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Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star…

Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball…

by George Dohrmann

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This book follows a youth basketball coach and the team of stars he puts together. The author of the book spends years with the coach, players, and parents, conducting many interviews and observing games and practices. The reporting was engaging and enlightening. I coudn't believe how angry it made me. The coach of the team is selfish, arrogant, and manipulative. He uses his players to make money and promote his image, and dumps them when they no longer suit his needs. It is sickening. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
George Dohrman's no-holds-barred look at the grassroots basketball movement is a breathtaking piece of writing. The picture he paints of the system aimed at discovering talented children -yes, children. These players start in the system at around eight years old and serious development and scouting can start as early as ten and eleven years of age- reveals a level of exploitation that rivals gymnastics and ice skating.

The author allows that there are some success stories, but for every Kobe Bryant and Tyson Chandler, there are dozens of kids who are "hunted", dveloped for a while and who struggle to stay live in the system in the hope they will find a toehold in professional sports. Some become throwaways, others endure the brutal system so they can get scholarships.

Dohrman provides readers with more than a few heart pounding moments. Some of them will come from descriptions of the games, some from the triumphs and many from the sense of outrage at the way these children are treated. Highly recommended for anyone interested in sports, social issues pertaining to youth, and good writing. ( )
  jasfaulkner | Aug 8, 2013 |
This was extremely enlightening, but it angered me to see what happened to some of the boys. I am thinking of recommending this to some of my boyswho are interested in basketball - I already know a few who go to the different tournaments with AAU. ( )
  sriemann | Apr 1, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am a huge fan of basketball at the pro level. I had no idea, however, that recruiting started so early. The seedy world of basketball begins at a very early age and the competition to find the next big star is intense! The author does an excellent job of uncovering this side of the game and exposes dirty underbelly of this world. We often hear about this behavior in the world of football, but it appears to be more common than we want to know. ( )
  spookyspice | Apr 1, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Play Their Hearts Out is an eye-opening look at the ways the money, fame, and power in professional sports has trickled down through college athletics to infect the playgrounds of America. That sounds a bit dramatic, but honestly, I challenge anyone to read this account of an AAU basketball team in California, and the ways that the coaches use and exploit children as young as 9 or 10 years old for their own personal and monetary gain, and not be sickened. And I write that as a diehard basketball fan who hates to see what is happening to the sport I love. ( )
  rosalita | Dec 23, 2011 |
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For my parents,
who encouraged and enabled grand pursuits.
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On a clear and warm Sunday afternoon in September of 1996, a basketball game was played in the gym at Riverside Community College in Southern California.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345508602, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Each year, millions of grammar school athletes swarm fields and courts armed with little more than an infectious love for their games. These endeavors represent the purity of sport, as kids are allowed to be kids and compete outside the demands of lucrative contracts and extensive media coverage. Yet sadly, as George Dohrmann's Play Their Hearts Out demonstrates, such a paradise is fading fast in today's corporate sports world. Dohrmann provides a first-hand account of the rise of a nine-year-old basketball phenom and the grassroots programs that both helped and hindered his dreams of superstardom. To call this story a cautionary tale is to sell it short, as Play Their Hearts Out is an unflinching look at the increasing need for hype in youth athletics. Fans of the brilliant Hoop Dreams documentary are advised to add this book to their cart immediately, as Dohrmann's masterful ability to remove himself from the plotline achieves an honesty that leaves any and all judgments to the reader. --Dave Callanan

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Dohrmann's remarkable debut offers an up-close and unforgettable narrative that reveals the gritty reality hiding behind the romanticized hoop dreams of America's basketball prodigies.

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