Youth Basketball

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The youth basketball movement is about much more than the sport of basketball itself. While fundamentals, practice, and hoops history are all critical parts of the game, it's the intangibles--self-confidence, discipline, teamwork, camaraderie--that are even more important. Youngsters who come to enjoy the game, even if they never excel at it, have gotten just as much as players who go on to play high school or college ball.

Who is responsible for directing the youth basketball movement? As it turns out, there are several organizations whose mission it is to spread the game across the world and teach young kids its principles (as well as those philosophical tenets mentioned above). Some of these are membership groups that actively recruit youngsters to their ranks, while others are more loosely knit assemblages of parents, coaches, and fans who simply love the game.

The Leading Lights of Youth Basketball

Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) is one organization that prizes personal development and friendship as much as it does nasty jump shots and wicked spin moves. The group has its own code of rules and regulations that applies to the tournaments and other competitions it sponsors. It also brings in NBA and college players to address junior players and offers things such as uniforms and other apparel, educational seminars, and clinics as well.

More competitive players might prefer to join the American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT), which runs each year from May to July in cities all across the nation. Here, teams are broken down by age or grade to ensure relative parity throughout the league. Teams then square off against one another in a round robin format, with the winners receiving trophies and other prizes.

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