by Stephen Dafoe
Registration for the Morinville Youth Basketball Association’s (MYBA) 2020-2021 basketball season has opened, and this season the organization says it has capacity for close to 200 young athletes.
“This is higher than we have had in past seasons and is in part due to our combining of divisions,” said MYBA U15 Coach Samantha Ringuette. “We knew that there was likely to not be school sports or some other community sports available to the youth, so offering more spots in our programming would allow them the opportunity to stay active.”
Ringuette said there are 100 athletes currently signed up, 50 of those are new to the association.
MYBA has a lot of openings in the U11 programs (Children born in 2010 or 2011), U15 boys (2006-2007), and U18 girls (2003-2005).
“Our U11 programming has two options which allow parents to choose between a one-hour, U11 specific program, or a 1.5-hour U11/U13 combined program,” Ringuette explained. “Our U18 programs run from September to November, and if the school does not offer sports teams/practices from December to March, then the U18 athletes can opt to participate the entire season for a small extra fee.”
Ringuette said COVID-19 had been a challenge for everyone and that youth have lost out on a lot of things because of it, including missing three-and-a-half months of school, spring and summer sports, and spending time with friends. With a prospect of school sports being on hold, Ringuette and the association are hoping to see an active but safe season for local athletes.
“Morinville Youth Basketball offers youth the opportunity to stay active while still adhering to the Alberta Basketball and Alberta Health Services guidelines,” she said. “This means they will be placed into cohorts with no more than 50 athletes which they will play against, practices will be limited numbers, and a variety of the COVID-19 protocols and prevention measures will be put into place.”
MYBA will be a sanctioned Alberta Basketball Return to Play program when athletes hit the courts.
As in previous years, MYBA is operating with a goal of providing athletes with a fun experience that helps them physically though skills and gameplay and physiologically through teaching leadership skills, self-discipline, respect, cooperation, competitiveness, sportsmanship, and self-confidence.
“There’s a mental toll that the pandemic has had on everyone, youth and adults alike, and we hope that our programming will not only help the athletes grow their love of the game but help relieve some of the stresses and anxieties they may have due to COVID-19,” Ringuette said.
Typically MYBA participates in the Edmonton Youth Basketball Association (EYBA). That won’t happen this year; MYBA will keep gameplay local.
“We are able to provide a similar plan to what they are planning to hold, so we feel confident that our athletes will not miss out on basketball,” Ringuette said. “What this means is that we will not have a league where athletes play against other communities; instead, athletes can expect to practice one time a week within a cohort, and every weekend one cohort will be given an opportunity for Saturday gameplay.”
That gameplay could be three-on-three, four-on-four, or five-on-five, and will occur every few weeks for the different cohorts of athletes.
However, Ringuette said the U7/U9 program would not change much this year. The only significant difference being two jamboree game weekends instead of one.
“Once our numbers are confirmed, game weekends will be set,” Ringuette said.
For full details on the program and costs, visit MYBA online.