What's the difference between GBA's "travel" and "rec" programs? Which one should I register for?
Registration for the 'travel' program opens in mid-summer, before we open registration for the 'rec' program in September. The 'travel' program requires boys & girls in grades 5-8 to tryout for a limited number of available roster spots. This program is a substantially greater time commitment for familes, as there are often 4 activities each week. About 150 kids play in the travel program.
The 'rec' program is GBA's most popular program, and their are about 1,500 boys & girls in grades 3-12 involved. There are no tryouts (but some leagues require assessment sessions in order to properly place kids on certain teams).
Your child is welcome to register for either program. Typically, players who desire a more intense experience and are willing to tryout knowing they may or may not be offered a roster spot will register for travel.
What can my child expect from the tryout?
The tryout process endeavors to evaluate individual and team basketball skills. Players can expect to be evaluated on shooting, ball handling, rebounding, passing, defense, etc. Players will scrimmage as well. Tryouts are expected to involve two sessions. Some players may be advised at the end of the first session that they are not candidates for selection, and other players will be invited to attend the 2nd session.
Candidates' fitness level should be adequate to allow them to fully participate in all drills and scrimmages.
What is GBA Travel looking for in a player?
Basketball ability is a significant consideration. However, other significant factors could be the player's size, hustle, speed, tenacity, instincts, etc. In other words, it is entirely possible that a player with less developed basketball skills than another could be selected if the evaluators project that the player's potential warrants their selection. We strongly encourage all boys and girls to not assume they won't be selected, particularly due to underdeveloped basketball skills. Our goal is to develop those skills in players that have the potential.
How far do teams "Travel"?
The average drive to a road game is 20 minutes. Some rides can be as long as 45 minutes, some can be 10 minutes. No out of state games
What is the weekly time commitment?
2 practices per week. Because of uneven gym allocations to us, we do not offer a set day of week schedule (e.g., every Tues/Thurs)...this can make family scheduling of activities challenging. More often than not, teams play a game on both Saturday and Sunday.
Who does the evaluating?
Experienced GBA Travel administrators and their helpers.
Can my child try out for a team older than his/her grade?
No, there is no "playing up" contemplated in the team selection process, regardless of the skill level of the younger player. It is possible that an insufficient number of qualifed candidates tryout for a team, and GBA may consider an exception to this rule. There may be other extenuating circumstances. Such exceptions require the approval of the GBA Executive Board.
My child is involved in another activity during basketball season (snowboarding, soccer, hockey, music, etc.), and we'd like him/her to be able to split time among activities during the season. Is this OK?
This is not OK for Travel basketball. GBA serves approximately 1,500 players on a rec and travel basis, and those players who want to play basketball, but not to the exclusion of other activities, are encouraged to participate in our Rec program. A player can participate in multiple activities, including Travel basketball, but the commitment must be made up front that when the activities conflict, basketball is primary. This commitment can be a challenge for kids playing premier soccer, etc., so careful consideration should be given to attempting to do both activities. Attendance policy allows for a few 'free' misses during the season.
Can a player participate in both Travel and Rec programs of GBA?
No. The rationale for prohibiting Travel players from participating Rec is that they could have a too-prominent role in the Rec games, taking away from the non-Travel players. We realize that it would be fun for the kids to play with and against classmates, but unfortunately it's not available.
When does the Travel season begin and end?
Tryouts generally occur in the 2nd half of September or early October. Practices begin no earlier than October 15. Basketball practices held in October or early November do respect the priority of fall sports, so don't worry about finishing the soccer or football, etc., season. The season ends early March.
Are there playing time rules?
Yes. Every player who attends practice and is generally in good standing on his team will play a minimum of 8 minutes per game, which equates to 25% of the 32 minute game. While most of the towns we compete with do not have such a requirement in their Travel program, we do. Coaches strive to exceed the minimum where possible, but the player has to earn the time.
I'm interested in coaching, how do I submit my application?
All prospective coaches, including those that have been coaching in the Travel program, should complete Coach Registration on this website. The prospective coaches' son/daughter must be a bona fide candidate for player selection. Compatibility with the principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a must for all coaching candidates.
Are families discouraged from going away during December and February vacations?
No. This is a gray area, but I think most coaches would have no issue with a player being unavailable during one of the school vacations. Being gone for both vacations could be viewed as pushing it...player should discuss with his/her coach.
What size basketball is used in the various grades and leagues?
Boys in grades 6-8 use the regulation size ball (approximately 29.5 inch)
Boys in 5th grade use the women's 28.5 inch ball.
All Girls use the women's size ball (28.5 inch).
ESPN Article "Teaching respect for umps, officials"
Below is an article by Steve Wulf of ESPN. It highlights our role as parents and mentors to do our part to not only teach our kids to respect Officials but to make sure we are leading by example while we cheer for our Youth, High School, College and Professional athletes.
There is a great section on the PCA Program that has been adopted by many local Youth Sports Organizations.
To young players or adults who officiate at any level, in any sport - thank you!
Teaching respect for umps, officials
By Steve Wulf
"All you, blue, all you!"
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted them back. The umpire on the bases in the high school softball game had clearly blown the call: tight score, bases loaded, two outs, ball hit to left field for what looked like an RBI single … except that the left fielder quickly threw to third to beat the runner by a step. Unfortunately, the ump was trying to get out of the way and didn't see the force, and the home plate ump refused to get involved, so the run scored, and the next batter hit a grand slam off my daughter. Which is when I made my own bad call.
I knew better. These things happen, just like they did in Cleveland when the umpires didn't acknowledge an A's home run that would've tied the game, just like they do every night in every state at every level. I've seen enough games to realize that bad decisions are like bad hops. Dems da breaks.
It doesn't matter if the official is a teenager making $20 a game, or a man or woman moonlighting as much for love of the game as for money, or Joe West, who's been working major league games since 1977. It's a tough, usually thankless job, but somebody has to do it. We often hear, "The most important thing is to get it right," and while that is very important -- the more replays the better -- it's not the most important thing. First and foremost, we owe the umps and zebras and refs a foundation of respect and a debt of gratitude. There would be no games without their commitment.
That's worth mentioning at this time of high visibility for officials, when the NHL and NBA are in their postseasons, baseball is in its ascendancy, and spring school and collegiate sports are heating up. On the list of headlines on ESPN.com on Thursday, a few spots below "Indians top A's after blown call," was this one: "Utah teen charged in death of soccer ref."
On April 27 in a recreational league soccer match outside of Salt Lake City, authorities say, a 17-year-old goalie punched 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo in the head after the ref penalized him for pushing an opposing player. After hospitalization, Portillo lapsed into a coma and died on May 4. A game that was hardly a matter of life and death became one.
There may be no way of knowing what brought the unnamed player to that tragic moment of anger. But here's what does lead to a breakdown in respect for authority: coaches who think it's OK to ride the refs; fans who feel it's cool to yell at officials all the time; the constant cries of "Call 'em both ways!" and "Open your eyes!"; the confusion of professional sports with youth sports.
Contempt for officials is nothing new. In 1906 a singer named Bob Roberts recorded “The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man.” But there are two converging media streams that seem to be adding to the turbulence. One is the criticism of officials, be it missed home runs, or unfair penalties, or control of the game. The other is the almost prurient interest in bad behavior at sporting events. It kind of feels like sports civilization is crumbling.
The death in Utah hit Jim Thompson particularly hard. He is the CEO of the Positive Coaching Alliance, which he founded at Stanford University in 1998 to help transform the culture of youth sports. "I feel for both families," he says. "It's the ultimate price to pay for a win-at-all-costs mentality."
Since its founding, the PCA has grown into a network that reaches 1 million athletes and 100,000 coaches, though that's still only 2.5 percent of all the participants in youth sports in this country. The foundation of PCA workshops is the phrase "Honoring The Game," and the sessions encourage respect for the acronym R-O-O-T-S: Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, Self.
When it comes to dealing with officials, PCA has a few suggestions for coaches: introduce the officials to the parents before a game, designate a parent to monitor spectator behavior, have the players practice their responses to a bad call, find a self-control routine (like counting backward from 100), and approach the officials deferentially if there's an important difference of opinion.
"The best way to teach respect," says Thompson, "is to show respect." Thompson also recommends thanking officials after a game, and complimenting them if they've done a good job.
Some of them don't, though, and a few of them make things worse by mistaking arrogance for authority. "Just think of them as bad weather," says Thompson. "You still have to play in it, and it doesn't do you much good to complain."
The vast majority of officials are just striving to be fair to both sides, to get it right. And if you're lucky, you'll encounter one who goes above and beyond. Same daughter, different sport: field hockey. At halftime of one of her games, the lead referee came over to the spectator side of the field to ask if there were any questions about the calls in the first half, or about the arcane rules of the sport in general. The session was both edifying and disarming -- nobody questioned any calls in the second half.
As for the ump who blew the call in the softball game, I could see he felt as bad about missing the call as I did about yelling. He actually ran to his car after the 10-7 game ended, ahead of what he might have imagined to be an angry mob. In reality, my daughter and her teammates were already over it by the time he got there.