The Sudbury Youth Basketball (SYB) Travel Program is for players in grades 4 through 8 seeking a higher level of commitment and competition, playing in a competitive league against teams from other towns.
In order to run an effective Travel program and maximize the number of players in the program, both players and parents should recognize that “Travel Basketball” requires a significantly higher commitment level than the in-town program. We understand that there may be conflicts from to time, but it is expected that players make basketball their primary sport for the winter and should be able to attend 75% of practices and games.
For players who cannot fully commit to the travel program and will have competing priorities over the winter should register for our in-town program.
Travel Basketball requires a commitment from players and parents to attend practices and games. Because rosters are small, teams are disrupted if players are unable to make the necessary commitment. Players who routinely miss practices or games may realize less playing time during the season. Basketball should be your child’s primary sports commitment during the winter season.
To ensure fairness for all players wishing to play on an SYB travel teams, players who miss an SYB travel team practice/game to participate with another basketball team or sporting activity may be subject to being benched for an equal number of events. For repeated occurrences, further action may be taken by the SYB board.
In order to participate in SYB Travel Basketball a player must reside in or attend schools in the town of Lincoln or Sudbury during the school year.
Over the past several years our travel program has seen tremendous growth and the SYB board has made a commitment to giving more kids an opportunity to play travel basketball. SYB has one of the largest travel programs among the 80 plus Metrowest League member towns. We find it absolutely wonderful that our town has so many children that have a desire to play travel basketball. At the same time we struggle with many challenges such as gym space, having an inadequate number of players in a grade which results in having teams of less than 8 players or having to combine grades and the availability of qualified coaches.
As we assess the number of registered players this year we will take care in ensuring that the team structure is set up so we are able to run an effective travel program. Please be aware there is a possibility your child may not make a travel team. If your child does not make a travel team, they will play in our in-town league.
Tryouts will be closed to parents.
SYB requires all players be registered and fully paid to attend try-outs.
Tryouts for each grade level will be held in October and the schedule will be posted here.
All players must try out for their respective grade's teams. To properly and fully assess each player, we may conduct two (2) nights (2 focused hours in total) of placements performing skill drills and game situations. It may be determined that a 3rd try-out is necessary, if a group has too many players to run an effective try-out in two sessions. For 4th grade or grades with limited enrollment, the Board may determine that only one try-out is necessary.
In special cases where a player cannot attend try-outs due to a family or related special circumstance, with written prior notice and request to the SYB Board, we will use our best efforts to find a proper solution.
SYB utilizes fully independent evaluators that do not have a child in the grade they evaluate. All evaluators have been involved in youth basketball for many years playing, coaching and/or officiating experience at multiple levels including AAU, high school or college.
Each year, to create the SYB travel teams, we start fresh and evaluate all players with a fully independent, blank slate and impartial assessment process. The independent evaluators create the team rosters based on detailed live player assessments across multiple skill/impact areas, extensive evaluator group review and debate of each player, relevant prior year coaches' comments on the players, and ensuring a good mix of positions/speed/size on each team. Players are evaluated in key skill areas including (but not limited to) ball handling, scoring, rebounding, defense, and game sense.
During the player assessment and team selection process, the player names are not given to the evaluators and are not on the evaluator sheets – the evaluator sheets only have the players’ pinnie numbers (not names).
In cases where a player cannot try out because of a documented injury, but is expected back in time for the season, SYB will use its sole discretion in placing that player on a team and may use any information it deems suitable including prior year placement information or other information from coaches, etc. However, a non-injured player who fully participated in placements will have priority over a player who was unable to participate in placements in those cases when the players are deemed “equal” in the placement process.
Note: Players all develop and grow at different speeds and year to year, we often do have players moving from in-town to travel and vice versa, as well as moving up or down travel team levels.
Pre-Season (November until Thanksgiving) Travel teams will practice three to four times per week only in the preseason with one to two practices between Monday and Friday and then a practice on Saturday and Sunday between 8am and 9pm.
Practice for travel teams consist of 1 weeknight practice (could be on any night Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 5pm and 9pm). All travel teams will also practice on Saturdays between 8am and 830pm.
Most teams will participate in the Metrowest League which consists of a twelve game schedule, with playoffs following the regular season. Teams will play additional "non-league games" on Saturday or Sunday, which may vary on a team-by-team and grade-by-grade basis.
MetroWest League games are generally held mostly on Sundays, with some Saturday games as well. Games run from the first week of December through early March. Games will be scheduled on both weekends of February vacation and over December break. Again, please consider the increased time commitment for practice and games when deciding whether your child will participate on a travel team.
TOURNAMENTS & ADDITIONAL GAMES
All boys and girls' travel teams (5th – 8th) will participate in a tournament the weekend before Thanksgiving in the Mansfield area.
In addition, depending on each individual coach, additional tournaments and games may be scheduled during the season (i.e. during December break, MLK Day, or February vacation).
All travel teams playing in the Metrowest League will qualify for the Metrowest's post-season playoffs that begin in early March. Additional tournaments and games may be scheduled during the season (i.e. during December or February vacation) on a team-by-team basis, largely at the discretion of the coaching staff.
As this is a competitive program, the minimum playing time in grades 6 through 8 is 25%, grades 4 & 5 the minimum playing time shall be 40%. It is very important that parents and players alike are ready to accept that they may only play 25% of the time (40% for 4th & 5th graders). EXACT PLAYING TIME MAY VARY GAME TO GAME.
Twins/siblings in the same grade will be evaluated and placed independently. Prior to the evaluations, parents may request twins/siblings to be placed on the same team. In the event that there is a request for siblings to be on the same team both players will be placed on the lower of the teams the players were evaluated for.
TRAVEL TEAM COACHES
SYB typically has more than 20 teams. With such a high number of teams, our biggest challenge is to find enough volunteers to coach at each level. If we do not have a coach for a specific team, we will be forced to cancel that team's season. Please register to coach if you have an interest in coaching.
After the teams have been created through the evaluation process, SYB will identify and select the coaching candidates amongst that team. The head coach selections are then based on the candidate's expertise and experience in basketball, coaching, and other youth related leadership activities, as well as overall credentials, approach, and if applicable, prior year parent feedback. We recognize that having consistency in coaches year to year is valuable, but not necessary, and it can also be very positive for the children to experience different coaches as part of their basketball careers and development.
Coaching staffs will consist of one head coach and two assistant coaches, unless circumstances warrant an additional coach. Coaching candidates will be asked to submit an online registration. All coaches will be required to complete a CORI check prior to participating in the program.
NOTE: Coaches will not be selected for a specific team until after placements are finalized. We will not move a player down to a lower team just to fill a coaching vacancy. If we do not have enough coaches to run the program, we will have less teams.
Uniforms for travel team players will be available following team placement.
WHY DOES TRAVEL COST $650?
As a volunteer-based organization, the pricing for our programs is not designed to make a profit, but rather to simply cover the costs that are needed to run and sustain the league (court fees, referee fees, equipment, insurance, etc.). As board members who are unpaid volunteers, we pay the same amount as everyone else and are aware of the expense of having two or three kids play hoops in the winter, so it is in our best interest to keep the rates down.
We thought that it would be helpful to give people a better understanding of what we offer and the costs of operating a non-profit volunteer-based organization.
Keep in mind that basketball is at a disadvantage compared to other outdoor town sports like football, soccer, lacrosse, softball, and baseball where field rental costs are significantly lower than gym space. It is worth mentioning that the costs for gym space have increased substantially due to limited court availability. In most cases, SYB pays $8 to $12 per player to use the court for an hour. Plus, we have other operating expenses like insurance, equipment, league fees, refs, etc.
While the cost for a season appears high, SYB thought that it may be helpful to know what you receive during the season:
- Approximately 32 (1 hr. to 1.5 hrs.) practices per season
- 12 games and playoffs in MetroWest league
- Preseason tournament plus possibly one additional tournament during winter or February break.
- Season runs from November to early March (over 4 months of hoops!)
With at least 44 events per season for travel that’s around $15 per session or $162.50 per month to play.
SYB does have fundraising options available to help cover some of our expenses and give financial aid and scholarships. If you or your business are interested in supporting basketball in our community, please contact us. If you are unable to donate, we encourage you to visit our sponsors and mention SYB.
Please note that SYB does offer a needs based financial aid program to ensure that those that cannot afford to play are given an opportunity.