Another youth basketball season is upon us.
Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age. I would like to give a little insight on how we can make this season an enjoyable one for all parties involved.
Most of the teams are given permission to use facilities from schools and other organizations to be able to have a court for the kids to practice and play games on. This is a privilege that can be revoked if we are negligent to the facilities that are being used.
When you visit these facilities, make sure you throw your garbage away and don’t leave it in bleachers. All children should be accompanied by an adult when not in gyms.
It is paramount for player safety to keep courts dry and clear of debris. Players should change into dry shoes before going on to court. Spectators should keep off courts to make sure they are not tracking water or debris on to playing surface.
The games are officiated by county refs. The majority are teenagers who have come up through the program. These refs are given training and most play or have played at the varsity level.
They are given the task of officiatings game while teaching the player the rules. They will make a call and explain to the players what they did wrong, so they can learn from mistake.
Yes, you may know the rules, but some players are learning as they play. As a spectator or coach, you should never question or harass an official. This is teaching players unsportsmanlike behavior. The officials do get paid — but definitely not enough to be treated with disrespect. They are officiating because they love the sport and want to give back to program. We should thank them for their dedication and participation in our program.
Also, let coaches coach. Town directors hire coaches who are qualified and willing to coach. The best thing you can do, as a parent or spectator, is to cheer players on and not yell at or coach them from the bleachers.
They sometimes have coach telling them one thing and a parent telling them another. I have seen kids get confused and frustrated when this occurs. This ruins their experience and puts more stress on the coaches. Instead of coaching them, they are trying to calm the players down so they are able to return to court.
Your child looks up to you the most. I believe that giving them positive reinforcement during the game — whether they are playing great or even making mistakes — will provide a more enjoyable experience for them.
Right now, we are trying to develop the players skills and love for the game with this program. The competitive aspect will come later.
As time goes on, some players will be participating in AAU, high school and even college. But, they won’t get there if we turn them off from sports now.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great season.
Chris Brooks is Town of Ellenburg youth director.