Bethel International United Methodist Church
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FAQ’s  Upward Basketball and Cheerleading

What is Upward?

Upward Sports is the world's largest Christian sports league for children.  Upward is an unique sports experience that develops young athletes mentally, athletically, spiritually, and socially.  It provides an encouraging and positive environment for children to have fun learning a sport while building friendships with others.  The league focuses on learning basketball/cheerleading skills alongside Biblical lessons.  In Upward, every child gets equal playing time regardless of their ability and sportsmanship is emphasized.  

Who can participate?

Boys and girls in kindergarten through 6th grade.  

My child has never played basketball or participated in cheerleading, can they still be a part of Upward? 

Absolutely!  Upward is meant to be an instructional and teaching league. Therefore, any skill level is welcome to participate.  

Where are t he practices and games held?

All practices and games will be at Bethel IUMC, 1220 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220.  

What does practice look like? 

Each practice is one hour long and will be on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.   The first and third practice will be held on Saturdays January 4th and January 11th.  The practice consists of drills to promote skill development and to focus on teamwork.  During each practice, there is a huddle time in the middle where the coaches lead the players/cheerleaders in a devotion.  

What does a game day look like?  

All games are approximately one hour long.  Games are on Saturday's between 9 am - 6 pm. with rotating start times. The first game is on January 18, 2020 and the last game is March 7, 2020.  You will receive a game schedule on the 1st or 2nd practice.   Each cheer team will be scheduled to cheer at one of the basketball games on each Saturday.  

What do the participants need to bring? 

Participants should wear athletic shoes to all events, including the evaluation.  They should bring a water bottle and a willingness to build athletic skills, character, confidence, and spirit.  While having a basketball is encouraged, they can be left at home. 

What is the time commitment? 

One practice and one game per week lasting one hour each.  Saturday January 4, 2020 is the 1st practice and all teams will practice on this day.  

How much does it cost? 

It costs $95 between September 1st and November 5.  After November 5th, the price increases to $115.  Please read the registration page or the Basketball Clinic FAQ page and click on the program that best fits your needs.  Partial scholarships may be available upon request.  

What is included in the price?  

All participants will receive a full uniform.  Basketball Players receive a t-shirt, jersey, and shorts.  Cheerleaders receive a mock turtle neck, vest, skort, pom-poms, and a megaphone.  

What are the evaluations? 

Every participant will need to attend an evaluation session.  Evaluations are Thursday November 7th and Tuesday November 12th with sessions at 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, or 7:30 pm.  When you register online you will have an option to choose one of these times.  

During evaluations, participants have the opportunity to try on sample uniforms to determine the correct size.  Basketball players need to be measured by height and go through a few skills to determine their placement on a team.   Please make sure basketball players are wearing appropriate athletic clothing and tennis shoes to the evaluation.   All players will be placed on a team but the evaluations help to create more equal teams.  

How can I coach my child's team?  

The registration form provides a space to indicate your willingness to coach.  No prior experience is needed.  There is a mandatory coach's orientation on Thursday December 12th OR Sunday December 15th (choose one).  You will receive a handbook from Upward as well as a variety of support from the online Upward website and from the Upward Leadership Team.   Each team has at least a head coach and an assistant coach.  

Can a player sign up to be on a friend's team? 

Yes, provided both players list each other on their registration and it doesn't create unequal teams.  For example, if Alex lists Terrell, but Terrell lists Jimmy, and Jimmy lists Terrell in return, then Alex will not get his preferred friend.  If by chance both Jimmy and Terrell are highly skilled players and having them on the same team would create in imbalance, they likely will not be assigned to the same team. 

May players switch teams? 

Assigning players is completed using Upward's software program that calculates coach links, friend links, player evaluation scores, and practice night exclusions.  Manual adjustments are then made to accommodate factors the software does not consider.  Occasionally switches are made for special circumstances, but often a switch cannot be made without disrupting the many factors that went into creating the teams, including our commitment to fair teams. 

What are the important dates of the 2019/2020 program?  

September 1 - Online Registration Begins
November 6 - Registration cost increases
November 7  - Evaluations (choose one)
November 12 - Evaluations (choose one)
January 4 - First Practice
January 6, 7, or 8 - Second Practice
January 11 - Third Practice
January 13, 14, or 15th - Fourth Practice - Your weekday practice night will stay the same throughout the season.
January 18 - 1st Game
March 1 - Upward Celebration
March 7 - Last Game

*Other dates will be given, such as picture day, on the 1st or 2nd practice.  

How do I register?  

Click on this link or stop by the church office between 9 -3 during the week to receive a paper registration. 

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