Jr. NBA Program of the Month Winner: February

City of Menifee Youth Basketball League

The City of Menifee’s Parks and Recreation department hosted its inaugural youth basketball league this winter. As a city that has many competitive leagues, the City of Menifee’s youth basketball league was started to provide youth of all abilities in the community the opportunity to learn and play the game of basketball together. The city’s league was therefore built off the Jr. NBA values of sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, and most importantly fun.

During practices, the league’s coaches teach drills that both provide beginners the opportunity to learn the basic skills and while allowing for more advanced players to improve their skills. Beyond focusing on the fundamentals for the youth participants, the City of Menifee’s youth basketball league places equal importance on developing the skills of their volunteer coaches and referees. The coaches are taken through a comprehensive Coaches Guide during numerous meetings, and ensure that the values they are teaching, such as having fun, showing sportsmanship, and being healthy, are modeled in their language and behavior. The referees are encouraged to explain rules during the games to help the players improve their understanding of the sport. Additionally, at the start of the season every coach and parent was required to sign a Code of Conduct to ensure that everyone involved had a positive experience.

Beyond the traditional league play, the City of Menifee provided additional opportunities for its participants as part of their season. The league partnered with the LA Clippers on their Jr. Clippers Sportsmanship Program, which encourages positive behavior and excellent sportsmanship from both coaches and players. Each coach nominates two players that have demonstrated the best sportsmanship throughout the course of the season, and the winners along with their coaches are given the chance to participate in a pre-game activity on the LA Clippers court. In addition, the City of Menifee’s league found a unique way to promote its mission of healthy eating and being active. They integrated a city-wide health initiative into the season by allowing kids and parents to participate in fun activities such as the “Fender Blender” (a stationary bike that operates a blender) as well by providing recipes for healthy smoothies that kids would enjoy.

The City of Menifee plans to use the Under Armour gift card to provide families in need a free pair of basketball shoes with their registration. They strive to keep their basketball programs at a low cost to allow all families the chance to participate, and even offer scholarship opportunities thanks to grant funding. They hope that by providing some of the participants in need with Under Armour Basketball shoes, it will make a huge difference in not only their basketball season, but also their life.

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