Program Information / Questions — (rev. 4/05, rev/ 11/07)
Who are the Philadelphia Belles?
The Philadelphia Belles, Inc. is an non-profit incorporated company registered in the state of Pennsylvania since 1978. The company was established to provided an educational experience through sports participation. The company, Philadelphia.Belles, Inc., is not a part of the AAU, US Junior Nationals, Blue Star Basketball or any other sports organization. It is a separate company! The company is run by a board and has to submit financial data to federal and state governments. The Belles is a sports company not a team or club. The Philadelphia Belles has a club program which supports teams that participate in various tournaments, events, and competitions.
What do the Philadelphia Belles do?
The Philadelphia Belles Girls Basketball program, run by the Philadelphia Belles, Inc., is open to participation by all female athletes between the ages of 5 and 19 years. The Philadelphia Belles Girls Basketball program forms teams that participate in the AAU and U.S. Junior Nationals, give clinics, skill sessions and development programs to help the athlete aspire to the best of their ability. The major goal of the program is development. When a player comes into the program, they leave a better player, hopefully a college scholarship player. Besides competition, the Belles require each player to participate in skill development clinics and sessions. These skills are then enhanced through proper coaching and competition set up by the Belles coaching staff. The Belles program/teams participate in many events and tournaments.
Why So Many Trips / Tournaments?
The reason for all the travel is Exposure, Competition, Exposure. With the AAU Association-level tournaments (weekend events in Sept, Oct, March, Apr., June), U.S. Junior National Championships (in July) and AAU Nationals (in July), the players are participating in all the major tournaments that afford the best competition and exposure to the NCAA college coaches. The colleges can only watch during set times of the year. The Belles participate in programs during those periods. Some events are outside this periods and are done to prepare the players and teams for those observations events. The process of exposure is critical for gaining a college scholarship. The more they can see and evaluate the player, the better opportunity to gain a scholarship. The competition enhances the player’s ability through constant high level challenges in basketball. All these events help the player improve.
What should I expect from the Program?
Only the best competition, exposure, coaching and tradition. The Belles have won 15 National Championships, over half of all the AAU Association championships since 1976, five times as many as the next highest winning AAU program. The Belles is the only program that plays a national schedule of games against teams from around the East Coast and across the country. The Belles is the only program that is invited to the two premier invitational events of the spring (Boo Williams) and summer (U.S. Junior Nationals). No other program from the Delaware Valley participates in these events. Belles play in these events against the other elite programs. These programs/events are the apex in girls basketball and attract a majority of college recruiters to view players for scholarships. Since the Belles is the only program in the Delaware Valley area invited to these events, it gives those members a head-start, and premier advantage over other players from other programs. Through our skill development and competition program, the player advances to the next level of competition and self-confidence. Plus we a Charter Member of the E.G.B.A.
What is the Recruiting Process?
The college coaches offer scholarships (NCAA D-I, D-II, NAIA, JUCO) to those athletes they feel will enhance their program. They choose who they will give a scholarship to over the course of their observations at various tournaments, games, events and camps. With the years of experience of the Belles staff, we have put together the most aggressive and extensive program of competition to give the player the most visibility available to them. We key our participation to those events that give maximum exposure. College coaches are attracted to events that offer a high level of competition and many teams with high skill levels. The Belles focus on these types of events. Again, the Belles, through years of competition with other programs across the United States have become one of the premier programs to participate in the exclusive invitational spring/summer tournaments. With the numerous exposures it helps the athlete understand the requirements needed to gain a scholarship, see the type and level of play that is required to gain a scholarship, and let the college coaches see that player develop over the years through many events. During their rising-sophomore and rising-junior summer the Belles guide the athlete into the recruiting process (contacts, letters, list of schools). The college recruiting process may not happen for all participants. The initial goal of the program is development. It is our desire to have the athlete take advantage of the scholarship possibility. If an increase of skills, confidence and ability can help the athlete have a successful high school career and possibly open the way onto the college level (whether they play or not), we have accomplished our goal.
Who plays for the Philadelphia Belles?
A lot of great players, a lot of player who will be great, a lot of player who were great and went on to college. It is open to all female athletes. We are always looking to bring athletes into the program who understand the level of commitment and skill work that it takes to be a good player. Some players can not play for the Belles because this commitment is too much. That is okay. Those players and parents who support a strong desire to advance and get better find the Belles a rewarding experience. The Belles have had numerous players win awards and honors from Player of the Year to High School All-Americans. On the average, at least 3 to 7 Philadelphia Belles players a year have been selected Street & Smith pre-season All-America each year since its inception in 1976. Many former players have entered the high school and college coaching ranks. Crysal Langhorne (2004) and Crystal Goring (2005) were first team all-USA Today selections.
How do the Philadelphia Belles fit into the Recruiting Process?
It gives the parent and athlete at an early age, a glimpse into the process of player development, the college recruiting process and the world of high level competitive basketball. The Philadelphia Belles is the extra edge for those parents and players who wish to develop to the best of their ability. As there are special schools, elite academies and tutors for students, the Belles is the best program to ensure proper development and opportunity for the player. The history and tradition of the program lend to knowledge and access that other programs don’t have. The Belles can be the added advantage needed to reach that goal in basketball. We recognize that there are smaller and closer programs to your house but being a part of the Belles is a special effort for that special player.
What Decisions do I face?
As a parent of a young player with potential you may be bombarded with other offers to participate on other teams. Some other team are similar to the Belles, but do not have the level of competition or experience. If you have a young player, deciding when to start may be the toughest decision you face at this junction. We encourage you to start now. With over 30 years of experience and operation we have found that the start point for the better players is now between 5th and 7th grade. While this may shock some parents, this is how advanced the girls/womens game has become. The most important years of basketball development in the girls side is between the ages of 10 and 15. At the age of 15 the players usually know what level they can compete at and the level of commitment it takes to become a good player. The other tough decision is the provide the support for the player. That support is through a commitment to be at practices, tournament and events. While we understand that each family has its own schedule, we provide a very competitive schedule of practices and games. We encourage all parents, if possible, to be involved with their child and the team. We may be a little-farther to travel to but no other program offers the level of development and exposure as the Belles. We hope you make that positive step now.
What should you Do?
You do what is best for your daughter, period. If you feel that the Philadelphia Belles Girls Basketball program can give you and your daughter the opportunity to advance through basketball then the decision is made. You, as a parent want to give your daughter the best opportunities possible. The Philadelphia Belles is that vehicle of opportunity. We ask that you come down, watch, participate and ask questions of our players, their parents and the staff in helping you make the best choice. We hope you Join!
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