General Overview of Sparta PAL Basketball

Eligibility:
-Open to 4th -8th grade boys and girls, child must live in Sparta.

Season:
- November through February, Play-offs in March (all done on or near March 15th)

Philosophy:
-Higher skilled players are challenged to compete in more highly competitive games against other towns’ travel teams. Skill development and practices are more demanding than in the in-town recreation program. In short—the travel basketball program is geared to a more serious and committed player. Teams practice at any one of 3 gyms- SMS, SHS, PAL Center.

Tryout Information:
-Two (2) try-outs per grade with independent evaluators who score and rank players on dribbling, shooting, passing, defense, and knowledge of the game at “game speed.”
-Each team will consist of 10 players.
-A group of independent evaluators choose both players and coaches for each level. The players are graded at each tryout and the top 10 players are chosen. In some cases an 11th player is allowed- but this is a decision for the evaluators and the assigned head coach of the team.
-Players are encouraged to attend both sessions but do not have to go to both try-outs. Players must attend at least one session to be considered for the team. If all players registered for a travel team appear at the first try-out, the second try-out may be cancelled at the discretion of the Sparta PAL.
-Sparta PAL Basketball recommends that children play with their grade level. If a player decides to try to 'play up' and does not make it then they would not automatically be placed on the team for thier grade level (it would be determined by evaluators). 

COMMITMENT:
-Travel players AND parents acknowledge that SPARTA PAL BASKETBALL is their priority sport for the winter sport season. The ammount of mandatory events per week will vary depending on the age and what the coach decides is needed.
-Violations of these commitments may result in lost playing time.
-Beginning as early as late October, teams may practice (Fall sports take priority until the season is over- our games do not start until December). From December to March, teams will have 2-3 practices per week and 2 games per week. League finals are in Mid-March.
-Depending on the grade level and the league there are different rules for playing time. The typical rule is equal time in the first 3 quarters and coaches discretion in the 4th. The coach can let you know what the rules are for the age group.
-Extra tournament play or additional league play will be determined by the specific coach of a team. Any team may participate in “out-of-season” tournaments or a supplemental weekend league at the discretion of the coach and interest of each team. In some cases this will have an additional cost.


TRAVEL COACHES SELECTION AND CRITERIA:
-All applicants for travel coaches will complete a coach’s request form. Coaches are selected based on prior basketball coaching experience, playing experience, coaching ability, coaching philosophy and game knowledge. In the case where there is only one coach, the Board will evaluate the applicant coach to determine if he/she is qualified. If there are multiple coach applicants, the Board will evaluate which coach is better for player development and team success. There is no guarantee that a travel coach will continue to be the coach simply because they were the coach the prior year.

Player Code of Conduct


• Play for fun
• Work hard to improve your skills
• Be a team player – get along with your teammates
• Learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and discipline
• Always be a good sport
• Learn the rules and play by them
• Respect your coaches, teammates, opponents, referees, and parents
• Never argue with a referee’s or coaches decision

Parent Code of Conduct


-Do not force your son or daughter to participate in sports, but support their desire to play their chosen sport. Children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment. Make it fun.
-Encourage your children to play by the rules. Remember, children learn best by example, so applaud the good plays of both teams.
-Promote good sportsmanship by setting a good example.
-Do not embarrass your child by yelling at players, coaches or referees. By showing a positive attitude toward the game and all of its participants, your child will benefit.
-Emphasize skill development and practices and how they benefit your young athlete. They will be given the tools they need to improve their game and they need to be encouraged (not forced) to practice what they learn on their own time as well as at practice.
-Know and study the rules of the game and support the referees on and off the court. This approach will help in the development and support of the game. Any criticism of the referees only hurts the game, and ultimately- the team.
-Applaud a good effort in victory and in defeat and enforce the positive points of the game. Never yell or physically abuse your child after a game or practice – it’s destructive. Work toward removing the physical and verbal abuse in youth sports.
-Recognize that your child’s coaches are volunteers. They are important to the development of your child and the sport. Communicate with the team and support team.
-If you enjoy the game, learn all you can about the game, and volunteer! Beyond coaching we need scorekeepers and clock operators on every team.

Coach Code of Conduct


-Organize practices that are fun and challenging for the players. Learn the rules, techniques and strategies of basketball, encourage all players to be team players. To make practices both fun and instructional, practices should include individual skills development drills, team drills (offense and defense) and scrimmaging. Emphasis should be placed on minimizing inactive players during drills.  
-Be generous with praise when it is deserved, be consistent, honest, be fair and just, never criticize players publicly, and study to learn to be a more effective communicator and coach. Don’t yell at players.
-Adjust to personal needs and problems of players, be a good listener, never verbally or physically abuse a player or referee, give all players the opportunity to improve their skills, gain confidence and develop self-esteem, teach the basics.
-Maintain an open line of communication with your players and their parents. Explain the philosophies, goals and objectives and codes of conduct of the Sparta PAL Basketball program.
-Be concerned with the overall development of the players. Stress good health habits and clean living. Encourage good grades in school.
-Never argue with referees, opposing coaches, parents, spectators or others as this violates the spirit of The Sparta PAL Basketball Program and sends a negative message to players, which is in contravention to our goals and objectives.
-The use of foul language or any form of violence is not permitted.
-Actions conveying any lack of sportsmanship or improper behavior are not permitted
-Ensure physical safety and mental well-being of all players, referees and coaches, and spectators.
-Make Sparta PAL Basketball Program a great experience- for the kids, for the parents and for yourself.
-Observe the game rules as described on the league website.
-Winning is a consideration, but not the only one, nor the most important one. Care more about the child than winning the game. Remember players are involved in basketball for fun and enjoyment.
-Hold a team meeting with the parents at the start of the season to communicate the objectives of the league and the goals of the team.
-Have fun and ask for help if you need it.