Upward Winter League FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to our Winter Upward Basketball League:

Who can participate?  Our Winter Upward Basketball League is open to girls and boys in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. 

How do I register my child?  Online registration is available September through early November.  Once registration closes or division capacities are reached, a waiting list will be formed.

I’ve heard this League is different.  What does that mean, and how so?  Our Upward Sports League is a unique offering for youth sports in the area.  These unique aspects include an evaluation system (virtually a skill assessment, not a player try-out) that promotes equal and competitive teams as well as a substitution system which allows for equal playing time for all participants. Through Upward, children are exposed to quality coaching and sport development in an affirming environment.  The Upward Sports model emphasizes building character and integrity on and off the court, instead of a “win at all costs” mentality associated with today’s sports world.

In other youth sports leagues, actual playing time can be incredibly unbalanced among the participants.  How is Upward Basketball different in that regard?  Our coaches are trained to implement a unique substitution system specifically designed to address this concern.  This substitution system provides every child the opportunity to be in the starting lineup, requires no child to sit out back-to-back segments, and allows every child to play at least half of the game.

How are the Levels of Progression within the league defined?  The Levels of Progression were introduced to enhance the overall development of each player. Four levels are defined by the specific age division a player is assigned, and the game format and division specific rules of play per level help foster healthy, age-appropriate player development. As players age and build a foundation for specific skills, their opportunities to gain more experience and employ what they are learning grow as well.

What is included in the registration cost for Basketball?  Basketball items include the jersey and shorts, a t-shirt, car magnet, iron-on award stars, scripture cards, and a special end-of-season gift received at the season celebration event.

What does a full season of Upward Basketball involve?  A season of Upward Basketball consists of player evaluations (every participant must attend an evaluation), nine weeks of practices, eight league games, and an end-of season celebration for families, coaches, and players.  Our League also hosts Coach & Referee Development meetings and events for volunteers.


Do players need experience to participate in the League?  Whether your child is interested in participating in basketball for the first time or is returning for another Upward sports experience, all skill levels are welcome in our League.

When does the season begin?  The mandatory player evaluations take place in November; practices and games begin in January.  For a full list of key dates, click here.

Are Evaluations mandatory to attend?  Yes, player evaluations are essential to the formation of the League.  Essentially, the evaluation is a player assessment, not a try-out.  All players must be evaluated prior to being placed on a team. 

Where are the games and practices held?  Three partner churches, Crestwood, Mt. Pisgah, and St. Mark’s host practices and games.  Typically, once teams receive an assigned practice location and time slot, it will remain consistent throughout the season, unless a conflict arises.  Saturday game times and location may vary throughout the season; however, all games and practices will be held at one of the three partner churches, which are all located in a 5 mile (or less) radius of one another.

How long are games and practices each week?  Both games and practices are one hour each per week.

What nights are practices held?  During the season, each team will practice one hour on a weeknight at a time that is consistent throughout the season.  Teams will practice on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday evenings. No Wednesday night practices occur. 

May players request a specific practice night and time?  No, due to the size of the league, a player cannot select only one night to practice.  Yet, players can (but are not required to) select one night they cannot practice.

Are siblings placed on the same team?  In order to be eligible to be placed on the same team, registered siblings must be in the same gender & age division of the League. 

May players request to be placed on the same team together?  No, individual or team requests cannot be honored.  This is another purposeful area where Upward Sports differ from many other sports programs.  The player assessments aid in the formation of division teams, and teams are intentionally formed for parity and balance.  While we recognize perfectly equivalent teams are difficult to achieve, as balanced as possible teams afford all players with the opportunity to grow and thrive in a healthy, competitive sports environment.

Can two coaches request to coach one team together?  Yes, requests for coach pairings can be made; however, please understand these pairings cannot be guaranteed.  A Coach Application will be required per coach, designating the Head Coach and Assistant Coach on each application.  All volunteers can sign-up through our online application page.  To learn more about volunteering within our Upward Sports program, click here

As a parent, how can I make my child’s Upward Sports experience a positive one?  As parents, you play an invaluable role in building a positive sports experience for your child.  Be supportive of coaches, referees, and all participants both on and off the court.  You can also make sure your child is on time for all games and practices, so they don’t miss a minute of the action!  Opportunities are endless to be involved, and one includes contacting your child’s coach to offer to bring snacks or coordinate a team gathering.  Lastly, have fun, and your child will, too!

What are ways I can volunteer in the League?  We need dedicated coaches, assistant coaches, and referees.  We also need committed prayer partners and team parents.  To learn more about volunteering within our Upward Sports program, click here.