travels to non-local tournaments or qualifies for Nationals there would be additional costs such as travel, room and board.

Refund Policy
Refund Policy for Panthers’ Members

Panthers yearly membership fee is non-refundable. Panthers uniform fee is non-refundable. All other Panthers member fees including league, tournaments, conditioning fees are non refundable, except in the case of injury, where a doctor’s note must accompany a refund request.

Fund Raising?

The Panthers line up multiple fundraisers annually. These fundraisers can defray overall costs to the player and parents but do take participation on your part. Coaches will be responsible for their own travel arrangements so there is no additional financial burden placed upon the player or their family.