Basketball is a team sport, and that’s why Prince Rupert Minor Basketball Association (PRMBA) has kept its league non-competitive.
It’s set up this way, because the league wants kids to focus on their team, explains president Yvonne Campbell, who is an established basketball player herself.
“We’re trying really hard to make these teams focus more on team fundamentals as opposed to ‘pass it to so-and-so and let him shoot’ and a lot of kids don’t get to touch the ball,” said Campbell.
Kids have dropped out previously because they didn’t get to touch the ball very often and that’s something the league has addressed. Last season, it was decided to change the Grade 3-4 division from 5-on-5 to 3-on-3 to help the kids get more touches.
“It’s just a game, it’s a team and it’s for fun and you’re playing with your peers and that should be the basis of it. We just want all of the kids to have a good time,” said first-year president Campbell.
The league does keep score of the games, but it doesn’t keep track of wins and losses or individual stats. Even in the tournaments, it’s all round robin and teams aren’t knocked out.
Minor basketball looks primed for another successful year. There are approximately 250 kids on 18 different teams, spread out among four divisions.
In September, Canadian Women’s Olympic basketball coach Shawnee Harle led a coaching clinic that Campbell said was the boost they needed.
“It allowed us to have more tools in order to say shooting isn’t the main focus,” she said. “We can say ‘I want you to pass it three or four times first and then you can shoot.’ We want to encourage other motions and fundamental skills in the game.”
The league has added some new things this season. For the first time, it expanded to include Grade 11 and 12 players, where traditionally it only went up to Grade 10.
Another new rule is the Grade 7-8 division is now allowed to shoot three-pointers, instead of just the 9-12 division. The change was made because it’s good for the kids to be able to showcase their skills, said Campbell.
The PRMBA will have its mid-season tournament on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Russell Gamble gym. The year-end tournament will run on Dec. 10 and 11.