Green Hornets Boys' Select Basketball Program Frequently Asked Questions
1: Q. Who do I contact for information about the Select program?
- Who do I contact for information about the Select program?
- Who do I contact for information about the Club program?
- Who do I contact for information about my account balance, refunds, or other fees?
- I requested that my son play on a team with his three buddies. Why wasn't this accommodated?
- I thought you did not have to "try out" for the club teams, so what is the purpose of the evaluations?
- What should I expect in terms of a time commitment for basketball?
- Why is my son's team not getting the same amount of gym time as some of the other teams? And fewer games?
- My son wants to play basketball year round. Do you have such a program?
- What can we do to help?
- Why are the 8, 9, and 10 year olds playing on a 10-foot basket? Shouldn't it be lower?
- Why are the 8, 9, and 10 year olds mandated to play a man-to-man defense? When not mandate a zone?
- Why, in the younger leagues, do you not employ a draft for making teams?
A. For information about the Select program, contact the Select Program Director. For information about a specific select team, please contact the appropriate Select Coach.
2: Q. Who do I contact for information about the Club program?
A. For information about the Club program, you should contact the League Director for the age group in which you are interested. If your question does not pertain to a league or its schedules, you can contact the Club Program Director.
3: Q. Who do I contact for information about my account balance, refunds, or other fees?
A. For financial information, please contact the Green Hornets general management office at 410-544-6706.
4: Q. I requested that my son play on a team with his three buddies. Why wasn't this accommodated?
A.Some of our leagues employ a "draft" to create teams. When a draft is employed, it is very difficult to guarantee any team arrangements, though the League Directors and coaches do try during the draft process. At the younger ages, we employ a different process. You can click here to view our team creation methodology. When we employ this process, we make every effort to accommodate requests for kids to play toghether within reason. Some cannot be accommodated for a variety of reasons related to other requests (such as nights that a kid can practice not consistent with the nights the other kid can practice). The most frequent reason a request cannot be accommodated is because we are going to great lengths to make equal teams. If a particular grouping of boys will make one team much stronger or weaker than the other teams, we cannot accommodate that request unless there are particularly unusual circumstances. We very much try to avoid a season that has games in which the final score is 45 - 8.
5: Q. I thought you did not have to "try out" for the club teams, so what is the purpose of the evaluations?
A.The sole purpose of the evaluations is to gauge the size and skill level of the league participants, and to finalize the list of who is planning on playing in the upcoming season and who is not. The reason for this is to give us the data we need to create equal teams.
6: Q. What should I expect in terms of a time commitment for basketball?
A. In the Club Program, each team is typically allotted two practice slots per week for the entire season. Typically these slots are one hour each; one will be in a gym with another team, the other in a gym with no other team. Before the games begin, there is often additional gym time made available for a third practice. Games generally begin the week after New Years and there is one game per week for an 8 game season followed by single elimination playoffs. In the Select program, the practice times allotted are 90 minutes, two times per week, though some of the Select coaches are able to secure additional gym time on their own for additional practices. County league games are once per week, though many Select coaches enter their teams in additional leagues or tournaments.
7: Q. Why is my son's team not getting the same amount of gym time as some of the other teams? And fewer games?
A.When we schedule the league, every team in each league has the same number of scheduled games as the other teams in that league, with roughly the same spread of times for the games. We use county school facilities for almost all of our practices in games, though we do get some supplemental times from other programs such as our friends at the Severn School. Since we are using facilities controlled by other organizations, we are subject to unscheduled interruptions in use of those facilities for activities such as drama productions, concerts, or meetings. We also get unscheduled interruptions due to weather. These interruptions are unpredictable and, inevitably, affect teams disproportionately. Because of the demands on gym time, there is no "extra" space that we can use for makeups. League Directors will try to even out the number of games played by the end of the season before the playoffs. In general, missed practices are best made up by sharing the gym with another team on their night for a joint practice or scrimmage. This takes a fair amount of effort on the part of the coaches and league directors to coordinate.
8: Q. My son wants to play basketball year round. Do you have such a program?
A. We don't currently but would like to explore creating the opportunities for the boys in our program that want to play more serious basketball. It is envisioned that these programs would be in addition to the current "in season" Select programs. Contact the Select Program Director if you want to provide any input on this.
9: Q. What can we do to help?
A. (1) Volunteer to your League Director or Coach to help; (2) Send us your good ideas; and (3) Please register on time!
10. Q. Why are the 8, 9, and 10 year olds playing on a 10-foot basket? Shouldn't it be lower?
A. One issue with lowering the baskets is that several of the gyms where kids practice can't adjust currently. So if we go to the lower basket, some teams will practice some times on different height baskets.
Most years, lowering of the basket is discussed, and the coaches have always voted to keep it at 10 feet for all leagues. By the end of each season, most coaches agreed that it was a good decision and were amazed at the progress.
Also, most every basketball governing body goes to the 10 foot basket at these age groups. Green Hornets generally abide by those rules.
Finally, many involved in the Green Hornets program are of the belief that one can use the 10 foot height to teach kids certain shooting fundamentals that we don't always see them develop on a low basket (specifically the use of their legs in the shot, the position of their elbow, and the release point). Granted that these fundamentals can also be stressed on virtually any height basket, our experience with the young kids on the higher basket has been very positive (i.e., they NEED to execute the shot properly in order to get the shot to a 10 foot basket, where on an 8 foot basket they can shoot an incorrect "arms only" shot and reach the hoop).
Here is a textbook shot description we sometimes use to teach shooting that addresses this issue peripherally: "........Vertical Alignment - Elbow in & ball out (Move the ball into and up the "elevator") -- All parts of the shooting arm - upper, lower, hand, and two shooting fingers (index and middle) - are in a vertical plain to the side of the face, out in front of shoulder. This is the shooting pocket - where the shot begins. The ball then moves straight up. It is much like an elevator. If feet or arms are extending into the doorway, the doors will not close. Once inside, the elevator moves straight up and down. It should be noted that the ball is started from different heights depending on distance and a player's strength. Those with less strength must start the ball lower in the pocket. Key phrases for this step are: "Elbow in - ball out" and "Into & Up the elevator"........."
At some point, kids need to migrate to 10 foot baskets. Whenever it happens, because kids develop at different paces, there will be some kids that may not be ready, and some kids that are more than ready. Whenever that is chosen to be, there will be some people who think it is too soon, and perhaps some that think it is too late. If there is consensus then the decision is easy. For the kids that aren't quite ready for the height, we would point out that shooting is just one part of the game.
11. Q. Why are the 8, 9, and 10 year olds mandated to play a man-to-man defense? When not mandate a zone?
A. This rule was implemented at the younger age levels to encourage skill development. With a zone defense for younger kids, we often end up with 5 players jammed into the middle not allowing the team with the ball to get anywhere near the basket. They don't have to move much, just keep the guys with the ball out. This would almost eliminate scoring and we don't believe it fosters the teaching of good defensive fundamentals. We believe that the man-to-man concept is much easier for the younger kids to grasp and keep up with, and that it is the right forum for kids to learn the basic fundamentals of defensive movement and positioning.
12. Q. Why, in the younger leagues, do you not employ a draft for making teams?
A. A. First and foremost, it is the stated policy of the Green Hornets Boys Basketball club program to create as much balance in the league as can reasonably be achieved. Given that we are an all-volunteer organization, though perfection would be nice, we are seeking reasonableness. While aiming to achieve this goal, we also try to accommodate various other requests for things like carpools, pairing siblings together, grouping friends to some extent, and creating an environment as enjoyable and educational as possible for the kids. It’s a pretty challenging and complex process, especially given the number of kids in our program. At least in recent years, we believe the organization has done a decent job of striving for league parity, and we are getting better at it.
The process that the Green Hornets uses for creating its club basketball teams is publicly available elsewhere on this web site. You can click on the links under the heading of The Boys’ Club Basketball Program - there is one link for the evaluation process, and one for the team creation methodology. We will summarize a little about these processes here.
There are two "team creation methodologies" employed by the Green Hornets Boys’ Basketball program - the draft, and an independent team creation. For our oldest leagues, we use a draft. For the younger leagues, we use the independent team creation approach. This may change from year to year.
We have found that the independent team creation approach has generally produced far more competitive leagues than the draft approach at the younger ages. In previous years when a draft was employed at the younger ages, there were a great number of complaints about "sandbagging" evaluations and skipped evaluations, and the coaches that didn’t already know most of the kids in the age group were at a tremendous disadvantage. A few years ago in the 9-10 and 11-12 age groups, both employing drafts, final scores of 50-10 were not unheard of. The single biggest reason we dropped the draft in these age groups was to eliminate games that lopsided.
As you will see on the team creation methodology link at the web site, our approach is fairly scientific. Teams assembled using this approach are generally assembled such that there was less than a 1% difference in total score between the highest scoring team and the lowest scoring team. In addition, the league’s "height" gets evenly distributed. It is not a trivial undertaking. Further, in the case of the 9/10 and 11/12 leagues, we typically have the coaches from one league evaluate the kids in the other, and vice versa.
Inevitably, once the season gets going, there are teams at the top of the standings, and teams at the bottom. There are many factors affecting this, including the fact that no matter how hard we try, the end result of our process is that some teams will inevitably be better than others (though hopefully not so much better that the final score of the game is 50 - 10). Other factors that can have a direct result on outcome are how often a team practices and whether or not all of the players show up for practice. No matter the skill level of the player, if he isn’t at practice and doesn’t know his role, the team will suffer.
Finally, there are a couple of things in our system that we can and should continue to improve to ensure balance. One has to do with making changes to the rosters once they have gone through the process and been set. There inevitably are some necessary adjustments to the rosters after they are initially set. We try to keep changes equitable and to a minimum, but some will occur for a variety of reasons; some for logistical reasons; others because of some clerical errors; and others for reasons such as pairing brothers that may have been overlooked. These changes can affect balance; we try not to do them but, within the spirit of the club program, there are some that we really have to execute.
The other thing we would like improve is the evaluation process. Generally, for the three youngest leagues, we have to evaluate over 400 boys before making the teams, with limited time and limited gym space (and with football playoffs in full swing, and select rosters not fully set). Just the paperwork can be overwhelming. We changed the evaluation process a few years ago to avoid the crush and long lines at the gyms on evaluation night and we have made great strides in solving that part of the problem. The bigger issue is, given the constraints, that it is very difficult to get a full and accurate evaluation of the kids.
One thing that can be done to help this for future years is for the coaches to take the post season evaluations very seriously. After a full season of coaching a player, a coach can certainly give a full and accurate assessment of the player’s abilities. This assessment can be factored into the subsequent year’s evaluations and team creation. On our web site, you will see a link for the Player Evaluation Process and Forms. At that page is a "Composite Evaluation Form" (http://www.greenhornets.com/boysbasketball/compositeeval2.pdf) that all coaches should use at the end of the season and turn in for their team. This would help. We are also certainly open to suggestions on how to get a more complete pre-season evaluation, given the time and space constraints that exist.
A draft alone is not going to ensure equal teams and, to be sure, there are some very lopsided results in some of the games of "draft" leagues. We spend a lot of time trying to make the teams equal and hopefully achieve success "mostly". Recently, no teams in the leagues that were formed in the independent team creation method went undefeated, and none went winless. We are always open to anyone’s opinions, input, and insight. Certainly whichever way we go, we aren’t going to please everyone, but that shouldn’t stop you from providing input. Hopefully the kids learn the game and enjoy themselves. And as always, come playoff time, you can count on some upsets!
Last updated February 18, 2004.
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