1. Who may participate in Thunder Basketball?
Any child in grades 2nd - 8th.
2. When does basketball registration occur?
Online registration for Thunder basketball opens August each year. Previous year players will receive an email reminder about when online registration begins.
3. Why does basketball registration occur so early for this Winter sport?
The Thunder is a member of the AYL which has nearly 300 teams participating in youth basketball. Each club must define and commit by the end of October each year as to the number of teams by grade and division that will participate in the league. This is required to allow time for the all-volunteer AYL basketball board to complete detailed plans for the season including game schedule, number of officials required, game gyms, etc. This also provides ample time for Thunder to acquire and train quality coaches to fill any coaching vacancies.
4. When does the typical basketball season run?
Practice typically begins the last week of October with a 2 – 3 week pre-season practice schedule. This allows time for the players to get into "basketball" shape. The regular season starts with the first games being played on the 2nd weekend of November with 8-10 regular season games and a end of season championship. Our season ending Championships are completed by the end of February. The season calendar varies year to year by as much as one week.
5. How do I go about registering my child for Thunder basketball?
Registration is done online. Click on the red REGISTER NOW BUTTON
6. What is the cost to play Thunder basketball?
The cost for Thunder basketball can change from year-to-year primarily based on our gym provider’s adjustments in gym usage fees. The cost to play basketball in 2022-2023 season is $375. Earlybird (Aug 1st-Aug15) is $350. On October 15th Thunder assesses a late fee of an additional $25 per child. Registration closes by age group when the teams at that age group are full. Generally, registration is open until mid-October but we encourage everyone to register as early as possible. Mid-September, please check the Thunder website for information regarding potential openings at specific age groups.
7. What does the registration fee cover?
The fee covers may items including but not limited to:
♦ Registration costs which are league fees, insurance costs, coach background checks, mailing list costs, etc.
♦ Practice costs such as practice gym usage & permits, coaching and game equipment.
♦ Game costs such as game gym usage & permits, including weekly gym set up/tear down, official’s costs, website scheduling and score reporting costs, and officials evaluation costs.
♦ Thunder Basketball operating expenses such as bank fees, ongoing coaching evaluations and education, administration costs, copying, postage, etc.
8. What equipment will I have to purchase for my child to play Thunder basketball?
Each individual player is responsible for purchasing his/her own game uniform (approx. $120-$140) and basketball shoes. If purchasing a new shoe please consider purchasing a basketball specific shoe, which has a better base specific for basketball action. Should you be purchasing new equipment, we encourage you to shop one of Thunder preferred retail partners for your purchases. Thunder preferred retail partner will ensure a proper fit for your child and assist over the years as your child grows to make sure everything still correctly fits.
The required Thunder game uniform consists of a reversible navy and gray sleeveless basketball jersey with the Thunder screened logo on the front. Shorts are to be matching navy and gray reversible short with the Thunder screened logo on the front. Thunder game jersey and short designs are owned by Thunder and can only be purchased at our preferred retail partner.
9. Where do we purchase basketball game uniforms?
Thunder will provide a link when it is time to purchase uniforms we use. Thunder is not the uniform provider but does choose who the retail apparel vendor will be. (An entity of it's own)
10. Where do we purchase basketball equipment?
Any sport store of your preference. Please ask your coaches for coupons that become available. Littleton Youth Sports main page has annual coupons from Dicks Sporting Goods for anytime use as well, under the Coupons Tab.
11. How is a new player assigned to a team? Are there tryouts?
A basketball player is assigned to a team based upon grade, school and experience. Grade is determined by the grade that your son/daughter are in the Fall. We attempt to place a new player on a team with similar experience level. Then if there are multiple choices we will try to match the new player with a team that has other players from the same school or within the middle school feeder system. Priority for placement is based on what date you registered online.
New Thunder basketball players may request to play with a friend or a preferred coach. This can be noted on the registration form. If a team preference is indicated on the registration form, Thunder will endeavor to grant that preference. However, there are other factors such as team level of competitive play, specific team roster openings, etc, that affect that placement. Generally, there will be a conversation between the parents and a Thunder basketball representative to ensure correct team placement if a specific team preference is indicated.
At this time, the Thunder does not hold tryouts. The Thunder reserves the right to change this policy in the future.
12. How are returning Thunder basketball players placed on teams?
Returning players who are registered and paid in full by August 31st of the current year will automatically be granted higher priority over new players to Thunder and will generally be assigned to the same team they played on the previous season. The player’s jersey number used by that returning player is also maintained for that player if the registration is completed by August 31st of the current year. Should a returning player fail to register by the August 31st cutoff, they will be placed on a team in the same manner and in the same priority as any new player. Should a returning player wish to change teams for any reason please contact one of the Thunder basketball representative as soon as possible so we can advise and assist you in making the requested change. Please understand that a returning player that wishes to change teams must still register by August 31st of the current year. If registered prior to August 31st, the returning player requesting to change teams will be given priority over any new players requesting that same team. Priority for placement for the returning player requesting to change teams is based on the date you registered online.
13. How many players are on a team?
Team size can vary depending upon the number of kids registering to play but the max roster size is 10 kids. Thunder has target roster sizes, varying by competitive division of play to ensure minimal financial requirements are met. A typical roster will have 10 kids per team/division.
14. How are jersey numbers decided?
Thunder will take requests for jersey numbers thru the registration process. Returning players from the previous season will get higher priority to keep his/her number. Duplicate jersey numbers are not allowed on a roster.
By AYL rule all numbers 0-99 are acceptable
15. Where, when and how often is practice?
The Thunder pays for permits for practice gyms primarily from Littleton Public Schools and other private schools and organizations. Typically, all our practice gyms are in the Littleton, Centennial, Englewood or Sheridan area.
Most teams will practice 1-2 times (depending on availability) per week in the preseason and could have 1 practice on the weekend. Once the regular season starts, teams will typically practice 1-2 times a week with the practice times being 4:30-9PM during the week and 9AM-10PM Saturday’s. The start and end time for practices is determined by the Thunder and generally takes in to account the coaches work schedule as well as the school schedule our players are under. For the most part, the younger the age of the team the earlier and the shorter the practices will run. Generally, practices are 60min long.
16. How many games are played? Where and when are, they scheduled?
The AYL regular season generally consists of eight to ten (8-10) games. All teams qualify for post season playoffs/championships. The number of games played during the playoffs can vary based upon the number of teams in a grade division. This can change per AYL board decisions.
The AYL is comprised of Member Clubs establishing teams in the South Metro area communities of Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, SE Denver, South Aurora, Parker and Castle Rock. Games can be played in any of these locations at specific gyms.
Regular season games are scheduled for Friday (5-10PM), Saturday (9AM-9PM) Sunday (11AM-6PM). The first regular season game is scheduled for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday Mid November. The regular season runs through the end of January/early February. Post season playoffs begin immediately following the conclusion of the regular season and continue with the AYL Championships that always is completed no later than the end of February. Please understand that games may be postponed by weather, gym issues or other problems resulting in game cancellations. Games are typically rescheduled ASAP and can be played on any day of the week.
17. What if we have a family vacation scheduled during the season?
Basketball requires significant preparation and practice as well as a strong commitment to the team. Family vacations during the season are highly discouraged. Depending upon team rules, playing time may be impacted because of the time your player misses due to a vacation. You are encouraged to schedule your vacations prior to or after the season to avoid playing time impacts. If you must schedule a family vacation during the season, please inform your head coach as soon as possible to understand how your team is impacted.
18. What if my child decides after signing up that he does not like basketball and wants to quit? What is the refund policy?
Full refunds will be issued if Littleton Youth Sports is unable to place the registrant on a team. Refunds, less a $50.00 processing fee, will be granted if the player 1) sustains a season ending injury prior to the start of the practice, or 2) player moves from the territory prior to the start of the practice. No refunds will be granted after the first practice wether the player participates in the first practice or not.
19. Who can be a coach?
Anyone can apply to be a head coach or an assistant coach. All coaching candidates will go through a recertification process. The process involves completing registration, undergoing a background check and completing an interview with the Thunder basketball director. All Thunder coaches are required to attend any mandated yearly AYL coach trainings and are encouraged to attend any local coaching clinics if they can as well. All Thunder basketball head coaches are evaluated annually both by their parents/players on their team as well as the Thunder basketball representative. Retention as a Thunder basketball head coach is offered on a year to year basis based on these evaluations. If interested in coaching Thunder basketball, please contact the Thunder basketball representative directly.
20. How can I help?
There are many volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering your time to the Thunder organization, please contact the Thunder basketball representative directly.
21. Can I bring a team or a partial team to Thunder?
Yes, depending on the timing of the discussion/request we are usually able to accept full or partial teams. If you are interested in doing this, please contact the Thunder basketball director directly ASAP to work thru the many issues that may/may not surround this.
23. If I have additional questions who do I contact?
Carlos Astorga, Basketball Director