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Choosing the Right Path: School-Age Fundamentals vs. School-Age 3x3

5-8 year old basketball players from Mini Ballers Winnipeg, hosted by the Winnipeg Sea Bears
School Age Participants Cheering at Sea Bears Game with Coach Orion.

Decisions... Decisions...

Are you a parent of a School-Age Mini, wondering which basketball class is the perfect fit for your child? Mini Ballers understands that this decision can be a significant one, and we're here to help you make an informed choice. Let's explore the differences between our School-Age Fundamentals and School-Age 3x3 classes.

The Core Focus

In both our School-Age Fundamentals and School-Age 3x3 classes, we emphasize teaching kids basketball skills through the power of play. Dribbling, passing, and shooting are the key components of our curriculum, seamlessly integrated into exciting games and activities. However, here's where the paths diverge.

SA FUNdamentals: The Skill Development Journey

Our School-Age Fundamentals classes are tailored for kids who are looking to build a strong foundation in basketball. We prioritize skill development and movement over traditional basketball league play. Our regular classes steer clear of intense 5-on-5 scrimmages, focusing on individual growth and fun experiences.

SA 3 X 3: Transitioning to Team Basketball

Starting in the spring of 2023, we introduced a co-ed 3x3 class for 6-8 year-olds called "School Age: 3x3." This program is designed for kids who have developed a strong interest in the game and are ready to explore the world of team basketball. If your child thoroughly enjoys our programming and shows enthusiasm for the sport, they might be prepared for this exciting transition.

No Rush, No Limits.

The beauty of Mini Ballers is that there's no need to rush your child into 3x3 or limit them to one class. We've received feedback from parents whose children of the right age thoroughly enjoy both FUNdamentals and 3x3 classes. We embrace this dual-enrollment approach because it offers a diverse and enriching basketball experience.

Moreover, we offer a "sample to play" experience within our School-Age FUNdamentals class. This opportunity allows kids to explore the concepts of offense, defense, rules, and boundaries. The number of sample to-play classes typically ranges from 1-2 sessions, but in cases where the coach recognizes exceptional skill levels and focus within the group, it may extend to 3-4 sessions to meet our ballers where they are at.

Debunking Myths and Sharing Our Unique Approach

Time to squash a myth that some die-hard ballers might have – the idea that what we do is only for little babies and toddlers. Our classes are all about skill-building, and when our school-age group hits the court, they're diving deep into basketball skills. They're practicing dribbling, nailing those shots, and nailing those passes throughout a full 45-minute session. With a fantastic 5:1 coaching-to-player ratio-maybe smaller, they even get to try out real gameplay. We're all about serious fun and skill development!

We've got a secret sauce: we teach through the power of play because it's the best way to keep kids engaged and interested for the long haul. But we also sprinkle in some movement fundamentals. Why? Well, I know that young kids can't always focus solely on basketball or fully develop physical literacy skills like speed, agility, balance, and coordination. I get it; I'm a mom with young kids too, and I know how frustrating it can be to feel like your time is going to waste. That's why we dedicate our warm-up to those movement fundamentals. It's a win-win for everyone!

Our approach is a lot like sneaking spinach into your kids' smoothies. The good stuff is there, but they don't necessarily need to know it. We're pros at this. And yes, many of our coaches were high-performance basketball athletes once upon a time. Some are head and assistant coaches for a variety of club teams and school programs. We could go all-out "strictly basketball," but we take a different path. We layer it in, and mix it up, like we're baking a cake. The result? Something truly magical. Kids have a blast, learn without pressure, and see incredible skill improvement.

Looking Beyond Mini Ballers

If your Mini is itching to take the next step and play in a league, we support and encourage their journey! You can consider exploring opportunities like the WMBA co-ed 7-8 league or private basketball clubs. Our goal is to be part of your child's basketball journey and contribute to the growth of the sport.

And one small favor we'd like to ask: when your child reaches the big leagues, give us a shoutout! We'll be there to cheer them on, every step of the way.

5-8 year olds Mini Ballers Basketball players playing basketball on the Winnipeg Sea Bears halfcourt.
A mix of 5-8 year old School Age 3 x 3 participants scrimmaging at half time of the July 16 Sea Bears Game

At Mini Ballers, we're all about empowering your child through basketball, making the learning process fun, and fostering a love for the game. Choose the path that suits your child's interests, and we'll be right there to support them in their basketball journey.

We hope this post has given you our game plan, so you can make yours!

Go team!

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