Registration & Costs
Do I need to register my child to tryout?
Yes. You must pre-register your child prior to tryouts. Walk-ins are not permitted. 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 for the season 2021-22 season was $450 per child. There is a family discount for each additional child that participates on an NTB team (i.e., fee is $375 for second child). 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 email@example.com to find out more information. NTB’s belief and goal is to enable all children to play regardless of their financial situation.
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.
How many tryouts are there per grade? Will there be callbacks?
There will be a minimum of two tryouts per grade. If there are a substantial number of players in a grade, there may be call backs. If there are call backs, the Tryout Coordinator will notify the group at tryouts and a list of those moving forward will be posted online prior to the next scheduled tryout session.
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.
When will the players know their placement?
Team rosters will be announced within two weeks of the final tryout session for that grade/gender. NTB will notify families via email when team rosters are available.
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.
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.
How are tryouts structured?
Each tryout session will last between 1 to 2 hours 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.
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.
Team Selection Process
How many players will be selected for each NTB team?
NTB travel teams will not have more than 11 players per team. The 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?
Our goal is to have a minimum of an A and B team for each grade and gender. Please note that the teams for Grade 4 may 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’ 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 a Travel Basketball team, we encourage him/her to participate in the Intramural Basketball program now run by NTB. You can find more information on our Intramural Basketball program here.
NTB now offers Intramural Basketball programs for 3rd-8th grade boys and girls during the winter months. This 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.
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 Intramural Basketball?
Some Travel Basketball players also participate in the Intramural Basketball program as Travel Basketball games do not conflict with those of Intramurals. The Intramural program is open to all Travel Basketball players in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. We do not allow travel players in 7th and 8th to also play in the 7/8 Intramural League.
Practices, 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 ensure 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 mornings or 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.
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.