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We have made some exciting changes to our Grade 3/4 Boys and Girls programming. We have decided to switch to a 3 X 3 format instead of the usual 5 on 5 model used in the rest of the league's competitions. This adjustment aligns with Canada Basketball's 3 X 3 Mini-Basket program, which focuses on providing children with a game that is better suited to their physical, mental, and basketball development.

By embracing the 3 X 3 format, we are able to incorporate long-term athlete development (LTAD) principles, allowing us to prioritize skill development and age-appropriate competition for our novice players. The 3 X 3 format provides more repetitions and touches for each player, ensuring they get more playing time and meaningful participation in the game.


WHY 3X3 ?

While following a similar path to adjustments made in other youth sports like hockey and soccer, basketball-specific modifications have been implemented, offering distinct developmental benefits.


In traditional 5 on 5 games, it is common for 1-2 players to have limited ball involvement, especially when there are dominant players who excel at handling the ball or are more advanced in their development. As a result, teammates often rely on these players, limiting their own opportunities to develop skills and work on team and decision-making abilities. This hinders the overall development of the team as a whole.


In contrast, the 3 X 3 format ensures that every player actively participates for the team's success. In each possession, all players have the opportunity to handle the ball, leading to increased skill repetition in competitive situations. This creates an optimal environment for skill development to take place, benefiting all players involved.


In youth basketball, 5 on 5 games tend to be crowded and as a result, it becomes challenging for them to practice essential skills like dribbling and passing against various defensive coverages. Their skill set is not yet fully developed to handle such situations successfully.

The 3 X 3 format addresses this issue by opening up the court and providing players with more space to operate. This allows youth to play in open areas where they can practice and refine their skills without the interference of multiple defenders crowding the ball. The increased spacing also facilitates the development of individual and team decision-making skills, such as recognizing advantages and making appropriate choices between shooting, passing, or driving.



The 3 X 3 format places a strong emphasis on individual skills and actions involving 1, 2, and 3 players, which form the foundation for successful 5 on 5 play. The focus is on developing concepts rather than adhering strictly to specific systems.

Defence is player-to-player, creating opportunities for offensive freedom, decision-making, and creativity to flourish. This allows players to develop a well-rounded skill set and enhances their ability to adapt to different game situations.

3 X 3 competitions offer shorter but more frequent games, enabling players to face multiple opponents within a single competition session. With reduced player numbers, each individual receives more playing time, maximizing their competition experience during this crucial developmental stage.


This division is designed to enhance players' skill levels in a fun and recreational setting. Each team participates in one practice session per week, lasting for one hour, and engages in one game per week, typically on Friday nights. In this format, players will participate on the two main hoops of each gym, allowing 12 players to play at once instead of the usual 10. Games will have a duration of approximately 4 minutes, with an assigned official at each basket.


Floor spots will be marked at five positions on the court, such as the point, wings, and corners, around the high school 3-point line. Each possession will start under the basket, with an uncontested pass or dribble to one of the spots. The offense can begin once the player dribles or passes the ball to a teammate at a spot.

The defense cannot impede offensive players from moving to the floor spots, but they can guard their assigned players as soon as the ball is in play. If a steal occurs, the player can dribble or pass to a teammate at a spot and initiate offensive play immediately.

The game follows alternating possession, meaning the defensive team does not need to take the ball out of bounds after a score. They can immediately take the ball, pass or dribble it to a spot, run to the nearest spot, and begin offensive play.The key elements of this program include catching/holding the ball and attacking, principles of cutting, passing, and filling, ball cuts, backdoor cuts, and screening on the ball is not permitted at this developmental stage.

Each team will have a coach assigned to one of the two baskets. It is crucial that the coaches embrace the principles of guided discovery and understand that they are part of a coaching collective that assists in player development and provides feedback to all players, regardless of whether they practice with them or not.



The TCYBA depends on parent volunteers to coach teams within the league. Specifically, in the grade 3/4 division, each team will require a minimum of 2 parents who can contribute to the academy sessions initially and eventually take on the responsibilities of team coaching in the new year. If you are interested and available to volunteer in this role, please visit our coaching page. Your involvement as a parent coach is greatly appreciated and plays a vital role in the success of the league.


Experienced or not, if you bring enthusiasm, we'll provide the guidance and tools for your successful season. We understand coaching can be intimidating for newcomers, but TCYBA is dedicated to helping you succeed with your team. We offer weekly practice plans and a system for coach development to ensure a balanced player development. Online resources are available to enhance coaching skills for both new and seasoned coaches. Together, we can make a positive impact on our players' growth.

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