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Winter Program 2011-12

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. How do I sign up for CYA Basketball?

1. How do I sign up for CYA Basketball?

You can register for CYA Basketball online or by mail. The easiest and preferred method is online registration. To register by mail, please contact the registrar, Cindy Aune, at for instructions. Online registration for Winter sports (including Basketball) is sheduled to begin on September 12th. 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).
2. What is the cost to register?
The basic registration cost will be determined at the budget presentation for CYA basketball to the main CYA board in August. It is estimated to be $140.00 for grades 2-12 is $135.00 and for grade 1 is $110.00 ($5.50 of the registration fee covers the Fairfax County use fee, $20 is the CYA admin fee, and $10 is the CYA capital improvement fee). The cost of the house jersey is included in this price; in addition, players in grades 1-6 are given CYA basketballs and all house players are provided uniforms.
For those who are selected to one of CYA’s travel teams, there is an additional charge of $75 that will be made once the team is selected (this covers the Fall gym use charges); in addition, Travel players pay roughly $25 per piece for their Travel uniforms (2 jerseys and 1 pair of pants), though in most cases players who have played Travel previously can reuse their old jersey if it still fits.
A $25 late fee will be added to the costs of those registering after October 16th (except for grades 9-12 who have until November 20th).
3. 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 to complete your registration.
4. How old does my child have to be to play CYA Basketball?
The CYA house basketball program is organized by grade not by age. In the Winter program, any child in grades 1-12 can sign up to play CYA Basketball, as long as they are not playing for their high school team (with the exception of girls playing on their school’s freshman team). No child below grade 1 will be allowed to play regardless of the circumstances.
The Travel teams, which play in the Fairfax County Youth Basketball League, were previously organized by age but starting this year will be by grade. CYA fields teams in the following age groups: Boys 5th grade (previously 10 and under), Boys 6th grade (previously 11 and under), Boys 7th grade (previously 12 and under), Boys 8th grade (previously 13 and under), Girls 5th grade (previously 10 and under), Girls 6th grade (previously 11 and under), Girls 7th grade (previously 12 and under), and Girls 8th grade (previously 14 and under). As long as the child is in the proper grade and is not more than 2 years older than the previous age designation for that league as of October 1st of the current year, they can play in the specified grade-based league (for example, those playing in the 5th grade league must be in the 5th grade or below and no more than 12 prior to 1 October 2011). There is no longer any need for age exceptions. Players can still play up at a higher level if they so desire, and 4th graders can try out for the 5th grade teams (albeit in a separate 4th grade qualifying tryout prior to the 5th grade tryouts).
5. Are there any residency requirements to play CYA Basketball?
There are no residency requirements for the CYA house program though Fairfax County requires that no more that 10% of our house players be from outside Fairfax County (for example, from South Riding).
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 zip codes. Moreover, 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).
6. When does registration start and end?
For the Winter program, online registration is scheduled to begin on September 18th. Anyone who registers for the house program by October 31st is guaranteed placement on a house team; however, to avoid the late fee (grades 1-8), you must register by October 23rd. Anyone in grades 1-8 registered after October 23rd will play a late fee. Anyone in grades 1-8 registering after October 31st will only be placed on a team if there is still space in the league for which you are registering; otherwise, the child will be placed on a waiting list and activated if space becomes available. For high school age students, the deadline for registration without a late fee and guaranteed team placement is November 20th.
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 mid-October. A late registration fee will be charged after mid-October.
7. When does the season start and end?
The Winter basketball season for the house program begins in December and ends in early to mid-March, depending upon the league. For most leagues practices will begin in late November or early December and continue through the end of February. Games will begin either the weekend of December 12-13th or the weekend of December 19-20th (depending upon the grade level).
For the Travel program, practices will begin in mid-October once the teams have been selected. Most Travel programs participate in the pre-season Thanksgiving tournament. The regular Travel program season also begins in December and ends in early March.
8. When and where are practices held?
Practices are held in the local middle and elementary schools and at the Northern Virginia Sportsplex (formerly known as Hoop Magic). In the Fall, some Travel teams may have some of their practices at the local high schools as well. The gym assignments are made by the Fairfax County Recreational Department in September for the Fall practices and around November 1st for the Winter season, so until that time we do not know exactly which schools we will be assigned and for which dates and times. In the past we have been allocated time slots at the following middle and elementary schools for practices: Carson MS, Franklin MS, Herndon MS, Rocky Run MS, Brookfield ES, Colin Powell ES, Crossfield ES, Dogwood ES, Floris ES, Fox Mill ES, Greenbriar East ES, Greenbriar West ES, Lees Corner ES, McNair ES,Navy ES, Oak Hill ES, Poplar Tree ES, Waples Mill ES and Willow Springs ES. Once we get our gym allocation from the Recreation Department, we assign gym slots to the various house leagues and travel teams. We make every effort to give the earlier time slots to the younger age groups and the bigger gyms to the older age groups. We also try to give each age group an assortment of schools and time slots for practices so that they can best accommodate their coaches’ schedules. This is an exceedingly difficult process because of the sheer number of teams (nearly 350) and the fact that the County normally does not allocate us enough space to accommodate all teams.
Practices for house teams are 1 hour per week Monday-Friday; Travel teams have 2 90-minute practices per week (usually Monday-Friday but possibly Saturday or Sunday). 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).
Once the County gives CYA its gym allocation, the CYA scheduler makes up the master practice schedule, and the teams are selected, the League Administrator working with his coaches assigns practice slots to his teams. This will not occur before mid-November at the earliest, so unfortunately we cannot give out precise information before that time as to where and when any individual child will have his/her practice.
9. Where and when are the games held?
CYA house league games are held in the local high schools, middle schools and elementary schools as well as in the privately-owned Northern Virginia Sportsplex (formerly Hoop Magic). The school gym assignments are made by the Fairfax County Recreational Department around November 1st, so until that time we do not know exactly which schools we will be assigned and for which dates and times. In the past we have been allocated time slots at the following schools for games: Chantilly HS, Oakton HS, Carson MS, Franklin MS, Herndon MS, Rocky Run MS, Brookfield ES, Colin Powell ES, Crossfield ES, Dogwood ES, Floris ES, Greenbriar East ES, Greenbriar West ES, Lees Corner ES, McNair ES, Navy ES, Oak Hill ES, Poplar Tree ES, and Waples Mill ES. Regular season games are generally held on Saturdays between 9:00 PM - 8:15 PM and on Sunday between 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Depending on the space that we are allocated by the County, we try to schedule the younger ages (grades 2-5) on Saturdays only; grades 6-12 have some Sunday and some Saturday games.
High School girls play in a Friendship League with teams from Vienna, Fairfax, Burke, Turnpike and Braddock road. While most of their games are at the Northern Viriginia Sportsplex or Oakton HS, they may have some games in neighboring young league jurisdictions when playing those teams (for example, at Fairfax HS, Madison HS, Marshall HS, Jefferson HS, and Robinson HS).
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.
10. Are boys and girls placed on the same team?
No. CYA has separate boys and girls leagues in both the house and travel programs.
11. What is the difference between House and Travel basketball?
House basketball is open to everyone regardless of skill level. Each team is set up with 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 grade (for grades 5-8), 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 grade level depends upon a pre-season tournament for the 5th grade teams and the previous year’s record for the older teams. Players are selected for the travel teams at each grade 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. Note that Travel teams require more practice time (generally twice a week for 60-90 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.

For the answers to frequently asked questions specifically about the Travel program, go to the Boys Travel or Girls Travel pages.

12. 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.
13. How are the House teams selected?
For grades 1 and 2 the house teams are put together by the League Administrator based on neighborhood and school. For Grades 3-10, a skills assessment is held by each league in mid-November at which the coaches for that league evaluate and rank the players. Participation in this skills assessment is highly recommended as it helps make the teams more balanced, but it is not required for placement on a team. Once the skills assessment has been held and the players ranked, players are assigned to teams by the coaches based on a player draft. For Boys grades 11-12 and girls grades 9-12 players are selected to teams by the coaches and league administrators based on their knowledge of the players’ skills, since it is very difficult to get players at this age level to attend a skills assessment.
Please check the Basketball page of the CYA website ( for up to date information on where and when the skills assessment for each league are being held.
14. How are the House coaches selected?
Both parents and non-parents can volunteer to coach CYA house teams. You can volunteer as a head coach or assistant coach online at the time that you register your child for CYA basketball. You can also sign up separately by clicking on the Volunteer Only link on the CYA webpage ( If you sign up independently of registering your child or if you do not have a child in the program, be sure to specify in which leagues you are interested in coaching--if you do not specify the league (for example, 4th grade girls), then your name will not show up when the League Administrators check the database for prospective coaches. In most leagues, especially at the older age levels, we are in desperate need of coaches as the number of people who volunteer is not sufficient; however, at the younger ages there may be more volunteers than coaching slots, in which case the League Administrator will have to determine which candidates to choose.
NOTE: The names of all those who volunteer to coach are submitted to an independent organization for background checks. All coaching volunteers must submit to this background check every 2 years.
15. I am a high school student that wants to coach CYA Basketball. Is this possible?
CYA allows young adults aged 16 or older to coach in our house program (you must be at least 25 to coach in the Travel program). The coach must be at least 3 years older than the oldest player on the team (for example, an 11th grader could coach 8th grade or below). Preference is given to parent volunteers over youth volunteers when selecting coaches. In addition, any youth coach selected must have a parent sponsor that can be at practices and games as an observer.
16. My child wants to play up at a higher grade level in the house program. Is that allowed?
The CYA house program is grade-based not skills or age-based. CYA strongly discourages children playing above their grade level except in extremely rare circumstances. The only circumstances in which such requests are sometimes granted are: 1) a child is considerably older than most of the others in his/her grade because he/she has been held back for more than one year; 2) a child is considerably taller or heavier than most of the others in his/her age group. Anyone who wants their child to play up must make a formal petition to the Basketball board by November 1st; if granted, the child must then participate in the skills assessment at the higher grade level and be ranked among the top players in order to be moved up. Anyone who attempts to move their child up to a higher grade by falsifying their record in the CYA database is subject to removal from the CYA Basketball program.
The only exception to this rule in the House program is for high school girls, as they participate in a Friendship League with teams from other programs. The team assignment process for this league has somewhat different rules (which involve a combination of grade and skill) which CYA as a participant must follow for our teams
17. My child wants to play down at a lower grade level in the house program. Is that allowed?
Sometimes parents want to have their child play at a lower grade level because they are young for their grade or less skilled. Since all leagues have kids with a wide range of skills (from highly skilled to novice), parents are encouraged not to request that their child be moved down slowly on the basis of skill level. A greater case can be made for moving a child to a younger grade program if that child is very young for his/her grade (for example, because they have skipped a grade). As with requests to play up, parents who want their child to play down should forward a request by November 1st to the Basketball Board, which will determine if that is in the best interests of the child and the overall program.
18. My child wants to play on the same team as his/her friend or with another child for carpool purposes in the house program. Is that possible?
CYA understands that friends want to play together and that parents often want neighborhood kids on the same team so that they can carpool to games or practices. However, CYA must balance these interests off against the program need to form teams that are roughly equal in overall skill levels. For grades 1-2, teams are formed by the league administrator on the basis of neighborhood and school, so requests for placing friends or neighbors on the same team can be more readily accommodated. In this case, parents should put the teammate request in the "Special Request" field on the registration form and send an email request to the league administrator. For grades 3-12, teams are formed through a draft system based on skill levels so this type of request is more difficult to accommodate. Again, parents should put the teammate request in the "Special Request" field on the registration form and send an email request to the league administrator. The league administrator will make these requests known to the coaches at the draft, but there is no guarantee that any particular request (except for siblings playing together) can be accommodated.
19. 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 personally or whose child has not played for them before. If you want to express a preference for a particular coach, you should indicate the name of the coach in the "Special Request" field on the registration form and contact the league administrator and coach prior to the player draft. In grades 1-2 where the league administrator makes up the teams, he or she will attempt to honor such requests where space permits. In grades 3-12, the league administrator will make such requests known at the draft but the coach may not always be able (or willing) to select the child during the draft process. Note that parent coaches in the house league are always assigned their own children or relatives unless they specifically request otherwise.
20. 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 the Chairman at and he will contact the coaches to find out what the status of the notification process is.
21. I have heard that teams in some house leagues are already formed and practicing but my child has not been notified. What should I do?
The team formation process in the various leagues proceeds at different speeds depending upon the availability of the coaches for the tryouts and draft and their ability to get the word out to their players once teams are selected. Check the CYA website regularly for information about the skills assessment dates/times and the notification process for each grade. If other players in your child’s league have been notified by their coach, send an email to the league administrator or the Boys or Girls Commissioner to find out where the league is in notifying players of their team assignment.
22. My child was placed on the "waiting list" for his/her league? What does that mean and what should I do?
Players in grades 1-8 who register after October 31st or after November 27th for grades 9-12 are placed on a waiting list if there are no open slots on teams in that league. Sometimes players drop out just before or after the team assignment process, which opens up space for players on the waiting list (selected on a first come, first served basis). If your child is placed on the waiting list, be sure to check in frequently by email with the league administrator for your league. If no space becomes available by the first week of the season, notify the registrar and you will be given a full refund.
23. My child registered for CYA basketball but wants to withdraw. Can I get a refund?
The official CYA refund policy is that refunds will only be granted if a child moves out of the area, is injured prior to the start of the season, or is selected to a high school team. CYA Basketball will also grant full refunds to anyone who makes a Travel team in another youth program or is put on the "waiting list" for the house program and not assigned to a team.
24. 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 certificate 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
25. My child wants to become a CYA house ref? How does he/she do this?
CYA Basketball uses so-called "house refs" to officiate games in grades 1-8. These house refs are adults and middle/high school students (aged 13 and above) who volunteer to be trained by CYA Basketball as basketball officials and, once trained, are assigned by our ref schedulers to officiate house games in grades 1-8 (grades 9-12 are officiated by semi-professional officials provided by the Cardinal Basketball Officials Association). Mandatory training sessions take place in November for both new and returning referees at a time and place that will be announced on the basketball pages of the CYA website ( New referees are paid $10 per game and experienced referees are paid $15-$25 per game, depending on the age level that they are officiating. Highly skilled house refs have the opportunity to become "mentors," who are paid to train and supervise the less experienced officials.
To sign up as a referee, email the referee coordinator, Monica Despins, at You can also register by clicking the Volunteer Only link on the main CYA webpage. You will be notified when we set up our tryouts.
26. Who runs CYA Basketball?
CYA Basketball is administered by a Basketball Board under the direction of the CYA Basketball Chairman. The Chairman, in his/her capacity as the Basketball Sports Coordinator, in turn reports to the overall CYA Board, which supervises all CYA sports. The Basketball Board sets the overall policy for the basketball program, oversees both the travel and house program, coordinates with outside agencies (such as the Fairfax County Recreation Department, the Fairfax County Basketball League, the HS Girls Friendship League, and the Cardinal Basketball Officials Association), determines the overall game and practice schedule for the house program, and manages each league through the League Administrator. The League Administrator for each league recruits the coaches, sets up the skills assessments and drafts, determines the league game and practice schedule, manages the standings, runs the hot shot competition and all-star games, and serves as the communication point between the Basketball Board and the coaches, parents, and players. The referee coordinators allocate games to the house refs to officiate. Of course, parents also help out as coaches, building directors, scorekeepers, and timekeepers. All those who serve in the above positions are unpaid volunteers who give generously of their time and make the CYA basketball program possible.
27. Does CYA need more volunteers at different positions?
CYA is always looking for new volunteers to serve on the basketball board, as league administrators, or as ref schedulers. Those serving in these positions, because of the amount of work involved, get a discount on the basketball registration fees. If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to