Upward Sports programs are designed to teach kids two things...the love of Christ and the basics of the game.

Each week, coaches spend about 10 minutes of the practice hour to lead their team in devotions. Kids are challenged to memorize 4 Bible verses this season and to relate the virtues discussed to their own lives.

Parents are encouraged to participate in the weekly devotions and will hear a related message during half-time of each week's game. Consider making a meal-time discussion of it one night!

We make no secret about it--Sharing God's love is the most important part of this program. But we are hear to teach basketball as well. Our focus is on fundamentals first--dribbling, passing, and shooting. Later, we'll work on setting picks, and running plays.

We want Upward Basketball to be an awesome experience for each particpant. To that goal, there are some rules that are different from "normal" basketball.

  • Man-to-Man Defense: Coaches have assessed each players ability and have ranked them from high to low. The highest-skilled players on the court for each team given the same color wrist band. Then the second highest, and so on. Everyone plays "man-to-man" defense against the person with the same color wrist band.
  • No Back-court Pressure: The defensive team is not allowed to pressure until the ball crosses half-court. For full-court games, the offensive team has 10 seconds to cross half-court and cannot go back over the line. These violations are not typically a concern in half-court games and are not called.
  • No Stealing: Defensive players are not allowed to steal the offensive player's dribble or a hand-off from one player to another. This year, we are allowing defensive players to intercept a pass intended for the person they are guarding against.
  • Traveling, 3-Seconds, Over and Back: These rules are the same, but we are forgiving... These violations will be called as the kids gain experience. We have higher expectations of our 4th through 8th grade teams, so they'll probably draw a whistle the first week. New players in K through 3 are still learning the game, though, so we give them some grace in early weeks.

We have some rules for the fans as well...

  • Cheer for both teams. Sure, we know you're going to cheer a little louder for your child, but all our kids are awesome. Let them know!
  • The Circle of Affirmation: Kids emmulate the behaviors they see in adults. Upward is and Up-lifting league, and we expect you to help us with that message. Players, Coaches, and Referrees are to be treated positively and with respect at all times. First and foremost--coaches and referrees are the authorities on the court just like mom and dad are the authorities at home...and they deserve the same respect. Secondly, our coaches and referrees are all volunteers--they have made a huge commitment to Christ and your kids. Be forgiving--mistakes will be made.
  • Food and Drinks: We do offer concessions during some games, but we ask that all food and drink items stay in the narthex. Water is the only thing allowed in the Worship and Life Center. (And yes, that includes coffee during the 8:30 Saturday games!)