Have you ever thought about starting a sports team in your area to test your leadership abilities? I mean, you are a decent basketball player yourself, and you want to give the kids in your neighborhood something to do over the summer. Of course, you would coach and already have another dad in mind as an assistant coach. If this is you, you aren’t alone. Not having a local team when you want to coach or a local team for your kids to play on is how many local teams get started.

Starting a basketball team for kids in your area sounds simple enough, but if you plan to practice and play other teams, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Five tips for starting a team in your area are:

Finding a place to practice and play.

Finding a place for your team to practice and play home games can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a community center close. Some areas to look for space include schools, fitness centers, or even a warehouse with enough space for basketball hoops. The biggest block may be going to each of those places, getting information on the proper contact person for each facility, and then tracking them down.

Decide what division your team will play in.

Deciding on a division may be as easy as knowing what divisions are already in your area. This may limit you to only having one option with which to pick. To help figure out what divisions are around, there are apps and youth sport team trackers that give information on local teams and help new teams get started. 

These apps not only help you decide on division, but they also manage teams and do everything except setting your practice schedule. They deal with registration requirements and create game schedules for teams.

Brainstorm with community and business leaders.

As the prospective coach, you cannot start this team and think that you can deal with all the logistics of coaching and running a team alone. Brainstorming with other parents and community leaders will give you a better idea about all the ins and outs. 

Brainstorming with community and business leaders is also your lead into sponsorship if you have a group of kids who cannot afford to play. Sponsors can help defray the costs of custom jerseys for your team and the cost of your team traveling to away games.

Find a group of youth who want to play.

Finding youth who want to play is probably the easiest part of starting a basketball team. There is youth in every community who don’t want to sit home on computers or play video games all day. They want to be active and hone skills to become the next Michael Jordan or LeBron James. To recruit players, you can put fliers up in grocery stores, community centers, or simply by word of mouth. The chances are that, unfortunately, there will be youth that you’ll have to turn away.

Start practicing for game day.

As the coach, the team will practice around your schedule. If that is tight, have an assistant coach that you can rely on to show up and teach the youth the fundamentals of the game. Understand that as coaches, you set the tone. That means that if you show up late or unprepared for practice, the youth will follow suit and do the same. 

As a coach, you are also a mentor. Your leadership of this team means guiding them in the right direction. Teaching them that basketball is a team sport and unity wins. You are also teaching them about commitment which means showing up for every practice, game, and even when your team is down, continuing to show support.

Starting a basketball team for kids in your area sounds simple, but if you plan to play other teams, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Five tips are to look for a place to practice and play home games, decide what division or league you will play in, brainstorm with community and business leaders, find youth who want to play, and start practicing for game day.

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