2018-2019 Questions and Answers
The Madison Youth Basketball Association (MYBA) sponsors the travel basketball program in the town of Madison. This season, the MYBA will support ~12 teams that will compete at a high level versus other Connecticut towns in league play, plus tournaments. We have provided this Q & A document for your reference and hope that it provides additional insight into the MYBA and the upcoming basketball season.
What is the difference between "Travel" and "Rec"? Travel basketball is run by the MYBA while Rec basketball is run by Madison Beach & Rec. In the Fall of 2016, MYBA and Beach & Rec agreed to have players from our Gold teams also participate in Rec basketball as an opportunity to develop skills. After receiving feedback from parents, in the Fall of 2017, the MYBA decided not to make Rec participation a requirement for Gold team players. Fortunately, most players still played Rec and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive! Here is a description of the different levels of basketball being offered for the 2018-2019 season.
Travel (“Black” teams)
• Limited roster size
• A guarantee of 2 practices per week; 1-2 games per weekend
• A goal of at least 10 home games
• A $1,000 budget for tournaments and equipment
• Access to clinics and events
• For boys in grades 4-8 and girls in grades 5-8
• $425 registration fee
Development Travel (“Gold” teams)
• A guarantee of 1 travel practice per week; 1-2 travel game per weekend
• A goal of at least 6-7 home games
• A $1,000 budget tournaments and equipment
• Players have the option to also play Rec basketball with 1 practice and 1 game (Saturday) per week
• Access to clinics and events
• For boys in grades 4-8 and girls in grades 5-8
• $250 MYBA registration fee
• Traditional program operated by Beach & Rec (not MYBA)
• 1 practice per week; 1 game per week (most teams play on Saturday although sometimes girls Rec is held on Friday)
• For boys and girls in grades 3-8
• All interested players must register in September, in order to guarantee a roster spot, and pay the $150 Rec fee (this is in addition to the MYBA fee)
*Those that make a Travel team and therefor will not be playing Rec, will be reimbursed upon request
• Rec evaluations are planned for late October, after Travel and Developmental Travel teams are announced
What’s involved in playing on a MYBA Travel Team? If selected for one of the Travel or Developmental Travel teams, players are expected to attend all practices and games. Travel teams usually have two practices per week, but this sometimes depends on court availability and the coach's discretion (ex: some 7th and 8th grade coaches will hold just one practice during the Polson season). Developmental Travel teams will have at least one practice per week. Due to occasional difficulty in getting gym time (school programs get priority), practice nights and times often vary. Just as this is a concern for parents, it makes planning difficult for coaches (and members of the board!). However, it is hard to manage as we have to adjust to changes made by the school teams, the schools themselves, etc, etc. Travel and Developmental Travel teams will play anywhere between 20 and 40 games over the course of the season. Practice will begin in early November, with games beginning in mid- to late- November. The end of the season depends on tournament play, which can last up to mid-March.
How many teams will MYBA support this season? The MYBA will support ~12 teams during the 2018-2019 season. This decision will be based on interest and talent at each grade level. For example, our 2017 parent survey responses included many complaints about unfair competition for our Developmental Travel teams. If we have a group of interested players, but the talent to compete is not evident, the board may opt to not support that particular team. However, this will be done with great consideration as we try to foster player interest and have as many kids playing as possible. This season, Travel teams will be limited to 10 or 11 players. Developmental Travel teams will not have a limit placed on roster size. Please remember that if MYBA does not have a travel team to play on, either because s/he does not make the team or a team is not supported at the grade level, there is still Rec basketball.
Who is our competition? MYBA looks at each available league in the off-season and ultimately the decision is made by the VP of Boys and the VP of Girls as to where their teams will play. Our teams will most likely play in the Fairfield County Basketball League and the Connecticut Basketball Conference for the 2018-2019 season. Madison teams will play against other teams across the state and will sometimes schedule games ("friendlies") against older teams and/or out-of-state teams when in search of better competition. Most MYBA teams also enter basketball tournaments that are hosted at various locations (Fairfield County, East Greenwich RI, Springfield, Milford, East Haven, Mashantucket, just to name a few). MYBA absorbs the entry fees as part of the $1,000 team budget. Entry into other leagues, as well as participation in various tournaments, is decided on a team-by-team basis and is up to the head coach.
My child is really good, so can s/he "play up"? The MYBA does not allow players to "play up," no matter how developed their skills are. Unlike some other sports, basketball teams are grade-based rather than age-based.
How does the MYBA evaluate players at tryouts? Evaluations are done by board members, coaches, volunteers with no affiliation, and even the high school coaches. We work hard to make sure each child is evaluated objectively and that his or her final score is based solely on skills and play during game situations. Typically, there are four evaluators per tryout and nobody with a child trying out will be allowed to evaluate that particular tryout. Due to limited gym space/time, there will only be one tryout per grade. The vice presidents of boys and girls are sometimes able to accommodate conflicts, if a child cannot make his or her tryout, but there is no guarantee.
How are rosters determined? After evaluations have been tallied, the Travel Committee will meet with the head coach of the Black (or "A" team) to determine the roster. If there is enough interest and talent at the grade level, a Gold (or "B" team) may also be chosen. When possible this will be done with the Gold team coach, but often times the coach is selected after the fact. It is important to know that Black teams are given priority for roster selection, gym time, etc and that this is reflected in our pricing structure. Although we sometimes receive requests for team placement baseed on things like carpool convenience or prior issues with a coach, the MYBA will not honor these requests.
What will it cost me to play on an MYBA team? The fee to play for a player on a Travel ("Black" or "A") team is $425 and $250 for a player on a Developmental Travel ("Gold" or "B") team (plus the $150 if s/he chooses to play Rec). This fee covers the cost of custodial fees, gym rentals, referees fees (each ref receives $45 per game), tournaments, equipment, insurance, EasyMerchant online bill collection, and web hosting fees. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer a sibling discount because of these expenses. Two years ago, we stopped requiring each team to participate in fund raising ($500 each), deciding to simply charge our fee and allow our players (and families) to concentrate on school work, practices, games, and all the other activities that are important to a child's development. We also took the time to determine how the cost breaks down and with a 5-month season, the cost is ~$3.50 per hour for your child. Three things to keep in mind, in regards to our registration fee. Please note that once you accept a roster spot for your child by making payment, no refunds will be issued. Also, one reason the MYBA registration fee may be more expensive than some other sports in town is due to the fact that we have to pay for our gyms and fields are cost-free because they are maintained by the town. Finally, there are no paid positions on the MYBA board.
New players are required to purchase a uniform at a cost of $85.00 ($57.50 for a jersey and $27.50 for shorts). They may keep the uniform as long as it still fits and represents the team and town in a positive manner. Teams may opt to hold fundraisers in order to buy additional athletic gear/clothing or enter additional tournaments. Fundraisers, when done correctly, are also an effective way to build team spirit.
Do I have to play on a town recreation team too? If your child is selected to play on a Developmental Travel ("Gold" or "B") team, s/he has the option to also play Rec basketball. If your child is selected to play on a Travel ("Black" or "A") team, s/he will not be allowed to play Rec. Every child registering for MYBA tryouts is also expected to register for Rec in line with their published time lines (it was 9/23 for the 2016-2017 season) and fees.
Am I good enough to tryout for a Travel Team? Yes, everyone is good enough to tryout. Whether you make a Travel team, a Developmental Travel team, or end up playing Rec basketball is determined by how hard you work, how positive your attitude is, and how willing you are to commit the time to being a member of MYBA. Travel basketball isn't for everyone, and participation on a MYBA team is both an honor and a significant commitment, so make sure you (both the player and the family) are ready and willing to make that commitment.
Can my child try out next year if s/he didn't make a team this year? Simply stated... yes. To be cut from a team now is not to be cut from the team forever. Everybody loves a comeback story!
What should my child do to get ready? And on the night of the tryout? S/he should spend a lot of time practicing: dribbling, passing, shooting and defense (move those feet!). Come ready to work hard and hustle. S/he will need to wear athletic clothes and sneakers to the tryout. You will need to register ahead of time and sign him or her in. At that time, your player will get a numbered pinnie, say goodbye to you, and enter the gym to warm up a bit before the tryout begins. Please arrive early as there is often a line at the sign-in table.
How does playing time work at the travel level? The MYBA believes that over the course of the season, no player should be on the court any less than 25% of the time, although this is an average and not a rule for each game. Many factors may limit a player's playing time, from missed practices to attitude to a lack of fitness that may result in injury. And just to be clear, head coaches have been given the green light to "play for the win" when the situation calls for it. Kids are resilient and can bounce back from a game in which they wanted to play more than they did. It is also a good sign for them to work harder if they want to be in those tense, end-of-game situations that make this such an exciting game!
Although parents should never comunicate with a coach during a game about play time or anything like that, they should feel free to reach out at other times. Parents should also communicate with the coach if their son or daughter is going to miss a practice or game. Parents need to make sure that their email settings are up to date and check the boxes that will allow them to receive emails about upcoming practices and games. It is a long season and the MYBA expects that parents will keep their child's best interests at heart, but also hope that they respect how hard it is to coach a sport in which only five players can be on the court at a time.