We have created this section for the sole purpose of facilitating individuals that seek to create their own team with friends, maintaining a roster of baseball/lacrosse/volleyball teams that want to protect the same calendar schedule and play some basketball, or other like minded parents. As the landscape of youth sports has changed significantly we understand that the primary goal remains that kids want to play with their friends and parents seek a healthy situation with regard to their kids' extracurricular activities. Below is a step by step process of action items to consider and then follow to cut through the administrative, logistics and as much of the politics associated with that process.
Prior to forming your own independent team you will need to consider a few items that invariably other parents will ask you when you recruit/ask/approach others about joining you. These items are situational and can vary with regard to your mission of time and money associated with your team. There is no perfect scenario as it is virtually impossible to take 10 separate opinions or agendas and get everyone on the same page. So our first piece of advice is to keep it as simple as possible and clearly communicate your standards and expectations.
1. Team members: decide how many players you want on your team. 10 is necessary to execute a 5 on 5 in practice, but also the more players you have the more you need to divide up 40 minutes of playing time. Will you have a team of equal playing time where everyone plays no mater what or will you have a standard of meritocracy?
2. Costs: the league fee is $795 and this guarantees a 10 game regular season schedule and the top 6 teams of the "A" Division an end of season tournament. Insurance...all teams (which are independent contractors) and coaches must indemnify themselves. Uniforms...you can go with literally a reversible jersey for about $15 per player, but act sooner rather than later. Obviously you could blow this up with all the bags, double uniforms, names on the back, team sneakers, warm-ups, hoodies, etc to well over $300 per player, but this does nothing to help your kids actually get better. Over the 10 years of the league and 16 years of consulting with feeder programs this cost can be as low as $250 or as high as $850 (plus weekly admissions fees).
3. Practice: being that this is strictly an already formed team league, as opposed to an individual sign up registration, teams are responsible for acquiring their own practice schedule and logistics. Most teams will practice 1-2 times per week. Many may have this item covered with a feeder team arrangement in advance. Your relationships with churches, private schools or even rec centers for rent prior to 6pm (before rec team practices begin) may be options. Rents are usually between $35-$75 per hour. Another option might be just using outdoor courts at rec centers, schools or subdivisions for free. As kids we played outside our entire lives and your kids can do it also. Sample... $50 per hour x 3 hours per week x 12 weeks = $1,800 or $180 per player.
4. Recruitment of Players: Typically many already have a nucleus of potential players from previous teams, baseball/lacrosse/volleyball teams that want to stay together for basketball, church relationships, conversations on the sideline of other sports or car rider line, similar subdivision/school friends or kids zoned for the same HS feeder program. There are endless possibilities of how many teams are actually formed. However, at some point someone will need to execute the items listed above and send and email with a proposed schedule and a budget. Please note that NO ONE is ever committed until they give you money! This is a hard and ugly, but undeniable truth where we could cite literally hundreds of examples, unfortunately, so protect yourself and have clearly communicated deadlines/boundaries.
When forming your team you may want to "reverse engineer" the process. Think honestly about how you want to divide playing time as well as the actual availability of all your players and their already overbooked schedules. It is easy to find playing time for 7-8 players, but makes situational practice challenging as well as negative leverage for injuries and schedule conflicts. 12 players helps keep costs manageable and insulates, while preventing, not having enough players. However, there is no perfect formula on the price per player/playing time paradox....this is a YOU/YOUR PLAYERS' PARENTS PHILOSOPHICAL discussion. All we can say is the better you manage expectations of all in advance, the more enjoyable your season will be.