Frequently Answered Questions

1.What programs does HAA Basketball offer?

HAA Basketball is a member of the Nashoba Youth Basketball League and offers programs for children in Grades K-9, as well as in-town Adult Basketball and a pickup league for 7th, 8th, and 9th Graders. We also offer a more competitive, tryout-based program called CMYBL, which is run by a different league outside of the Nashoba League. Please read on for more information about our different offerings.

Program Details:

Grades K-2: This is a co-ed program that meets once a week for 1 hour on Saturday mornings in the HES gym. Children are assigned to a team at the beginning of the season and play against one of the other Harvard K-2 teams each Saturday. The hour format consists of roughly 30 minutes of practice and instruction and 30 minutes of game time. Games are run in a 4 v. 4 format and, in some cases, even 3 v. 3. Historically, we have grouped Kindergarten and 1st Grade together in the first hour (typically 9-10 am) and 2nd Graders in the second hour (10-11 am). Given the growing class sizes in Harvard, we may need to adjust this on a year-by-year basis in order to keep team sizes small. For example, we may need to have an exclusive kindergarten hour from 9-10 am and then 1st and 2nd in the second hour. As class size continues to grow in Harvard, we also may need to re-evaluate the format and do 3 separate hours for the 3 separate grades, starting at 8 am. This will all be based on how many children sign up.

Grades 3-6: Programs for these ages generally consist of 2 practices per week and 1 weekend game against teams in the Nashoba League. These teams are from nearby towns such as Bolton, Clinton, Stow, Lancaster, Boylston, Maynard and possibly a few others. The groups are broken down as follows:

Boys 3rd/4th; Girls 3rd/4th; Boys 5th/6th; Girls 5th/6th

Grades 7-9: This program consists of 1 meeting a week of purely pick-up basketball in the HES gym, typically on Sunday afternoons or evenings.

Adult Basketball: This is a co-ed program that plays twice a week, typically on Monday and Thursday nights from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Bromfield gym. The league typically starts the first week of November and continues through the last full week of March. It is a pickup league and is open to men and women ages 18 or over.

CMYBL: Harvard is also invited to participate in the Central Massachusetts Youth Basketball League. This is not part of the Nashoba League which our rec teams participate in. The CMYBL is a tryout-based team that is designed to attract players with a higher skill level and more focused commitment to the game. League policy states that CMYBL players are still required to play on their rec team so that our rec teams are not depleted of the strongest talent. What that means is that children who play on a CMYBL and rec team, will have one extra practice and one extra game per week. Please also note that travel time is longer for CMYBL games and may involve traveling to locations as far away as 90 minutes. Additionally, unlike the Nashoba League which guarantees equal playing time, CMYBL players are not guaranteed meaningful minutes in every game. Historically, Harvard has had a 5th/6th grade and 7th/8th grade CMYBL team for both boys and girls. For those who are interested in exploring this option for their child, you can contact the CMYBL coordinators on our Contacts page. They will be choosing a date for tryouts and handling all the steps for forming the teams.

 

2. When are practices and games?

K-2 : Practice is held for 30 mins before the games on Saturday mornings. K and 1st Grade have historically gone from 9-10am and 2nd Grade from 10-11 am, though the timing is subject to change based on numbers of kids who sign up.

3rd-6th Grade:

Practices: We are not able to set a practice schedule until registration closes and we know how many teams we will have. At that point, we then work around the 6 Bromfield School basketball teams, which take precedence in terms of court time. While we appreciate that families need time to plan their schedules, unfortunately this is the very best we can do. We cannot tell you which days your child will have practice until the numbers are set, but we can tell you that 3rd/4th will likely practice from 6:30-7:30pm twice a week and 5th/6th will likely practice from 7:30-8:30pm twice a week. It may also work out that you have one evening practice a week and one weekend daytime practice. Unfortunately all of this is up in the air until the numbers of players, numbers of teams, and coaches are set.

Games: The game schedule is set by the Nashoba League and is completely out of our control. 3rd/4th Grade games are held on Sunday afternoons. 5th/6th Grade games are held on Saturday afternoons. As soon as we are given the schedule we will share it with all teams.

CMYBL: The game schedule is set by the regional CMYBL coordinators and is completely out of our control. Practice times are quite late for CMYBL participants due to Harvard's huge challenges with gym time availability. School teams get first priority for practice time, then rec teams, and lastly CMYBL teams. Therefore, CMYBL practices typically do not start until 8:30 pm.

 

3. Are there try-outs for the youth programs?

For our in-house K-2 program as well as our Nashoba League 3rd-6th grade program, we welcome players of all abilities to join a youth basketball team. This is primarily a developmental program, designed to teach fundamental basketball skills and life-long lessons of team play and sportsmanship. We do conduct evaluations at the beginning of each season simply to create fair and balanced teams. Players will receive equal playing time in games, regardless of ability level.

As mentioned above, the CMYBL is a separate, highly competitive league that does involve tryouts. Equal playing time is not a requirement in games.

 

4. Is basketball a contact sport?

Yes! Basketball is most definitely a contact sport, where man-to-man defensive principles will be taught and where numerous physical encounters (bumps, elbows, body-to-body contact) will occur between your child and other children on the court. While every effort will be made to minimize unnecessary contact, basketball is a very physical sport and you can expect that your child will get fouled numerous times over the course of a season. If you are uncomfortable with the physicality of basketball, please consider if it is a good fit for you and your family. Additionally, any questions about mouth guards, knee pads, etc. should be asked of your child's physician and not of your child's coach.

 

5. Who referees games?

For our K-2 league, volunteer coaches will ref scrimmages. 3rd/4th Grade games are refereed by local high school students. We are very excited this year to be joining the Nashoba League's referee pool. Bromfield athletes interested in joining the pool can sign up to referee games and then are required to attend a mandatory referee training class. The Nashoba League will then make sure we have appropriately trained referees at all the games. Please keep in mind that these referees are young kids who are still learning the skills of refereeing and we always ask for your patience.

5th/6th Grade teams and CMYBL teams have professional referees who are supplied by the Nashoba League.

 

6. My child just wants to play at a casual level. Will this be too intense?

While all youth sports have a degree of competition, the Nashoba Valley League is structured primarily for development, not winning. Coaches endeavor to give players equal playing time in games and great instruction at practices, across all levels of ability. First and foremost, we want to make sure children are in a safe environment where they are having fun and will want to return to the game of basketball season after season.

 

7. How will the K-2 and Nashoba League teams be formed?

Before the season begins, Harvard Youth Basketball leadership will conduct evaluations of all registered players so that coaches and league coordinators can ensure that teams are fairly balanced. These are not tryouts. We typically have players cycle through a series of stations (dribbling, passing, shooting, etc.) while HAA leadership observes and begins to get a sense as to how to evenly balance the teams.

 

8. My child wants to play on the same team as a friend. Can you accommodate special requests like that?

While parents may send special requests to their child’s league coordinator, the need for balanced teams is primary and we cannot always accommodate requests. Coordinator contact information is available at harvardbasketball.org.

 

9. What is the weather policy regarding snow and games/practices?

For those participants in Grades 3-6, the weather policy is set by the Nashoba League. If the gym is open in the town where you are scheduled to play a game, then the game is on. If you are uncomfortable driving or feel it is unsafe in any way, please just let your coach know and do not hesitate to skip the game. We will do our very best to communicate in advance if there is a chance that a game or practice may be canceled.