Frequently Asked Questions
When does the season start and end?
Practices for our league typically begin in early November and games begin in early December. The season is over for most players in late February or the first week of March, however playoffs can extend the season an additional 1-2 weeks for some players.
The registration website says that I live outside the geographic boundary for the league. What should I do?
The geographic boundary for our league is synonymous with the Spring-Ford School District boundary. So, if you live in the SF school district, you’re fine. However the Google Maps software used in the registration system is a bit sensitive, and does make some mistakes. If you get a message in error, please don’t be alarmed. This error notice will not stop you from registering your child; it simply flags your registration for league administrators. If "flagged", league administrators will conduct a further investigation and contact you if there is a problem. If you live outside the SF boundary, your child is not eligible to play Travel basketball for our league. However, if you live outside our boundary, you may be permitted to play in our Rec/Intramural league so long as there is available space.
Can I request for my child to play with a friend/neighbor? Can I request a specific coach?
Our league is proud to serve more than 1,250 kids each season. However organizing a league with this many children requires a tremendous amount of time and organization from our dedicated volunteers. Such requests would only make that task even more difficult. Additionally, we strive for competitive balance within our divisions, and special requests can, in many circumstances, alter the balance of talent for teams within a division. Lastly, our goal is to be fair to all of our league members. So, given the unlikely ability to accommodate requests from 1,000+ kids, and thus being unfair to some and not others, our league policy is to not accommodate any special requests to play with another player, or to play for a specific coach. Note: if your child has had a bad experience with a specific coach, a request can be made to keep your child off of that coach’s team so as to avoid another potential conflict. This request should be made in writing (e-mail) to a member of the League’s Board of Director or the Division Commissioner, and is subject to league approval.
Can I designate more than 1 conflict night per week?
We understand that kids today are often very busy, and involved in multiple sports or other extra-curricular activities. However, our league serves more than 1,250 kids each season, and organizing a league with this many children requires a tremendous amount of time and organization from our dedicated volunteers. Such requests would only make that task even more difficult, if not impossible. Therefore we limit the number of designated conflict nights to 1 per child.
My son/daughter is a very good player and I’d like to challenge them more – can they "play-up" with an older age group?
Like almost all sports, the distribution of talent in basketball lies along a bell-shaped curve – a few really good players, a few players that struggle compared to their peers and a whole lot of kids in the middle. That said, league officials understand and accept that a few kids each year may be extremely talented. However, in the opinion of the league Board of Directors, just because a particular player may be very talented (maybe even the best player in their division) doesn’t justify a need to "play-up." The league policy is supported by the following reasons:
1. Given the limited number of positions available at each division, a child "playing-up" may be taking a spot from another child that is rightfully designated for a specific age-group who would be ineligible to play down. For example, a 4th grader wants to play-up to the 5th Grade division. If allowed, the 4th grader would be taking one of the available spots in the division away from an eligible 5th grader. However that 5th grader wouldn’t be allowed to play down with the 4th grade division.
2. If the best player in every division played-up, then some new player would in-turn now be the best player in the division. Over some period of time, that new "best player" might also like to play-up, thus starting a seemingly endless cycle.
3. No matter how good a player may be, there is always room for improvement that isn’t dependent upon division assignment.
4. SF Youth Basketball is a community organization that has rules in place that best serve the general membership. That said, other basketball opportunities (ie. AAU teams, etc.) exist for challenging the very best players, and can be accessed by those that seek such opportunities.
So the bottom line is that someone has to be the best player in each division. If that happens to be your child, be thankful that your child is so fortunate and let them enjoy the experience.
What is the difference between the Travel League and the Rec/Intramural League?
From a league standpoint, there is little to no difference in the priority assigned to each group. In fact, due to the sheer number of teams and players in the Rec/Intramural league, it requires far more resources to organize than does the Travel league. Each of the leagues offers tremendous opportunity for kids to learn the game of basketball and to improve their overall skill level. Therefore, the primary differences are the time commitment and the level of competition, although there are also differences in cost and skill level.
In the Travel league the level of competition is generally higher than at the Rec league since you’re playing against some of the most skilled players from area leagues throughout Montgomery, Bucks and Delaware counties. Because of that increased level of competition, a higher level of commitment is required of both players and parents. That commitment can be in the form of the following:
- More practices time (typically 2/week for travel vs. 1/week for Rec)
- Travel time to games (ie. some travel games may be up to 60 miles away)
- Number of games (average travel team will play 20-25 games whereas Rec teams play 10-14)
- Cost (travel costs ~$400-$500/player while Rec costs $100/player)
- Additionally, given the higher level of competition and the limited availability of Travel Team spots, players are required to try-out for a travel team unlike the Rec league where all players are allowed to participate regardless of skill level
The registration website is stating that my 2nd grader (boy) is eligible for the 3rd grade Travel Team or the registration website is stating that my 3rd grader (girl) is eligible for the 4th grade Travel Team – is that correct?
Yes, that is correct. Although we don’t allow players to "play-up" we do allow kids to try-out for a Travel team if there is no Travel team in their age group/grade. So, since boys travel teams start in 3rd grade, we do allow 2nd graders to try-out for the team. Likewise, since girls travel teams start in the 4th grade, we do allow 3rd graders to try-out for the team. However, only in very rare circumstances are these younger kids physically and mentally prepared for this challenge, and so we strongly recommend that parents consider the impact of potentially not being selected to the team on the long-term psyche of these young players. Lastly, it should be noted, that if a younger player were selected for a team, the following year (if they chose to play travel basketball) they would be required to try-out for their current "age/grade-appropriate" team. For example if a 3rd Grade girl were selected to play on the 4th Grade travel team, the following year that same girls would only be eligible for the 4th grade team, not the 5th grade team. The same holds true for boys.
Does the Rec League have an "All Star" program for the better players?
A few years ago, the league started a post-season Skills-and-Drills program at the younger divisions (Grades 1-4) which we named March Madness. This program is designed to give additional training to some of the children that have shown a higher level of proficiency for the game. The program is organized by the respective Division Commissioner, but focuses mainly on building skills that are used during the game of basketball (ie. dribbling, shooting, boxing out, rebounding, defensive stance, etc.). Typically, the program runs for 3 weeks in mid-March with 2 practices per week. Selection to the March Madness program is conducted by recommendations from a player’s coach to the Division Commissioner. The number of spots in the program varies from year-to-year since the program is completely dependent upon additional volunteer support of our coaches, but historically each Rec team Head Coach is allowed to nominate 2-3 players for inclusion into the program. The criteria for selection are based not only on basketball skills, but other factors such as basketball aptitude, sportsmanship/player attitude and coachability.
Some of the older divisions (ie. 5th Grade and above) do conduct an end-of-season intra-divisional "All-Star" game, but these games are held at the discretion of the respective Division Commissioner.
How are team assignments determined in the Rec League?
At the conclusion of each season, each Rec League Head Coach is required to provide an evaluation on each of their respective players. This information is held in strict confidence and shared only with the Division Commissioner and the Supervisor of Rec Basketball. In the following season, this information is further analyzed to group kids into similar skill sets and conflict nights. These groupings are then provided to coaches who select their teams in a player drafts that are held in mid-October. We believe this to be a fair and equitable system.
Is Spring-Ford Youth Basketball an AAU sanctioned organization?
No. Spring-Ford in not an AAU program.
Is Spring-Ford Youth Basketball affiliated with the Spring-Ford School District (SFSD)?
No, our league is an independent organization with no official ties to the SFSD. Therefore we receive no funding or administrative support from SFSD to run our league. Moreover, we pay for gym space rental and all equipment to facilitate our league activities. However we do enjoy a good-standing relationship with the school administration and we look to emulate the same values as the SFSD Athletic programs. We are fortunate to have access to SFSD’s fine facilities, and all of our players and parents should remember that we are guests of the SFSD while in these facilities, and should treat them with the greatest respect.
How are players evaluated for Travel Teams?
Try-outs for travel teams occur at designated times prior to the start of the season (usually mid-October). Players are evaluated during 3-4 sessions whereby the players participate in drills and simulated games (3v3 and 5v5) under the supervision of the "A" team head coach, and several other head coaches from other teams/divisions. This is done to offset any potential bias (good or bad) that a head coach may have to former players, or friends, etc.. Following the 3-4 scheduled evaluations, the panel of coaches meet to discuss the players and to come to consensus on the selection of the ten players to make up a proper team (ie. a few good ball handlers, a few taller players to play on the post, etc.). During this evaluation it is a collaborative process between the panel of coaches. In fact, the head coach is only permitted to pick their top 5 players. The subsequent 5 remaining players must have the agreement of a majority of the remaining panel of coaches in order to be awarded a spot on the team. This is done to try and provide the fairest possible system to evaluate the kids while getting multiple opinions on their performance. Players who choose to try-out for a travel team are evaluated solely on their performance during the evaluation sessions. Historical performance is generally not considered except in rare situations (ie. injury, etc.) that receive prior approval from the Director of Travel Basketball. It should be noted that some kids perform well under the pressure of try-outs while others simply do not. Unfortunately, it’s the best and fairest system that we have to be able to evaluate kids against their peers. So prior to sending your kids to try-out, please remember to keep in mind the pressure that they may be putting themselves under, and please don’t add to it. Kids do their best when they just go out and have fun, hustle and play as hard as they can – fast and loose.
What league does your travel program participate in?
Our travel teams participate in the Inter-County Basketball League (ICBA). More information can be found on the ICBA website http://www.icbabasketball.com/
Why do we have an 8 year old travel team for boys, but not for girls?
The ICBA does not currently have enough interest from its member organizations to field team at the Girls 8 year old age group. If that changes in the future, the Board will certainly consider adding a team for our 8 year old girls. Page 6
When are Travel games played?
Since we do not control the Travel game schedule (it is managed entirely by the ICBA), the days that games are played can vary. For the most part, home Travel games are played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Likewise, most other travel programs play their home games on weekends also. However some programs only get gym space on weeknights. So it is not unusual to have an away game on a weeknight.
When are Rec games played?
Rec league games are usually played on the weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) with most games played on Saturday. During the playoffs, or for make-up games resulting from weather-related cancelations, games may be scheduled during the week.
Does your league have minimum playing time rules?
Yes. In our Rec league, players in grades 1-8 are required to play half of a regulation game. For overtime games, coaches have the freedom to play whichever players they desire. For the oldest Rec league division, playes are required to play 1½ quarters. For our Travel program, we strive to have players on the 8, 9 and 10 year old teams play ½ or close to half the game. For all other travel divisions, our standard is to play all kids at least 1 quarter of the game. However in both the Travel and Rec leagues, these rules are subject to reasonable exceptions of the coach (ie. availability /participation in practice, adherence to team rules, player injury, etc.).
How does your league handle discipline issues?
Our league has a strict Code of Conduct policy for coaches, players and parents/spectators that can be found on our league website. When registering for our league all parents are required to accept the terms of this agreement, and those terms are not otherwise open to negotiation. In simple terms, misbehavior from league participants (ie. coaches, players) or spectators will not be tolerated. The expectation of all participants and spectators is a demonstration of good sportsmanship and respect for the fellow teammates, the opposing players/coaches and the referees. NO EXCEPTIONS. Although it is not the fun part of our job, if and when the Board learns of inappropriate behavior, we will investigate and punish any and all persons involved. The punishments could include loss of gym admittance privileges and expulsion from the league. It’s very simple, these are kid’s games, let’s keep that in perspective before we say or do something we might regret later – it’s not worth it!
What are the rules regarding players/coaches/spectators who receive technical fouls?
As previously mentioned, discipline and sportsmanship are paramount to SFYB. Although the Board understands that technical fouls can be viewed by some to be subjective, we nevertheless have little tolerance for behavior that results in technical fouls. So although an offending party might feel that they were unjustly penalized with a technical foul, the Board is less interested in the explanation of the circumstances and more likely to side with the officials making the ruling. In short, no one has ever received a technical foul for sitting quietly on the bench. The referees are in charge, and it is our duty and obligation as players/coaches/fans to respect that authority and to demonstrate good sportsmanship no matter the situation. Therefore the rules for technical fouls as a result of behavior/language/antics/etc. will be as follows:
- 1st technical within a season will result in a warning to the respective player/coach/fan
- 2nd technical within a season will result in a 1 game suspension for the respective player/coach/fan
- - 3rd technical within a season will result in a suspension for the remainder of the season for the respective player/coach/fan
Note: these rules are not applicable for technical rule violations (ie. too many players on the court, illegal defense, calling too many time-outs, etc.).
It is the duty of the coaches of a team involved with any technical foul to report the technical to the VP of Basketball Operations, Division Supervisor and commissioner within 24 hours of the event, or risk further sanctions.
What does the league do to ensure proficiency of your coaches?
First, we should acknowledge our appreciation for the service of our many volunteer coaches. For without them your son/daughter may not have a team, and we wouldn’t have a league. And, unlike some youth sports organizations, we do not pay our coaches. We are a 100% volunteer league. Our coaches come from all sorts of backgrounds – some with a ton of basketball experience and knowledge, and others with little more than a good heart and a desire to try and help. So each year we provide coaches clinics to try and build upon the proficiency of our stable of coaches. Additionally, we have other resources (ie. training DVD’s, website resources, other coaches that can attend a practice to help, etc.) that are available to our coaches. So we do our best to give everyone a opportunity to increase their knowledge of basketball training, but a lot rests on the individual coaches desire and willingness to utilize these resources. At the end of the day, we never have enough volunteers, so despite any shortcomings a particular coach may have, he/she is still a far better alternative than no coach at all. And remember, if you think you can do a better job coaching, please let the Board know and I’m sure we can find a team for you to coach.