1. WHY CAN'T COACHES FORM THEIR OWN GRADE SCHOOL TEAMS?
This is a more frequently asked question, one that can be very frustrating - especially for coaches and families that have played together for several seasons. The short answer first, coaches can form their own teams to compete in tournaments, but not for HYL league play. Hoopfest & HYL have created 2 seasons for youth basketball - a short league season with 8 to 10 games, and a longer "Tournament season" with 5+ tournament opportunities and roughly 4 games per weekend resulting in more games. League games and tournaments have been scheduled so that they do not conflict with each other.
HYL teams can play in the league and tournaments, coach formed teams can play in tournaments only.
2. WHY RESTRICT THE LEAGUE?
Restricting the league to open-registration teams is better for Spokane basketball for many reasons:
- Parents can register their children as individuals and don't miss out if they can't find a team. As a result, more kids get the chance to play basketball.
- As players progress and play competitively, they become teammates (and friends) with players that will attend the same high school which more closely connects them with the high school teams and camps.
- Players with advanced skills set an example and help players in their school-based teams to improve more rapidly. This is particularly beneficial because it inspires young athletes, who would otherwise not play basketball, to play, improve and even excel in the sport.
- A "non-club" team with open registration, and that is affiliated with a school, qualifies for free and very low-cost gym time for practices and games. This benefits everyone, but especially those families that wouldn't be able to afford a club team.
For those reasons, a short school-based league makes sense. The hope is that all youth players will play in HYL. However, Hoopfest also appreciates the role of coach-selected teams that have been the backbone of the Spokane AAU league for decades. A coach-selected team can provide the structure for relatives to play together, for families to connect with teams based on friendships, and for teams to recruit specifically based on talent. Hoopfest structured the Tournament Season to provide for both HYL teams and coach-selected teams to participate. And if all the players on the coach-select teams participate in HYL, then those teams are also able to use free/low-cost gyms for practice times.
As HYL grows over the years, we expect most of the teams in tournament season will be either HYL intact teams or a combination of players from neighboring HYL teams forming a new team that desires to play a longer season.
3. WHAT IF I WANT TO PLAY ON/COACH WITH THE SAME TEAM AS LAST SEASON?
The purpose of the Hooptown Youth league’s individual registration model is to connect players at all levels with other players within their community and attending school. Creating this neighborhood connectivity at a young age helps players develop stronger relationships and friendships with their peers through the game of basketball. For this reason, HYL is committed to fostering access and opportunity for every player that wants to participate. By allocating teams based on attending school/neighborhood boundaries, satisfies this purpose.
Naturally, if players are returning and live in the same neighborhood year-after-year, team formation should be consistent as long as the coach remains the same. Therefore, HYL will make every effort to fulfill requests from players and coaches who would like to return to their previous team as years past, while also considering the many variables that come into play when scheduling teams within the league.
4. WHEN DOES REGISTRATION OPEN FOR THE 2023-24 HYL SEASON?
August 15th, 2023
5. WHEN DOES REGISTRATION CLOSE FOR THE 2023 HYL SEASON?
September 15th, 2023
6. DO I REGISTER MY SON/DAUGHTER AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR AS PART OF A TEAM?
Players will need to register as individuals. Parents/Guardians will then need to select which school their son/daughter will be attending for the 2022-2023 school year so that they are placed on their correct team. If there are too many or not enough kids to form a team, we'll combine with the nearest school in the same school district.
7. HOW WILL TEAMS BE FORMED?
Teams will be formed with the goal of matching skill level each participant has registered for. We will be flexible to do the best we can in this. In some cases, we will need to combine neighboring schools or grades within a school.
8. WHAT DIVISIONS WILL BE OFFERED?
- K-2nd Grade: Register for Recreation ONLY
- 3rd-6th Grade: Can Register for either the Recreation or Competitive
9. WHY ARE 6TH GRADE AAU TEAMS PLAYING IN THE HYL LEAGUE THIS SEASON?
With the launch of the HYL league in 2022, Hoopfest has grandfathered existing coach-selected grade school AAU league teams to play in the league. This resulted in a 5th and 6th grade AAU league for the 2022/2023 season. Those 5th-grade teams will continue to be grandfathered for the 2023/2024 season as 6th-grade teams, but back into the HYL structure. Previous grandfathered teams will not be subject to individual registration and can sign up as a team. The competitive HYL division league season has the same exact schedule (both the number of games and game dates) as the previous Hoopfest-operated AAU program for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. For that reason, we will likely operate the 6th grade AAU league within the HYL structure. The 6th-grade Competitive HYL division game schedules are based on a consultation with coaches. The objective is to generate a league schedule with the most competitive games by matching, to the extent possible, teams of comparable skill levels playing each other. Our expectation is that the previously grandfathered 6th-grade teams would be included in this process. This may result in grandfathered teams only playing each other in the league, but more likely there will be at least some HYL competitive teams playing grandfathered AAU teams as well.