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Youth Development Guidelines

YOUTH BASKETBALL LANDSCAPE

Basketball is the most popular youth sport in America and is played by millions of young people in the United States and around the world. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, 9.8 million boys and girls ages 6-17 played basketball in 2015. Playing basketball fosters the development of peer relationships, self-esteem, leadership qualities, and physical health.

To date, however, the sport of basketball has lacked guidelines around health and wellness and consistent game play standards. To help foster player health, age- and stage-appropriate skill development, and a positive and enjoyable on-court experience for young people, USA Basketball and the NBA have developed a set of rules and standards to enhance the playing experience for young athletes.

These guidelines aim to combat the overemphasis on early competitive success and the lack of a clear development pathway through the sport – two issues that exist across youth sports, including basketball.

USA Basketball and the NBA are committed to helping shape a youth basketball environment that prioritizes the health and well-being of young athletes and promotes their enjoyment and development in the game.

USA BASKETBALL & NBA PARTNERSHIP ON YOUTH GUIDELINES

USA Basketball launched its Youth Development Division in 2013 to provide added governance and structure for youth basketball. The NBA expanded its Jr. NBA program in 2015 to help grow and improve the game.

In the spring of 2016, USA Basketball and the NBA came together to establish three expert working groups charged with developing guidelines designed to promote a positive and healthy youth basketball experience.

The three working groups are comprised of successful coaches and administrators from all  levels of the sport; former men’s and women’s players, including several that played collegiately and professionally; and leading medical experts from around the world. See Appendix A for a complete list of working group members.

The three working groups that were established are focused on: 

  • Health and Wellness
  • Playing Rules and Standards
  • Curriculum and Instruction

While each working group has its own focus, the overall objective is to develop guidelines for youth basketball that promote player health and wellness, on-court skill development, and help create a lifelong love for the game of basketball.

The recommendations developed and released through this initiative focus on the following areas:

PLAYER HEALTH AND WELLNESS PLAYER SEGMENTATION PLAYING RULES AND STANDARDS 

USA Basketball Youth

 

Player Health & Wellness Recommendations

The Health and Wellness working group has drafted a scientific paper that surveys the existing literature and makes eight key recommendations for promoting a positive and healthy youth basketball experience:

  1. Promote personal engagement in youth basketball and other sports. Sports provide opportunities for children and adolescents to connect with others, build meaningful relationships and take on challenges and leadership roles that promote overall personal development and well-being.
  2. Youth sports should include both organized and informal, peer-led activities. Peer-led activities allow children freedom to create and challenge themselves. In addition  to having structured practices and competitions, basketball organizations should encourage informal, peer-led opportunities for individual growth.
  3. Youth should participate in a variety of sports. Sport sampling during childhood provides a foundation for long-term success, often by allowing young athletes a chance to find a sport that they enjoy and that may ultimately fit him or her best. For the sport of basketball, multi-sport participation in youth can help an athlete be a better basketball player.
  4. Delay single-sport specialization in the sport of basketball until age 14 or older. Participation in multiple sports in early childhood is beneficial from a player health and player development perspective. Athletes that reach the highest level of achievement are more likely to have played multiple sports at a young age and delayed single-sport specialization until late adolescence. Studies of world-class athletes in basketball and other team ball sports have demonstrated that top performing athletes often delayed single-sport specialization until age 16 or later. Thus, delaying specialization until this age range is recommended. However, when considering the need to balance time among school, sports, community activities, and other responsibilities, our experts recognize that single-sport specialization in the U.S. may occur upon entry to high school. Specialization in basketball prior to age 14 is discouraged.
  5. Ensure rest from organized basketball at least one day per week and extended time away from organized basketball each year. Daily rest is important for injury prevention, sport development and overall health. Rest days should be taken each week, and extended time off should be taken each year for physical recovery as well as to recharge oneself psychologically. Such an approach helps to maintain motivation for continued participation.
  6. Limit high-density scheduling based on age-appropriate guidelines. High density competition scheduling can increase risk for injury and burnout. Parent, coaches and event directors should be cautious in considering tournaments that schedule multiple competitive events (i.e. games) in short periods of time. Special attention must be paid to rest, recovery and refueling.
  7. Further evaluation of basketball-specific neuromuscular injury prevention training programs is warranted. Such programs appear valuable in reducing lower extremity injuries in other sports. Early results indicate similar benefits in basketball.
  8. Parents and coaches should be educated regarding concepts of sport readiness and injury prevention. Variations among youth in cognitive and social development, as well as motor skills, should be considered when setting goals and expectations.

PLAYER PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES

Overscheduling of competitive events, overuse injuries and burnout have become too common in youth basketball. The tables below were developed in collaboration with the Health and Wellness and Playing Standards working groups to provide recommended and maximum amounts of youth basketball participation, based on a player’s age.

RECOMMENDED PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES

PLAYING SEGMENT

GAME LENGTH

GAMES PER WEEK

PRACTICE LENGTH

PRACTICES PER WEEK

Ages 7-8

20-28 minutes

1

30-60 minutes

1

Ages 9-11 

24-32 minutes

1 to 2

45-75 minutes

2

Ages 12-14

28-32 minutes

2

60-90 minutes

2 to 4

Grades 9-12 

32-40 minutes

2 to 3

90-120 minutes

3 to 4

 
MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES

PLAYING SEGMENT

MAXIMUM GAMES PER DAY

MAX HOURS PER WEEK OF ORGANIZED BASKETBALL

Ages 7-8

1

3 hours

Ages 9-11 

2*

5 hours

Ages 12-14

2*

10 hours**

Grades 9-12 

2*

14 hours**


The maximum participation guidelines outlined above are intended to serve as limits on a young athlete’s participation in organized basketball (subject to the guidance on youth basketball camps and academies below). It is possible that participation in organized basketball within the maximum limits but in excess of the recommendations is also not advisable from a health and wellness standpoint; however, this issue requires further study.

*Youth basketball players, parents, and coaches should demonstrate caution in scheduling or participating in more than one game per day, especially on consecutive days. If young athletes participate in an event or tournament in which more than one game is played per day on consecutive days, players should have additional time off from sports activities following the event to allow for recovery.

**Young athletes in these age ranges who are approaching these maximum hour limits should NOT be playing another sport concurrently.

REST GUIDELINES

PLAYING SEGMENT

MINIMUM REST DAYS PER WEEK

MAX MONTHS PER YEAR IN ORGANIZED BASKETBALL

RECOMMENDED HOURS OF SLEEP PER NIGHT

Ages 7-8

2

4 months

9-12 hours

Ages 9-11

2

5 months

9-12 hours

Ages 12-14 

1

7 months

8-10 hours*

Grades 9-12 

1

9-10 months

8-10 hours

*For 12-year-olds, 9-12 hours of sleep is recommended

Definitions and additional information regarding the recommended and maximum participation tables are provided in Appendix B.



Player Segmentation Model

Basketball currently lacks a consistent way to group kids for competition, and the result is a patchwork of different structures, age requirements and rules. Classmates may be able to play with one another in a given tournament that uses a grade-based classification system (based on academic year in school), but be prohibited from competing together in a separate event that uses an age-based system.

In response to this lack of consistency, USA Basketball and the NBA have established a Youth Basketball Player Segmentation Model designed to help ensure player safety, competitive fairness and balance for youth basketball players.

This player segmentation model was developed by the Playing Standards working group after careful consideration of the different segmentation models currently being used in youth basketball, as well as the guidelines created and implemented by the national governing bodies of other sports.

The Youth Basketball Player Segmentation model features a hybrid age/grade structure that employs strict age groupings through age 13, and then uses a grade affiliation model once a player enters the ninth grade. Its key features are below:

  AGE-BASED SEGMENTATION THROUGH AGE 13

  • For purposes of eligibility, a “Playing Year” is defined as Sept. 1-Aug. 31.
  • Beginning at age 6, players are segmented by single-year age through age 13. Date of birth relative to Playing Year is the final determinant of eligibility.
  • For age segments, each age designation reflects the maximum age of a player during the Playing Year. For example, using the 2018-19 Playing Year, the 12U segment is for players who are 12 years of age and under as of Aug. 31, 2019. Should a player turn 13 on Aug. 31 or earlier, the player would be ineligible for the 12U segment and would be considered a 13U player.

  14U / EIGHTH GRADE TRANSITION YEAR

  • A transition year between age-based and grade-based affiliation is necessary to allow for players who have been held back in school or started school at an older age. This provides a transition period from playing with one’s age segment to playing with kids in the same academic grade.

  GRADE-BASED SEGMENTATION IN GRADES 9 - 12

  • Players in grades nine through 12 are classified based on the grade they are attending in school as of Oct. 1 of the Playing Year.
  • Exceptions: For grade segments only, players must be enrolled in school at the grade level in which they are competing AND can only be up to one Playing Year older than their grade indicates. For example, using the 2016-17 Playing Year, a ninth grade player cannot turn 17 prior to Sept. 1, 2017.

See Appendix C [LINK TO APPENDIX C] for a player segmentation chart for the 2016-17 season.

Rules & Standards

Basketball is played in countless settings and locations across the U.S. – and though the game remains fundamentally the same, there are many variables that can impact a young player’s experience. USA Basketball and the NBA want all players to enjoy the game and have a fun, developmentally appropriate experience.

Parents and coaches frequently ask certain questions, especially when their kids are young:

  • How high should we set the basket?
  • What size ball should we use?
  • Should we play zone defense?

These are important questions, and we understand that playing with the correct equipment and establishing age-appropriate rules significantly impacts the experience for youth as they learn the game. Therefore, USA Basketball and the NBA have established detailed guidelines to help young players develop at a natural pace that is suitable to their age and physiological abilities.

RULES AND STANDARDS ELEMENTS

USA Basketball and the NBA have worked closely with an expert working group on Playing Standards to develop age- and stage-appropriate rules and standards for youth basketball. Aligning with the Player Segmentation Model, these guidelines will help young players appropriately learn the fundamentals of the game, achieve and maintain early success, and provide enhanced long-term development.

The rules and standards address four key areas:

  1. Equipment & Court Specifications (e.g., proper height of the basket, size of the ball, and court dimensions and lines).
  2. Game Structure (e.g., length of the game, scoring and timeouts).
  3. Game Tactics (e.g., equal playing time, player-to-player vs. zone defense, pressing vs. no pressing).
  4. Game Play Rules (e.g., use of a shot clock, substitutions, clock stoppage).

RULES AND STANDARDS CHARTS

See below for detailed rules and standards information. Please keep in mind:

  • The playing rules and standards below are to serve as guidelines and recommendations for those administering basketball competitions.
  • USA Basketball and the NBA have adopted FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules for the Grades 9-12 age- segment and created progressive sets of rules and standards for younger age segments (ages 14 and under). Where a specific rule or standard is not explicitly indicated, the recommendation is to follow official FIBA rules.
  • USA Basketball and the NBA will utilize these playing rules and standards in all events and competitions they may host.

* We understand that organizations and facilities may not always be able to accommodate all recommendations and that modifications will need to be made in certain instances due to practical limitations (e.g., inability to raise or lower the height of a basket, re-draw court lines, or not having a shot clock).

EQUIPMENT & COURT SPECIFICATIONS

PLAYING SEGMENT

SIZE OF BALL

HEIGHT OF BASKET

SIZE OF COURT

DISTANCE OF 3-POINT ARC

DISTANCE OF FREE-THROW LINE

AGES 7-8

Boys and Girls size 5 (27.5”)

8’

50’x42’

Not applicable

14’

AGES 9-11 Boys and Girls size 6 (28.5”) 9' 74'x50' Not applicable 14'
AGES 12-14 Girls size 6 (28.5")
Boys size 7 (29.5")
10' 84'x50' or
94'x50'
19'9" 15'
GRADES 9-12 Girls size 6 (28.5")
Boys size 7 (29.5")
10' 94'x50' 22'2" or the next available line under 22'2" 15'

NOTE: 3x3 half-court play is also recommended for young players to foster enhanced participation and development.

RATIONALE

Distance of 3-Point Arc: For 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds, although the 3-point arc may exist on the floor, all baskets made beyond this arc only count as two points. Therefore, the distance of  the line is not applicable for these age segments. Eliminating the 3-point basket at these age segments will encourage players to shoot from within a developmentally-appropriate range. For 9th-12th graders, a 22’2” arc is preferred, but if this line is not on a court the next available line under 22’2” is recommended.

Distance of Free Throw Line: 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds should take free throws 14 feet from the basket to develop proper form and increase success.

Height of Basket: Utilizing a lower basket height for 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds allows children to develop proper shooting form and increases the opportunity for shooting success.

Scoring: All field goals for 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds are worth two points to encourage children to shoot within a developmentally-appropriate range. This allows for proper mechanics and form. While these age segments may attempt a shot behind the 3-point arc, any field goal made behind the arc will only count as two points.

Size of Ball: A smaller basketball for the younger age segments is advised due to the size of a child’s hand as well as their developing skill level. A smaller ball allows for better control and success.

Size of Court: For 7-8 year-olds, a 50’x 42’ court is contemplated to be a cross-court game on a full-sized basketball court. This dimension is more appropriate for younger children based on their relative size in space.

STRUCTURE

AGES 7-8

  • GAME LENGTH: Four 8-minute periods
  • TIME BETWEEN PERIODS: 1 minute
  • EXTRA PERIODS: 2 minutes
  • SCORING:
    • Free throw: 1 point
    • All field goals: 2 points
    • No 3-point field goals
  • TIME OUTS:
    • Two 60-second timeouts permitted in the first half of play. Two 60-second timeouts permitted  in the second half of play
    • One 60-second timeout granted for each extra period
    • Unused timeouts may not carry over to the next half or into extra periods
  • START OF GAME POSSESSION: Coin flip. Team awarded possession starts with throw-in at half court

 

AGES 9-11

  • GAME LENGTH: Four 8-minute periods
  • TIME BETWEEN PERIODS: 1 minute
  • EXTRA PERIODS: 2 minutes
  • SCORING:
    • Free throw: 1 point
    • All field goals: 2 points
    • No 3-point field goals
  • TIME OUTS:
    • Two 60-second timeouts permitted in the first half of play. Two 60-second timeouts permitted  in the second half of play
    • One 60-second timeout granted for each extra period
    • Unused timeouts may not carry over to the next half or into extra periods
  • START OF GAME POSSESSION: Coin flip. Team awarded possession starts with throw-in at half court

 

AGES 12-14

  • GAME LENGTH: Four 8-minute periods
  • TIME BETWEEN PERIODS: 1 minute
  • EXTRA PERIODS: 4 minutes
  • SCORING:
    • Free throw: 1 point
    • All field goals: 2 points
    • Field goal outside of 3-point arc: 3 points
  • TIME OUTS:
    • Two 60-second timeouts permitted in the first half of play. Three 60-second timeouts permitted  in the second half of play
    • Maximum of 2 timeouts permitted in the final 2 minutes of the 4th period
    • One 60-second timeout granted for each extra period
    • Unused timeouts may not carry over to the next half or into extra periods
  • START OF GAME POSSESSION: Jump ball

 

GRADES 9-12

  • GAME LENGTH: Four 10-minute periods
  • TIME BETWEEN PERIODS: 2 minute
  • EXTRA PERIODS: 5 minutes
  • SCORING:
    • Free throw: 1 point
    • All field goals: 2 points
    • Field goal outside of 3-point arc: 3 points
  • TIME OUTS:
    • Two 60-second timeouts permitted in the first half of play. Three 60-second timeouts permitted in the second half of play
    • Maximum of 2 timeouts permitted in the final 2 minutes of the 4th period
    • One 60-second timeout granted for each extra period
    • Unused timeouts may not carry over to the next half or into extra periods
  • START OF GAME POSSESSION: Jump ball

 

RATIONALE

Start of Game Possession: For 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds, a coin flip will determine the team that will start with the ball to mitigate significant differences in height and coordination among children. Alternating possession rules will then ensue throughout the game.
Timeouts: Managing the way timeouts are called allows for better game flow and decision-making by the player(s).

GAME TACTICS

PLAYING SEGMENT

PLAYING TIME

SET DEFENSE

PRESSING DEFENSE

DOUBLE-TEAM /CROWDING

STEALING FROM THE DRIBBLER

AGES 7-8

Equal playing time

Only player-to- player defense throughout the competition

Pressing is not allowed throughout the competition

Double-team / crowding is not allowed throughout the competition

Stealing from a dribbler is not allowed throughout the competition

AGES 9-11

 

Equal playing time in periods 1-3. Coaches discretion in the 4th period and each extra period

Only player-to-player defense throughout the competition

• Player-to-player defense may be extended full court in the 4th period and each extra period
• Leading team may not extend the defense over half court when leadingby 25 points or more

 

Double-team/crowding is not allowed throughout the competition.

Coach's discretion throughout the competition.

AGES 12-14

Coach's discretion throughout the competition

All allowed throughout the competition at coach's discretion

• Pressing allowed throughout the competition
•  Leading team may not press when leading by 25 points or more

Allowed throughout the competition at coach's discretion

Coach's discretion throughout the competition

GRADES 9-12 Coach's discretion throughout the competition All allowed throughout the competition at coach's discretion Pressing allowed throughout the competition Allowed throughout the competition at coach's discretion Coach's discretion throughout the competition

DEFINITIONS

Player-to-Player Defense

  • Each player is responsible for guarding and moving with one offensive player. This requires the defensive player to move according to the offensive player’s movements with or without the ball.
  • The defensive player must stay on the same side of the court as the offensive player, divided by the rim line.
  • If an offensive player with the ball advances past their defensive player, another defender may rotate to guard that offensive player.

Pressing Defense: Defensive guarding, either on or off the ball, within the backcourt.

Double-Team/Crowding: Two or more defensive players guarding a single offensive player

RATIONALE

Double-Team/Crowding: Crowding the ball with multiple players (referred to as “double- teaming”) is not allowed for 7-8 or 9-11 year-olds due to skill and size discrepancies among children at these ages. Crowding is allowed for 12-14 year-olds and older to remain consistent with pressing defense standards.

Playing Time: To ensure that all young children participating in the sport have an opportunity to experience the game, equal and fair playing time is recommended for 7-8 year-olds. For 9-11
year-olds, equal playing time is recommended for periods 1-3, while allowing coaches discretion in the 4th and extra periods. Equal and fair playing time is encouraged throughout all segments.

Pressing Defense: Pressing defense is prohibited for 7-8 year-olds to help children develop principles of movement with and without the ball in a half-court setting. For 9-11 year- olds, permitting player-to-player defense to extend full-court in the 4th and extra periods allows players to become accustomed to full-court defense while not having to understand sophisticated zone presses. It also allows for an introduction to competitive tactics.

Set Defense: The player-to-player requirement for 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds encourages physical activity and movement, and promotes the development of individual skill related to guarding a player both on and off the ball.

HIGHLIGHTED GAME PLAY RULES

PLAYING SEGMENT

BACKCOURT TIMELINE

SHOT CLOCK

5 SECONDS CLOSELY GUARDED CLOCK STOPPAGE

AGES 7-8

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

On any dead ball

AGES 9-11 10 seconds Not applicable Only when the offensive player is holding the basketball On any dead ball.
AGES 12-14 10 seconds •  30 seconds
•  Full 30 second reset on offensive and defensive rebounds
•  Full 30 second reset on any foul
Only when the offensive player is holding the basketball •  On any dead ball
•  After a made field goal in the last 2 minutes  of the 4th period and in each extra period
GRADES 9-12 8 seconds  •  24 seconds
•  14 second reset for offensive rebound
•  Full 24 second reset for fouls committed in the backcourt
•  If a foul is committed in the frontcourt and the shot clock is above 14 seconds, there will be no reset and the clock will continue from the time it was stopped
•  If a foul is committed in the frontcourt and the shot clock is under 14 seconds, it shall be reset to 14 seconds
Only when the offensive player is holding the basketball •  On any dead ball
•  After a made field goal in the last 2 minutes  of the 4th period and in each extra period

 

RATIONALE

Backcourt Timeline: Not having a timeline violation for 7-8 year-olds allows coaches to communicate to players before they reach half court. This assists coaches in teaching children, particularly for those first learning the game. The progression to 10 seconds for 9-11 and 12-14 year-olds, and later to eight seconds for Grades 9-12, allows the game to flow while developing skills such as ball-handling, passing and decision-making.

Clock Stoppage: Stopping the clock following a made basket within the last two minutes of the fourth period and any extra periods for 12-14 year-olds and 9th-12th graders allows for
additional strategic decision-making. Fewer clock stoppages for 7-8 and 9-11 year-olds allows for a better game flow.

Shot Clock: The 30-second shot clock for 12-14 year-olds, along with the 24-second shot clock for 9th-12th graders, allows for more possessions for each team, better game flow and places decision-making elements in the hands of players.

Advancement of the Ball after a Timeout: For 7-8 year-olds, the focus is on development over strategy. Therefore, there is no pressing defense at this level, and the ball will not automatically advance after a timeout. Similarly, the ball does not advance after a timeout for 9-11 year-olds because the focus remains on development over strategy.

HIGHLIGHTED GAME PLAY RULES CONTINUED

PLAYING SEGMENT

LENGTH OF TIME FOR A FREE THROW

NUMBER OF PLAYERS PERMITTED ON FREE-THROW LINE

SUBSTITUTIONS

ADVANCEMENT OF BALL AFTER A TIME OUT

AGES 7-8

10 seconds

•  Offense may have 3 players on the lane, including the shooter
•  Defense may have 3 players on the lane

Either team may substitute when the clock is stopped

Not applicable

AGES 9-11

10 seconds

•  Offense may have 3 players on the lane, including the shooter
•  Defense may have 3 players on the lane

Either team may substitute when the clock is stopped

Not applicable

AGES 12-14

8 seconds

•  Offense may have 3 players on the lane, including the shooter
•  Defense may have 3 players on the lane

•  Either team may substitute on any dead ball
•  Either team may substitute before the first free throw attempt or after the last free throw if made
• A non-scoring team may substitute after any field goal scored in the last 2 minutes of the 4th period and each
extra period. If the non-scoring team substitutes, the scoring team may also substitute

In the last 2 minutes of the 4th period and each extra period following a time out, the ball will be inbounded from the offensive team’s frontcourt opposite the scorer’s table

GRADES 9-12 5 seconds  •  Offense may have 3 players on the lane, including the shooter
•  Defense may have 3 players on the lane

• Either team may substitute on any dead ball
•  Either team may substitute before the first free throw attempt or after the last free throw if made
•  A non-scoring team may substitute after any field goal scored in the last 2 minutes of the 4th period and each extra period. If the non-scoring team substitutes, the scoring team may also substitute

• In the last 2 minutes of the 4th period and each extra period following a time out, the ball will be inbounded from the offensive team’s frontcourt opposite the scorer’s table

RATIONALE

Advancement of the Ball after a Timeout: For 7-8 year-olds, the focus is on development over strategy. Therefore, there is no pressing defense at this level, and the ball will not automatically advance after a timeout. Similarly, the ball does not advance after a timeout for 9-11 year-olds because the focus remains on development over strategy.

NEXT STEPS

Establishing guidelines for youth basketball is an important first step towards creating an infrastructure for the sport that promotes health and wellness, skill development, and positive basketball experiences for boys and girls.

USA Basketball and the NBA have committed to adopting these guidelines and implementing them across our youth programming.

To drive meaningful change across youth basketball, USA Basketball and the NBA are seeking like-minded organizations that have influence in the basketball ecosystem and/or run youth basketball programming to similarly endorse and adopt the guidelines.

USA Basketball Youth

APPENDIX A • WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION PLAYING RULES AND STANDARDS HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Mark Adams
Renee Brown
Jamie Carey
Matt Doherty
John Jakus
Troy Justice
Chris Keller
Matt King
Leigh Klein
Don Showalter
Dawn Smyth
Greg Turner
Shane Battier
Jeremiah Boswell
Bruce Bowen
Kathy Brook
Jay Demings
L.J. Goolsby
Joe Lewandoski
Frank Lopez
Leo Papile
James Parker
Sue Phillips
Carol Ross
Dan Searl
Brad Taylor

John DiFiori, MD
Joel Brenner, MD
Jean Cote, PhD
Arne Güllich, MD
Brian Hainline, MD
Robert Malina, PhD
Ed Ryan, ATC


APPENDIX B  •  ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON PARTICIPATION TABLES

Definition of Organized Basketball
Organized basketball includes game competition as well as practice time and structured training in which an athlete works in a focused way (typically with or at the direction of a coach) to improve his or her game. Unstructured individual or peer-led time oncourt does not constitute organized basketball for the purpose of this table (e.g., pickup games, a player individually shooting baskets by himself/herself, a player working with a peer at their direction to practice a skill).

Youth Basketball Camps and Academies
Participation in a youth basketball camp or academy may result in a young athlete exceeding maximum weekly participation guidelines.

Camp program content and duration is variable, and youth basketball camps can be a positive experience for young athletes even in cases where they exceed the guidelines above. Camp directors should, however, keep the guidelines above in mind and seek to include activities other than organized oncourt basketball participation, particularly for longer-duration camps. We recommend additional rest for young athletes following camp attendance to allow for recovery prior to resuming organized basketball sessions or attendance at another camp.

Youth sports academies that provide more comprehensive training experiences for young athletes also exist, particularly outside the United States. As with camps, the curriculum, training protocols and health and wellness resources at academies are also variable. To an even greater degree
than camps, a significant portion of a basketball academy’s physical curriculum should involve activities other than organized basketball participation, which can include self-directed or peer- led basketball practice or play, or non-basketball sport and training activities. This is particularly true for academies that may include athletes that have not yet reached the ninth grade.

Camps and academies should recognize that there is a lack of evidence to support early single- sport specialization. The overall effects on the health and well-being of young athletes of longer- duration camps and youth academies require further study.

APPENDIX C  •  PLAYER SEGMENTATION FOR 2018-2019 YOUTH BASKETBALL SEASON 

DIVISIONS

2018-2019 SEASON ELIGIBILITY

RULE

7U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2012


8U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2011


9U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2010


10U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2009


11U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2008


12U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2007


13U

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2006


14U/8th Grade*

Born on or before Aug. 31, 2005 or
in 8th or lower grade as of Oct. 1 2018*

8th grader turning 16 prior to Sep. 1, 2019 must move up to higher division

9th Grade*

In 9th or lower grade as of Oct. 1 2018*

9th grader turning 17 prior to Sep. 1, 2019 must move up to higher division

10th Grade*

In 10th or lower grade as of Oct. 1 2018*

10th grader turning 18 prior to Sep. 1, 2019 must move up to higher division

11th Grade*

In 11th or lower grade as of Oct. 1 2018*

11th grader turning 19 prior to Sep. 1, 2019 must move up to higher division

12th Grade*

In 12th or lower grade as of Oct. 1 2018*

12th grader turning 20 prior to Sep. 1, 2019 must move up to higher division


* To be eligible to compete in a listed grade division, a player must be enrolled in that grade as of October 1 of the Playing Year AND can only be up to one Playing Year older than one’s grade indicates.

 

 

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