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Parent's Guide

The information in this parent’s guide has been prepared by Ontario Basketball and is intended as a resource for basketball parents. In addition, there are other resources available the Ontario Basketball resource library, your local library, bookstores and through Canadian Sport Centres.

A parent’s fundamental responsibility is to investigate what is appropriate for your child’s needs and ensure that your child will have a quality learning and participation experienceThe Ontario Basketball Participation Chart is a helpful overview for parents. 

For children interested in the game of basketball there are many opportunities to participate at any level of skill and ability. Basketball can be enjoyed in many ways:

Mega Hoops
• is operated by Ontario Basketball staff as an introduction to basketball in elementary schools
• is delivered by Mega Hoops clinicians and instructs teachers how to teach basketball skills to children and youth
• teaches young athletes the game via systematic progression and age appropriate activities
• places an emphasis on fun while teaching skills and the determination necessary to become a basketball player
• has provided programming across the entire province. An estimated 185,000 participants have taken part in this program since 1996.

Steve Nash Youth Basketball (SNYB)
• is operated by Ontario Basketball and is a national youth basketball program designed to develop fundamental skills, sportsmanship and a love for the game of basketball
• is a grassroots initiative that supports and empowers community based recreational groups and facilities, schools and other institutions across Canada in an effort to positively influence youth through the great game of basketball
• was established after extensive research of existing community basketball programs from across North America and follows the guidelines of Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD)
• is flexible in nature to allow all local organizers to adapt the program and implement it in their community while following the principles and philosophies of the program.

House League Programs
• are volunteer based non-competitive programs offered by our member clubs
• usually provide once a week sessions for durations of 10 to 20 weeks
• place emphasis on life skills development, sportsmanship and game knowledge
• provide a team structure in a Fair Play environment

Competitive Programs
• are volunteer based “rep” team programs in over 200 member clubs
• provide a competitive level of play in games and tournaments
• follow a defined team structure and category levels
• teach athletes discipline and sportsmanship values
• require coaches to have National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) qualifications

High Performance Programs
• are operated by Ontario Basketball staff and NCCP qualified coaches
• provides structured regional tryouts and LTAD-appropriate training
• are aimed at athletes who aspire to Provincial Team play and the pathway to national programs

Fair Play Policy
Ontario Basketball has implemented a Fair Play policy to ensure that every player, coach, parent, spectator and volunteer has an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This includes a Parent's Guideline for Behaviour.

Selecting the right Basketball Program
There are several things to be considered when selecting any program for your child. Ontario Basketball staff can answer questions related to their programs. If you are considering that your child should participate in a house league or on a competitive team in a Member club’s program these are typical questions to ask:

What equipment is required?
A player needs only a pair of athletic shoes (most stores sell “basketball” shoes), a water bottle and a simple physical training outfit that would consist of a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. A player is not allowed to wear any padding other than a soft material for elbows and knees. The club usually supplies the basketballs. If the child plays in a Rep team program uniforms will be supplied.  Parents should understand everything that is involved with any fees that are charged.

What is the schedule for practices and games?
It is recommended that a ratio of one game be played for every 2-3 practices. But, that ratio may be higher with young children and may drop with the older children. Your family’s schedule, combined with your child’s other activities must be considered when deciding to play basketball (whether it is house league or rep teams). It is frustrating and unfair to everyone concerned when a player cannot make the commitment to the team.

What are the qualifications of the coach(es)?
Ontario Basketball requires specific National Coaching Certification Program qualifications depending on the level of team being coached. In 2004, Basketball Ontario implemented mandatory Volunteer Screening process.  You should ask the club about their requirements for coaches, references and Police Record Checks that are done. Regardless of their experience, coaches are volunteers that bring knowledge and enthusiasm to your child’s experience.

Do all players play equally?
An important aspect of a young player’s development is to be given an equal opportunity to participate in games. At the U10 Novice, U11 Atom and U12 Major Atom levels Ontario Basketball has implemented  Equal Participation Rules to ensure every player gets the chance to participate in the game and succeed with their skills development. Parents should speak to their child’s coach about the playing philosophy they will use for their team. If there are any questions or concerns they should be discussed first with the coach and, if necessary with the key Club contact eg: Director of Competitive Programs.

What if I have other questions?
When you have paid a fee for your child to play in a club’s program it is incumbent upon the club to communicate to players and parents about their organization. Every parent should know the names and contact information for their child’s Coach, Assistant Coach and Team Manager. These are the people you should contact with questions about games, playing time etc. If the questions go beyond the team itself (eg: coaches behaviour), you need to talk to the key Club Contact.

How can a parent help?
Most importantly, a parent’s role is to support and encourage their child to become the kind of player he or she wants to be and to ensure an enjoyable basketball experience.

A parent may volunteer to assist the coach or the club. Parents should remember that it is Volunteers who make amateur sports possible for children. Respect the Volunteers in your local community basketball organization and consider a course that will enable you as a parent to become more involved.

Parents should encourage practice of skills at home to help your child gain confidence in their abilities.  The key thing is encourage your child to have FUN while recognizing their limitations. Parents should remember that taking fun out of their child's sports could lead to the child leaving sports out of resentment of parental pressures and unrealistic expectations. 

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