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Travel Program Questions

Winter Season 2010-11

1. What is the difference between House and Travel basketball?

House basketball is open to everyone regardless of skill level. Each team is composed of players with a wide range of skill levels. All players are guaranteed a minimum amount of playing time in each game. Everyone who signs up for the House program before the registration end date is guaranteed placement on a team. Games and practices are held in Chantilly-area gyms.
Travel basketball is more competitive and demanding (both for players and parents). Teams are chosen through a tryout process in early October by the travel coaches with guidance from the CYA Basketball board. In general, CYA fields 3 teams at each age level, depending upon how many qualified applicants try out. Some teams play in the most competitive Division 1 against other Division 1 teams, while other teams play in the slightly less competitive Division 2 against other Division 2 teams. 
How many Division 1 and Division 2 teams CYA has at each age level depends upon a pre-season tournament for the 10 and under teams and the previous year’s record for the older teams. Players are selected for the travel teams at each age level after the tryouts through a draft system monitored by the CYA basketball board.
Anyone who tries out for the Travel teams and is not selected is automatically placed in the house program. Travel teams require more practice time (generally twice a week for 90 minutes), often play both weeknight and weekend games, and hold their games at gyms across Fairfax County as well as in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, and Loudon counties. Note however that basketball travel teams, unlike soccer travel teams, do not play outside Northern Virginia.
2. Should my child try out for the CYA Travel basketball?
This is an individual family decision. Travel basketball requires a higher level of skill--of the approximately 3000 kids enrolled in CYA Winter basketball, only about 240 play in the Travel league. Travel basketball is generally restricted to boys aged 9-13 and girls aged 9-14, and the county league (FCYBL) places a quota on how many 9-year olds and younger can be placed on the Travel teams. Travel basketball also requires a bigger time commitment from kids and parents since teams practice twice a week for 60-90 minutes each time and play multiple games each week; moreover, games can be held at locations up to 45 minutes driving time (more depending on traffic) from the Chantilly area. Unlike house basketball, FCYBL has no minimum playing time requirement and the allocation of playing time is up to the coach with overall guidance from the CYA basketball board (CYA’s policy is a minimum of 3 minutes per half for any team members who attended the two practices prior to the game).
On the positive side, those kids participating in the Travel program get more individualized instruction, play on teams where the skill levels are more consistent, and play against stronger competition than in the House program. This allows them to develop their skills at a faster pace and be better prepared to play for their high school teams when they reach high school age.
3. How do I sign up for CYA Travel Basketball?
You can register for CYA Basketball online or by mail beginning in mid September. The easiest and preferred method is online registration. To register by mail, please contact the registrar, Cindy Aune, at for instructions.
To register online, go to and click on the "Click here to register for CYA sports" link on the main CYA webpage. On the Basketball page, you can also click on the "Winter Basketball Registration" link on the left side of the page. On the second page of the online registration, you will see three choices. Select "Click here to register" if you have not registered any of your children for CYA sports in the past 5 years; this will allow you to enter your household in the CYA database and register your child. Otherwise, select "If you have ever used this registration system before please log in," which will allow you to log into the CYA database using either your registered email address and PIN, or using your personal information (home phone number, player name and birthdate, and mother’s maiden name).
Once you get into the registration system, make sure you select “Basketball Boys Travel (Gr4-8),” “Basketball Boys Travel (Gr9-12),” or “Basketball Girls Travel (Gr4-9)” as the program for which you want to sign up. For grades 8 and below, if you register after October 1st, you will have to sign up for the appropriate House program as the Travel registration will be closed; if your child makes a travel team, his registration will be transferred to Travel basketball by the registrar.
IMPORTANT: You must register by the date of the second tryout for your child’s age group in order to participate in the tryouts.
4. What is the cost to register? Are there other costs as well?
The base registration fee is $140.00 (this includes the $104.5 Basketball fee, the $5.50 Fairfax County use fee, the $20 CYA administrative fee, and the $10 CYA capital improvement fee). A late fee of $25 is assessed for all Travel registrations for grades 8 and below subsequent to October 17th.
For those who are selected to one of CYA’s travel teams, there is an additional charge of $50 that will be made once the team is selected (this covers the Fall gym use charges). In addition, Travel players pay roughly $25 per Travel jersey (2 required) and $25 for the Travel shorts. In most cases players who have played Travel previously can reuse their old jersey if it still fits. NOTE: For the 2010-11 season all Travel players will need to buy new uniforms as the previous uniforms are no longer made by the manufacturer.
Finally, the CYA registration fee and supplemental fee only cover authorized FCYBL regular season and tournament play. The cost of participation in tournaments outside the FCYBL regular season (such as the Thanksgiving tournament) are covered by the families and the fees collected by the coaches.
Full or partial scholarships are available for those who need them. Just send your request to the registrar at
5. I want to register online but do not want to pay by credit card. What should I do?
 You can register online and select to pay by check. Contact the registrar, Cindy Aune, at to find out where to send your check in order to complete your registration.
6. How old does my child have to be to play CYA Travel Basketball?
 The Travel teams, unlike the CYA house teams, are organized by age not by grade. CYA fields teams in the following age groups: Boys 10 and under, Boys 11 and under, Boys 12 and under, Boys 13 and under, Boys 15 and under, Boys 18 and under, Girls 10 and under, Girls 11 and under, Girls 12 and under, and Girls 14 and under. The age is determined as of October 1st of the current year. Each team is allowed a maximum of two age exceptions, that is players who do not meet the birthday requirement but are in the same grade as the other players in the league (for example, a boy who turned 12 prior to October 1st but is in the 6th grade could play in the Boys 11 and under league as one of the two "age exceptions" on his team).
Note that for the 10 and under teams no more than 50% of the team can be in fourth grade or below. A separate tryout is held for 4th graders and below in order to qualify to participate in the 10 and under tryouts.
7. Are there any residency requirements to play CYA Travel Basketball?
 There is a FCYBL residency requirement for players selected to our Travel teams. In general, players selected for the CYA Travel teams must be from one of the following zip codes: 20120, 20151, 20171, 22033, and 22124. FCYBL rules allow coaches to select a maximum of two players per team from outside these designated zip codes. However, all players selected to the CYA Travel teams must be Fairfax County residents without exception (for example, South Riding residents cannot play for the CYA travel teams but can play for CYA house teams).
8. When does registration start and end?
 For the Winter program, registration starts in mid-September. Players wishing to try out for Travel teams must register by the date of the second scheduled tryout in their respective age division, which will be sometime in early to mid October. Players registering after October 15th will be charged a $25 late fee.
 Players selected to the Travel teams must pay the $50 supplemental fee by November 1st. Parents will be instructed how to pay this fee online.
9. When and where are the tryouts held?
The tryout schedule is posted on the CYA website in mid-September. Note that you should check the schedule frequently since it is subject to change due to gym
closures and the like. The tryout dates vary by age and gender—please go to the Boys Travel or Girls Travel tab on the Basketball page of the CYA website for specific times, dates and locations.
10. My son or daughter plays another sport in the Fall? What do I do about conflicts with the Travel tryouts or practices?
 CYA basketball understands that many of its basketball players may be playing soccer, football, baseball, or other fall sports as well as participating in the CYA Travel basketball program. With regard to the tryouts, CYA Basketball asks you to ask the other sports to allow your child to be released to attend at least two of the basketball tryouts. Once a player has been selected to a Travel team, CYA basketball understands that their first commitment is to their Fall sport team. You should inform your CYA Basketball coach of any conflicts that may exist and try to make as many basketball tryouts or pre-season games as possible. During the Winter program, Basketball should be considered the primary sport.
11. When does the Travel season start and end?
 For the Travel program, practices will begin in mid to late October once the teams have been selected. Most Travel programs participate in the pre-season Thanksgiving tournament. The regular season begins in December and ends in early March.
12. How are the Travel coaches selected?
 Each year CYA reselects all its Travel coaches--no coach is guaranteed a position from one year to the next, regardless of their record. Applicants are solicited in the Spring, and interviews are held in June. All candidates submit a written application and are interviewed by a committee to determine their coaching skills, coaching philosophy, views on playing time, commitment to sportsmanship and player development, and the like. At the Basketball Board’s July meeting, the committee makes a recommendation as to which coaches it believes are best qualified, and the Basketball Board then makes its selections. Once the selection has been made, the coaches are listed on the Boys Travel and Girls Travel tabs on the Basketball page of the CYA website.
NOTE: As with the house coaches, the names of all travel coaches are submitted to an independent organization for a background check.
13. How are the assistant coaches selected?
 In order to make sure all those who sign up have an equal chance to make a Travel team, CYA does not allow the Travel coaches to select their assistants prior to the tryouts and drafts. Once the draft is held, parents of players on the team are free to volunteer their services to the head coach. NOTE: Coaches may select assistants prior to the tryouts if these individuals have no children participating at that age level.
14. How are the Travel teams selected?
The individuals who sign up for Travel basketball participate in a series of tryouts held in early October. Most age levels hold 3 tryout sessions (10 and under holds an initial screening tryout for 4th graders only); players must attend at least 2 of these 3 tryout sessions in order to be considered for selection to a team. The tryouts consist of a series of skills drills and scrimmages over the three days.  NOTE: Any parent whose child for whatever reason cannot attend at least 2 sessions should contact the CYA travel coordinator, Kate Sciorra, at prior to the start of the tryouts.
The tryouts are run by an outside volunteer or CYA board member so that the coaches can focus on evaluating the kids. Over the course of the three tryout sessions the coaches evaluate each player and prior to the draft select a pool of players from which the teams will be selected according to a draft method prescribed by the Basketball board. The Basketball Board has a representative overseeing both the tryouts and the draft to ensure fairness in the selection process.
Please check the Basketball page of the CYA website ( in mid-September for up to date information on where and when the tryouts for each age/gender group are being held.
15. How does the player draft work for Travel teams?
Between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, a subcommitte of the Basketball Board did extensive research on the optimal methods for the player draft at the 11 and under and above levels. The Board polled the families of travel players, sought the advice of past and current travel coaches, and even consulted with other youth organizations to see how they handled it. The subcommittee then made its recommendation to the Basketball Board, and all Board members voted on the alternatives presented. The Board then voted and elected to retain the so-called Core method, which has been used for the past 10 years to select teams when CYA is fielding 2 teams at a given age level at either the Division I or Division II level.
 Thus, at the end of tryouts and prior to the draft, the Travel coaches decide on a pool of 30-45 players (depending on the number of teams) who are best skilled to play on the Travel teams. For 11 and under and above, the Division 1 teams first select their players, then the Division II teams select their players. If CYA is fielding 2 teams at either the Division I or Division II level, then those teams use what is called the Core Method to select their teams. For example, if there are 2 Division I teams at a particular age level (for example, Boys 12 and under), then the designated A team coach first picks 5 players plus their child (if they have one), then the designated B team coach picks 5 players plus their child (if they have one), and finally the remaining players are chosen by alternating picks. The Division II coach would then select hsi/her 10 players. If there is only 1 Division I team and two Division II teams, then the Division I coach would select his/her ten players, the the two Division II coaches would use the Core Method to select their teams. Note that each team selects only 10 players in the initial draft; if any team wants to add an 11th or 12th player, this is done after the initial draft.
There is a different draft system used at the 10 and under level (see the next question). In addition, at any age level, the coaches can elect to use a different draft method if they all agree and the Board approves.
Note that the draft system does not mean that all the highest ranked kids are selected to teams. In addition to basketball skills, coaches must consider their position needs (point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center) and such intangibles as hustle, teamwork, and the ability to take direction.
16. Why is a different method used at the 10 and under level?
Unlike the 11 and under and above levels, at the 10 and under level CYA does not know how many Division I and Division II teams we will end up having as that is determined by FCYBL by means of pool play at the start of the season. Thus, at the 10 and under level, At the 10 and under level, the first coach picks 10 players, then the second coach picks 10 players, and finally the third coach picks 10 players (an 11th player can be added to any team after the first 30 are picked).
17. My child wants to play for a particular coach. Can this be done?
 Sometimes a parent wants his/her child to play for a particular coach who either is known to the family on a personal basis or has coached that child in the past. Some coaches because of their coaching method or success are very popular, even with parents who do not know them personal basis or whose child has not played for them before. While we allow parents to make such coaching requests in the house program (even though we cannot always honor them), we do not allow parents to express a coaching preference in the Travel league. The travel teams in a particular league play in different divisions according to the overall skill level of the team. CYA has no choice in determining which teams play in Division 1 (the most competitive division) and which in Division 2. Coaches are appointed by the basketball board to the #1, #2, or #3 position based on their coaching skills and other factors. Allowing parents to choose which coach their child will or will not play for in the Travel program would distort the evaluation and draft process and undermine the program as a whole.
18. How many Travel teams does CYA have at each age/gender level?
 Several years ago the CYA basketball board decided that the first priority of the CYA Travel basketball program would be to maximize the number of players participating at the Travel level so as to best prepare these kids to play high school basketball. Thus, CYA strives to field the FCYBL-allowed maximum number of teams at each age level (3) if sufficient talent exists for competitive teams. Fielding 3 teams rather than just one or even two means that more players participate but the overall talent level of each team is somewhat reduced, making it somewhat more difficult for CYA to win league championships.
19.  How is it determined how many Division 1 and how many Division 2 Travel teams CYA fields at a given age group?
 The number of Division 1 and Division 2 CYA teams at a given age group (for example, Girls 11 and under) is set by FCYBL and not by CYA (though CYA has some input into the process). At the 10 and under level, there is a pre-season qualifying tournament to determine which teams should play in Division 1 and which in Division 2. Beginning at the 11 and under age level, the number of teams is determined by the team’s overall records the previous year, with the best teams in Division 2 moving up to Division 1 and least competitive in Division 1 moving down to Division 2.
20. How many kids are on each Travel team?
 CYA Basketball has mandated a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 12 players on each Travel team. Note that each team selects only 10 players in the initial draft; if any team wants to add an 11th or 12th player, this is done after the initial draft.
 21. How are kids notified as to who has been selected for the Travel teams?
 For those leagues with fewer players trying out, we ask that the coaches call all the families and let them know of the decision. For the larger leagues, players may be notified by e-mail. In either case the family has the right to call the head coach and ask why their child was not selected.
22. Some kids who tried out for Travel basketball have been notified but my child has not. What should I do?
 All those who try out for Travel basketball should be notified within 5 days of the final tryout (sometimes it takes a few days for the coaches to find a chance to meet and draft the teams and another few days to contact all the players). If you have not heard by that time, contact CYA at and we will contact the coaches to find out what the status of the notification process is.
23. My child tried out for Travel basketball but was not selected. What happens now?
 If a child registered for CYA basketball and tried out for a Travel team but was not selected, he/she is automatically placed in the House program. They will then have to participate in the house skills assessment and will be assigned to a house team. If they try out for and are selected by a Travel team in another program, then the family can apply for and will receive a refund of their registration fee.
24. When and where are Travel practices held?
 Fall and Winter practices for the Travel teams are held in the local middle and elementary schools and at Hoop Magic Sports Academy in Chantilly; in the Fall, some Travel teams might have some of their weekend practices at the local high schools as well.
 Travel teams have 2 90 minute weekday practices per week and, in the Fall, an occasional weekend practice. Weekday practices are generally held between the hours of 5:30-9:30 PM. We generally schedule the younger teams in the earlier time slots (5:30-7:30) and the older teams in the later time slots (7:30-9:30).
 After the tryouts are completed and teams selected, the coaches will inform their players of their Fall practice schedule (October and November). In mid-November this schedule will change to make room for all the house players to practice.
 25. Where and when are the Travel games held?
 Our Travel teams that play in the Fairfax County League (FCYBL) are scheduled at gyms throughout Fairfax County as well as in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, and Loudon. Most teams have some weeknight games and weekend games. This game schedule is drawn up by the FCYBL scheduler and is completely out of the control of CYA.
26. Is there a minimum playing time rule for Travel basketball?
 FCYBL does not impose a minimum playing time for the Travel teams playing in the county program. In principle, this means that Travel teams by FCYBL rules do not have to play any given player even one minute in any given game. However, CYA has instituted is own minimum playing time rules. By CYA rule, each player who attended the two previous practices must during the regular season play at least 3 minutes per half. If they missed either of the two previous practices, then they should be played at least 3 minutes total during the game. During the FCYBL tournament, CYA leaves playing time up to the coaches.
27. How can I find out where my child’s games are being held and when?
FCYBL posts the game schedule on its website, This game schedule is subject to frequent change, so you should be in the habit of checking it on a regular basis. CYA has no control over the game schedule, which is set by FCYBL.
28. How can I check on game scores and standings?
FCYBL posts game scores and standings on SportsCombine ( Each team also has a team page on this website where the coach posts game summaries and statistics.
29. My child’s coach says he/she needs volunteers to serve as a building director. What is a building director and how do I become one?
 Fairfax County requires each team to have at least one non-coach building director. The building director’s responsibility at games and practices is to monitor the crowd (especially the young spectators) and make sure that no behavior inconsistent with the gym use rules is going on (such as child running or bouncing balls in the hallways, defacing school property, etc.). He/she is also responsible for reporting any damage to school property or any injury that may occur. To become a building director, you must view the County’s building director video, take a short written test, and submit your answers to the Recreation Department. You will then be issued a badge good for 2 years that you must wear at games and practices. Periodically the County will send a supervisor to gyms to check in with the building director--if the building director is not present or does not have his/her badge, CYA may be fined and lose use of the gym. For more information, go to
30. If I have questions about my child’s team or the Travel program, whom can I ask?

 CYA Basketball appreciates your feedback and will answer any questions that arise during the tryouts or the regular season. For questions specific to the Travel program, please contact our Travel Coordinator, Kate Sciorra, at Please send all questions to so that we can direct them to the appropriate person to reply.