2018-2019 Winter Travel Basketball Tryouts

evaluation-form

Tryouts for the upcoming 2018-19 winter season are conducted in late September and early October. Tryouts are held for each grade level and gender.  Natick Travel Basketball teams participate in the Metro West Basketball league. Metro West Basketball league requirements state that players must play with grade level peers and may not play down a year, regardless of age.  If you have questions regarding this, please contact a board member.

NTB players are expected to make basketball their primary winter sport.  Each NTB team will have 2 practices and 1 game each week. Games are generally held on Sundays in Natick or surrounding towns.  Players are generally expected to attend each practice and game. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

 

A summary of the tryout process is set out below:

  • Prospective players register for tryouts online.
  • Online, all players will be placed on a “wait list” until after tryouts. Once teams are made, families complete registration and make payment.
  • Players attend two tryouts.
  • Teams are selected and players will be notified. There are two to three teams chosen for each grade, 4th – 8th.  Cuts will be made when numbers dictate it necessary.
  • Upon making a team, players need to go back online and make payment for the season.
  • After teams are made, coaches will be named.

 

Please also consider attending the appropriate clinic for your child that will focus on teaching skills and drills that will be evaluated during the tryout process.

Register Today!

Tryout Frequently Asked Questions

Registration/Costs

Do I need to register my child to tryout?

Yes.  We strongly recommend that you pre-register your child prior to tryouts.  Walk-ins are permitted, but your child must then be pre-registered online.  Once pre-registered, all players are placed on a “wait list” until after tryouts are completed.  Once teams are selected, families may complete registration online and pay the registration fee at that time.

What is the registration fee?  Is there a discount if I have more than one child participating?

The registration fee is $375 per child for the 2018-19 season.  There is an incremental $75 discount for each additional child that participates on an NTB team (i.e., fee is $300 for second child; $225 for third, etc.).  The registration fee covers the cost of gym rentals for practices and games, league fees, scorekeepers, and referees for all Metro West Basketball league games and playoffs, insurance and equipment.  

Financial assistance is available. Please contact president@natickbasketball.com to find out more information.  NTB’s belief and goal is to enable all children to play regardless of their financial situation.

Why was the registration fee increased?

The NTB Board voted to raise the registration fees to align with the significantly increased expenses required to operate the NTB program successfully.  NTB’s access to in-town facilities is limited while our need for additional gym time has increased due to the tremendous growth of the program. Unfortunately, this requires NTB to rent out-of-town facilities which charge higher fees.  As a result, the cost of gym rentals has increased over 100% in the last five years. As a not-for-profit program run by volunteers, there is limited ability to reduce these external costs.

NTB subsidizes costs with revenue from our annual Turkey Shootout and various other off-season programs such as Hoopsters, Crafty 3×3, open gyms, and clinics. Unfortunately,  even with this revenue, the NTB program has been running at an operational deficit for the past few years.

Despite the increasing costs, NTB has invested in program improvements including two dedicated team practices per week, in-season skill development programs conducted by outside clinicians (new in 2018-19), and the addition of a third team in three different grades as of last season.  

Please be aware that notwithstanding the substantial increase in costs noted above, this is only the second increase in registration fees during the last five years.  The NTB registration fee remains substantially less than the registration fee charged by surrounding towns that participate in the Metro West Basketball league—fees in many of these surrounding towns are in in the range of $400 – $500 per child.

Do I need to purchase my uniform or other equipment?

Players must purchase travel uniforms if you do not already own one from the previous season.  For 4th graders, players new to the NTB program or players who have outgrown their uniform, you may order a new uniform from the Natick Outdoor Store.  Uniforms cost approximately $80 per child. This is an additional cost and is not included in the registration fee.

The only other required equipment is a pair of indoor gym sneakers.  Most coaches also ask that the players bring a ball to practice when possible for individual drills, but this is not required.  NTB provides each coach with a bag of basketballs for use during the season.

Tryouts

How many tryouts are there per grade?  Will there be callbacks?

There will be two tryouts per grade.  If there are a substantial number of players in a grade for the first tryout, there may be call backs for the second tryout.  If there are call backs, a list of those moving forward will be posted online the day after the first tryout. The Tryout Coordinator will inform the group prior to the end of the first tryout whether there will be call backs.  The second tryout will give the Independent Evaluators an additional opportunity to observe and evaluate the players’ skills and abilities.

Do returning NTB players from the previous year have to try out?

Yes. Players in all grades are required to attend tryouts if they wish to play on one of the NTB teams.  If a child who played on an NTB team last year does not attend tryouts, it is assumed that they have decided not to play on an NTB team this upcoming year.

What if my child is injured or cannot participate in a tryout due to a conflict?

We strongly recommend that a player attends both tryouts to afford the Independent Evaluators the best opportunity to evaluate the player’s performance.  It is expected that a player will attend tryouts rather than participate in another sport activity. If a player is ill, injured or otherwise cannot attend tryouts, you must contact the Tryout Coordinator or an NTB board member prior to the scheduled tryout.  Any player not attending tryouts due to injury, illness or other conflicts will receive appropriate consideration when the NTB teams are selected using all the data available to the Independent Evaluators. NTB compares our tryout schedule against the school calendar to minimize conflicts with school related activities, but cannot guarantee non-conflicts with all sports and extracurricular activities.

How are tryouts structured?

Each tryout session will last approximately 90 minutes and will focus on basketball skills, team play, court awareness and scrimmaging.  Younger grade tryouts will spend more time on basketball skills, whereas older grade tryouts will spend more time on scrimmaging.

Who is present at the tryouts and who evaluates the players?

There will be an assigned Tryout Coordinator, 3-6 Independent Evaluators, and coaches from the prior season in attendance at each of the tryouts.

  • The Tryout Coordinators organize and manage the tryout process, allowing the Independent Evaluators to focus solely on evaluating the performance of the players.  The Tryout Coordinator could be a coach from the previous year.
  • Independent Evaluators evaluate and rate the players, and make recommendations regarding team formation.  The Independent Evaluators participate in both nights of tryouts, and do not currently coach nor have a child within that age group.  There are typically between 3 – 6 Independent Evaluators at each tryout, many of whom are former college players, current or former high school coaches, and current or former youth coaches.
  • Head coaches from the prior season are asked to attend both nights of tryouts as well, typically in the role of Tryout Coordinator.  The coaches know most of the players and help organize and facilitate drills and scrimmages–to allow the Independent Evaluators to focus on evaluating the players. The coaches are also available to answer any questions the Independent Evaluators may have.

Can parents attend and observe the tryout?

Parents are not allowed in the gym during the tryout process to keep the players relaxed and focused.  We understand that parents enjoy observing the tryout, but have found it better for the players not to have sideline coaching or unintentional distractions during the tryout.

When will the players know their placement?

Team rosters will be announced via the Natick Travel Basketball website within two weeks of the final tryout session for that grade/gender.  NTB will send an email to all families when team rosters are published on the website.

Can I request a specific coach or teammate?

No.  Due to the large number of participants and our commitment to balanced, competitive teams, we are not able to accommodate requests for specific coaches or teammates.

Team Selection Process

How many players will be selected for each NTB team?

For Grades 4, 5 and 6:

A Teams will have 12 players, B Teams will have 12 players.  

For Grades 7 and 8:

A Teams will have 10 players, B Teams will have 12 players.

C teams at any grade level will have 12 players.

The Natick Travel Basketball (NTB) board may, in its discretion, adjust the team roster and roster sizes due to the skill level and number of players trying out at any given grade level.  Selecting team rosters and team sizes is a very difficult task, and the Independent Evaluators, coaches and NTB board members do the best they can. As a reminder, everyone involved is a volunteer; we ask that you please be courteous regarding the difficult decisions made during the team selection process.

Unfortunately, there are typically more players trying out for NTB teams than we can accommodate, so please be aware there is a possibility that your child may not make an NTB team. Please note that if your child does not make an NTB team, all players are welcome to participate in the town’s intramural program.  See below for more information.

Are there always two teams per grade and gender? Can there be more than two teams?

Due to current gym availability, there may be a maximum of 23 NTB teams.  Our goal is to have an A and B team for each grade and gender. Please note that the A and B teams for Grade 4 will be blended by skill level.  If numbers and talent warrant a competitive third team in any grade/gender, we will evaluate the opportunity and welcome the additional participation.  

The number of teams in each grade in any given year may vary based on the skill level and number of players trying out in conjunction with gym space and other financial resources.  Due to our desire to include as many younger players as possible, deference may be provided to the creation of additional teams at the younger grade level versus the older grade levels.  The decision to include or exclude a third team in any grade/gender will be made at the discretion of the NTB board.

How are teams selected?

Independent Evaluators develop numeric ratings for the players using consistent skill-based and game play criteria over the course of the two tryouts.  There are then three primary inputs for the team selection process: (i) the compilation of the numeric ratings from the Independent Evaluators for player performance during the two tryouts; (ii) the recommended team rosters developed by the Independent Evaluators; and (iii) prior year head coaches may provide input based on a player’s performance during the prior season.  The team rosters become final after the NTB board votes to approve the proposed team rosters for each grade. Our goal is to form competitive teams that are balanced by position, in each grade, gender and division.

How and when are coaches selected?

Coaches are selected shortly after the tryouts are completed.  Anyone interested in coaching (parent or non-parent) should contact an NTB board member.  Individuals new to the NTB program will be interviewed by the NTB board shortly after the team selection.  If there are multiple candidates for a coaching position, each candidate will be interviewed by the board and the board will vote on the individual deemed most appropriate for the coaching spot.  If the previous year’s coach wishes to continue to coach and is unopposed, then the board will approve that coach for the upcoming season.

Other Basketball Opportunities

What if my child does not make an NTB team?  Are there other opportunities for my son or daughter to play basketball?

If your child does not make an NTB team, we encourage him/her to participate in the Intramural Basketball program run by Natick’s Parks and Recreation Department (Natick Rec).

Natick Rec offers basketball programs for 3rd-8th grade boys and girls during the winter months.  Natick Rec is a great program to develop players’ skills and improve comfort levels on the court while improving their overall basketball abilities.  The programs are open to players with all abilities.

If your son or daughter does not earn a spot on a NTB team, and they wish to play in the Natick Rec program, they are NOT automatically enrolled in the Natick Rec program and are required to register via the Natick Parks and Recreation – Town Website

Additionally, in the fall and spring there are opportunities to play Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball.  There are a number of AAU programs in the surrounding area. Tryouts for fall programs typically start in September and tryouts for spring programs typically start in early January.

If my son or daughter makes an NTB team, can they still play in the Natick Rec program?

Some NTB players also participate in the Natick Rec program as NTB games do not conflict with those of the Natick Rec program. The Natick Rec program is open to all NTB players in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades.  For the older players, 7th and 8th grade NTB players are not allowed to play in the 7/8 Natick Rec League due to limited gym availability for practices and games.

Practices and Games/Playing Time

What is the expected commitment for participation in the NTB program?

Players who earn a spot on an NTB team are expected to make basketball their primary winter sport.  As noted below, each NTB team will have 2 practices and 1 game each week. Games are generally held on Sundays.  Players are expected to attend each practice and game. We appreciate that injury, illness, school activities, or other personal circumstances may force a player to miss a practice or game.  However, to insure fairness for all players participating on an NTB team, players who choose to skip an NTB practice or game to participate at another sporting activity may be benched for part, or all, of a game at the coach’s discretion.  For repeated occurrences, further action may be taken by the NTB board.

When/where are practices held?

NTB teams typically practice twice a week beginning in early November at gyms either in Natick or surrounding towns when Natick gym space is not available.  Due to gym constraints, it is not uncommon for teams to have one of their practices on either Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons.

What about games?

Most teams play 12 regular season games over the course of 12 weekends, plus playoffs, from early December through late February.  The league recognizes the Christmas and New Year’s weekends as holidays, so in past years those weekends have been avoided if the holiday falls near them.  The league normally holds games on Martin Luther King weekend and both weekends of February vacation. Home games will be played in Natick at either Natick High School or the Community Center, and sometimes Wilson Middle School. Away games will be played at any number of towns that participate in the Metro West Basketball league, typically the suburbs west and south of Boston.  Team schedules are maintained at the Metro West Basketball website.

Will there be any additional games?

All NTB teams usually participate in the NTB Turkey Shootout held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving.  In addition, depending on the individual NTB team head coach, additional pre-season or holiday week tournaments and games may be scheduled during the season.  NTB does not charge its teams to participate in the Turkey Shootout. Other tournaments organized by the coaches may require additional registration fees.

Is there a minimum playing time?

Yes.  Natick is one of the few towns in the Metro West Basketball league that requires a minimum playing time for each player.  As the Metro West Basketball league is a competitive league, the minimum playing time for each player on a travel team is 10 minutes per game.  Please note that we encourage coaches to provide as balanced playing time as possible throughout the season. Playing time may vary from game to game, but please be aware of the possibility that play time may be limited to 10 minutes during a game.  In addition, playing time may be negatively impacted if a player repeatedly misses practices or games, or if there are issues with, among other things, attitude or effort. There is no minimum playing time requirement for playoff games.