Milton Travel Basketball – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What makes Milton Travel Basketball different from other basketball leagues around town? One word: practice! We are the only league that devotes over 70% of the player’s time to practicing the fundamentals of basketball. For the younger players, mastering the specific skills is extremely important to their growth and development in the sport. In our program, we teach the correct way to dribble, pass, shoot, rebound and move without the ball, defend and much more. Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson have always credited the amount of fundamental practice as youngsters as crucial to their development into basketball superstars. We also spend a lot of time helping young players understand the important aspect of being part of a team and how to work together to achieve a greater goal. Competing strongly is emphasized, not winning (although we also win a lot of games).
If my child attends tryouts, what are their chances of making the team? In most cases, your child’s chances are very good. Every year, the number of players who try out and the number of teams that are formed does vary. In most cases, we have somewhere between one and three teams per grade level. We strive to not cut any players in 4th and 5th grade, if possible. We also try to do everything in our power to have the proper number of players so that we can minimize cuts in the upper grades (6th – 8th).
My child has never played basketball – is this league too competitive for them? In most cases, we welcome all newcomers to the league. The metrowest league has 4-5 levels for each grade. Thus, the Division I teams are most competitive and the Division IV or V teams are less competitive. We have good experience placing our teams in the proper league so that they are evenly aligned with their competition. Especially in the lower grades, we do not require any basketball experience. The higher grades are more competitive and players new to the sport may find it too competitive if they do not have the natural athletic ability to keep up with the more experienced players (This is more of an issue at the 7th and 8th grade levels).
When do we find out if our child made a team? We alert parents about their child’s status within a few days after tryouts. The coach from their grade level will contact you. There are historically few players being cut, but if your child is cut, they still have time to enroll in other winter leagues in the area (and your registration fee is fully refunded).
How do you decide what team my child ends up on (if there is more than one team at their grade level?). In 4th and 5th grade, we try to split up teams so that they are somewhat evenly leveled (some of the more advanced players on each team, some of the less advanced players on each team). Beginning in 6th grade, we do make sure to level the teams by ability (thus, an A and B team) so that we can compete with all of the other towns in our league who do level their teams. The Division I teams in the league are ultra competitive and usually are loaded with many of the future high school basketball stars of our area.
What is the league policy on playing time during games? The Metrowest league has no policy about playing time and some of our competing towns also do not have a policy about it (thus, some of their players may not play at all during a close game). Milton Travel Basketball does have a policy, though. We ask each coach to make sure each player plays a minimum of 8 minutes per game (games are 32 minutes in total). In most cases, most players do play more than the minimum number of minutes. How each coach divides playing time will be outlined to parents at the beginning of the season. Typically, your player’s attendance at practice, ability to listen to instructions, attitude, work effort and athletic ability are all taken into consideration when dividing minutes. Although some coaches may split playing time evenly, that may not always be the case We must emphasize that each player will grow and improve most by the minutes they have at practice – which is approximately 180 minutes per week!
What is the schedule in the metrowest league? The games are always on Sundays. The first week of the season is the first Sunday in December. Then the schedule is every Sunday with a two week break during Christmas. The last regular season game is at the end of February and playoffs usually begin during the first week of March.
What other towns do we compete against? There are over 80 teams south and west of Boston who compete in the Metrowest league. You can see them at www.metrowestbball.com. Some of our neighboring towns (Canton, Dedham, West Roxbury, Stoughton, Sharon, Westwood, Needham, Newton) are all in the league, as are some towns a little farther away. Once the season approaches, you can see your team’s schedule and direction to opponent’s gyms on that website. You can even register on the site and get a reminder email each week about your child’s game time and place.
What time are games? All games are on Sundays. Home games and away games can be either in the morning or afternoon. You receive the full schedule for the season a few weeks before the season begins.
What time are practices? All teams have two practices per week. We begin practicing as a team in mid November. Practice times vary, and your coach will alert you to practice times in late-October. Many teams practice one weeknight and one Saturday, although some teams practice on two weeknights. Most practices last 75 or 90 minutes.
Where are the games and where are the practices? Home games are all in Milton, at various gyms. Practices vary, using a variety of the gyms at Milton Public Schools and Milton Academy.
Who are the directors of the program? Rich Hynes is the director of the league. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who are the coaches? The coaches are all volunteers, mostly parents of current players. Most of the coaches have a basketball background and we also do training to ensure our coaches have the best practice and game strategies. We welcome anyone interested in coaching or assistant coaching to contact us at email@example.com.
Why is the fee $425 – that seems a little high? Actually, our fee may seem high because it really is the equivalent of three seasons of basketball all merged into one. We estimate that your child will play 15 games (regular season and tournaments) and practice 35 times (twice per week from late October to early March). That is nearly 100 hours of basketball or $4.25 per hour. Compare that with many of the other local leagues who offer you 10 games and no practices and charge $100 or more (That is $10 per hour). Not to mention the importance of practice – our league offers the most practice and that is proven to help young players far more than games. In some town we compete against, their town offers them gym time. In Milton, unfortunately, we must pay for all gym rentals and our fee is entirely devoted to paying for gym time and referees. We are a non-profit organization, thus using enrollment fees for those two expenses.