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League Rules 2021-2022
Welcome to Season 9 of Upward Basketball and Cheerleading

Jarvis & St. James League enforces the unique rules created by Upward Sports to ensure each participant has the opportunity to grow in their athletic skills and faith journey.   Sports are exciting! It is natural to get excited when our children succeed and sit on the edge of our seats for the final game basket. However, we encourage you to cheer for baskets scored by both teams. Please remember, Upward is a Christ based program. Our actions should represent those of Christ as a positive example to all involved in the program.

* Parents and coaches are ask to sign a code of ethics at evaluations and/coaches training.
* Our league is proud to be open to children of ALL levels of play.  Beginners admire the experienced players and the experienced players love to mentor beginners.
* All children and families are to act appropriately while on our campus and toward each other.
* Unacceptable behavior by a child or adult will result in one warning followed by removal from our program, if the behavior continues.

Rules and Information
The game format, rules for game play, and substitution system which are unique to Upward Basketball are designed to provide the best sports experience for every child.

Game Format
An unique element of Upward’s Basketball ministry is the game format:
* A referee leads both teams in prayer at center court before every game. This sets the tone and focus for the game.
* Games consist of two 18-minute halves and an approximately six-minute halftime. This keeps games to approximately a 45-minute time frame. It also allows games that are scheduled on the hour to begin and end on time.
* A coin toss or other impartial method determines which team receives possession first. In jump-ball situations, possessions will alternate. This promotes fairness for both teams while adhering to the National Federation of High School rule for jump ball situations.
* During each six-minute segment the clock runs continuously. The clock will stop at the end of each segment for predetermined substitutions. This allows coaches to line up and match substitutions based on height and ability without wasting valuable game time. This time should not be treated as a timeout. This is a great time for cheerleaders to do a quick cheer.
* No timeouts are used in Upward Basketball. This allows more playing time and keeps the games on time.
* At the end of each six-minute segment, the team that receives the ball next is determined by the direction of the possession arrow. Therefore, an end-of-the-period shot is encouraged. Players and spectators enjoy seeing a last second shot attempt. It also avoids the offensive team from stalling at the end of a period.
* Teams switch goals at halftime. This is in compliance with NFHS Rules. Also, it evens any advantage that may occur because of the court.
* No scores are kept in the K-5, 1-2 Boys, and 1-3 Girls leagues. The focus for this age is to learn fundamentals, not winning and losing.
* Any games ending in a tie should remain a tie. This will help keep games on schedule.
* No division standings are maintained in any league. Such standings add unnecessary pressure and intensity. In Upward Basketball, there will not be a playoff system, championship tournament, or a division champion thus eliminating the need for standings.
* Coaches are allowed to walk the sidelines and encourage their players without stepping into the playing area. K-5 coaches, however, are allowed on the court with the players. Their focus is to instruct and encourage players at all times.
* All coaches will adhere to the substitution system. The substitution system allows for equal playing time for all players.

Rules for Play
Play is governed by the National Federation of High School Rules except when rules unique to Upward Basketball apply. (website: www.nfhs.org)
* Man-to-man defense will be played at all times. Zone defenses are not allowed. In most cases, while playing a man-to-man defense, players are only guarding the opponent that closely matches their ability and height. This allows for a more competitive system for every player on the court while creating an equal opportunity for each player.
* Defensive players must stay within arm’s reach of the player they’re guarding. (Isolation plays are not part of Upward Basketball because they take away the opportunity for improvement for all players and contradict the spirit of the rules. This prevents defenders from sagging or crowding an area of the court to gain a defensive advantage.)
* Double-teaming is not allowed. Help defense is strongly encouraged in the following instances:
    * Picks and Screens: Are allowed in our program in the older gender/grade divisions.
    * Fast Breaks: During any fast break (when the team that gains possession of the ball pushes it quickly into the opponent’s end of the court, hoping to get a good shot off before the other team has a chance to set up on defense), another defensive player not assigned to the ball handler may help in order to slow or stop the fast break. Upon stopping the fast break, defenders should return to guarding their assigned players. This rule is meant to prevent the defenders from helplessly watching the offensive player score, not being able to help. Here is an example of how fast break help defense can occur: The defense gets a rebound under the goal and throws a wide open overhead pass to a teammate located along half court. This player receives the pass and is advancing the fast break. Meanwhile, the only opposing player close to him is not his assigned defender. This person quickly guards the ball carrier and stops the fast break.
    * Lane Area: If a defender is in the lane, and the player he or she is guarding is within arm’s reach, the defender is allowed to provide help defense. Since many goals are scored in the lane, this rule provides the defense more opportunity to properly defend this area without abandoning their assigned offensive opponent. Here is an example of how this can occur: The ball handler beats his man and drives into the lane. After doing this, he meets a second defender who is in the lane. As long as this defender is within arm’s reach of his assigned opponent, he is allowed to provide help until the ball handler’s assigned opponent can recover. Upon recovery, the defensive player that provided help must then return to guarding only his assigned player.
* At the beginning of each six-minute segment, both coaches should lineup the players at mid-court and match them up by ability. This act is performed to promote equal player match-ups. Equal match-ups combined with man-to-man defense create five competitive pairings on the court. If both coaches and referees foresee a match-up problem due to position and height, players can be shuffled around to create a better game situation.
* Full-court presses are not allowed. Defensive players may not guard their opponents in the backcourt. This allows more play to occur in the front court and creates an equal opportunity for each child to participate offensively and defensively on the court.
* Due to the shortness of the court in cross-court play, backcourt violations will not be called (this occurs when the ball handler brings the ball over the midcourt line into the frontcourt then retreats with the ball back into the backcourt).
* The offense must purposefully attack the defense in every situation – no stalling. After a warning from the referee, a violation will be called resulting in a turnover. This will prevent a team with the lead from running the clock out by staying in the backcourt.
* Referees will call and explain all violations. This is done because referees also serve as “on the floor coaches” teaching players what is and is not acceptable on the court. The detail of explanations will vary according to the age group and understanding of the players and should decrease as the season progresses.
* When possible, referees will advise players of potential violations before the violation occurs. Through words of encouragement and warning, referees are often able to prevent a violation from occurring.
* The three-second lane violation will be somewhat lenient in the Kindergarten, 1-2 Boys, and 1-3 Girls leagues until it has become “Rule of Emphasis” for the week. However, coaches and referees must encourage offensive movement in and out of the lane area. This helps teach the younger age groups to avoid this potential violation without being penalized.
* No technical fouls or protest of games. Technical fouls and protests go against the spirit of Upward Basketball. Coaches and referees should instead follow the example in the Circle of Affirmation.
* No score will be given for a basket in the wrong goal. It will be treated as a turnover. This will prevent further embarrassing a player for making this mistake.

Referees and league commissioners will have the opportunity to pass judgment when some rules may be alleviated for teaching or learning of the game. Often times in the younger age groups, violations will not be called as stringently.

Each Gender/Grade Division has specific modified rules to accommodate their skill development (see the attachment for these rules).

Last Published: August 26, 2021 11:37 PM
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