How to Start a Basketball League

How to Start a Basketball League – If you have no experience with starting a basketball league – don’t worry about a thing – this basic information will get you started quickly, and give you enough information to get your league moving in the right direction. If you already have some experience with starting a basketball league – this information can still be beneficial (or at least act as a refresher). Keep in mind that the information below is geared towards How to Start a Basketball League and not just one basketball “team.” This is not a comprehensive “How To” but rather much needed information to help you get started quickly (and point out some things that you may not be aware of). Good Luck…

 Here are some of the main steps with How to Start a Basketball League!


Getting Started: The first items of business.

 a) Volunteers to help run the league:

You can’t do this by yourself (don’t attempt this alone, find some help). Get your volunteers organized quickly – some suggested positions that should be filled are:

* League (Club) Administrator – Handout

* Treasurer- Handout

* League Secretary – Handout

* Equipment Coordinator – Handout

* Director of Coaching – Handout

* Boys Coordinator – Handout

* Girls Coordinator – Handout

* Gym Coordinator – Handout

Note: You don’t have to fill every position right away (or fill any of the positions at all). As long as you have volunteers handling league duties, and things are getting done – get the league started and fill positions at a later date.

b) Meetings:

Once you have some volunteers on board – Hold a league meeting to discuss the following items below… Make sure you write out a meeting agenda, make copies, and follow the agenda (the meeting will go much smoother if it is organized).

c) Naming your Basketball League / Teams:

*Pick a name for your organization and your teams. A few examples: Williamsburg Warriors Basketball, Sanderson Shooting Stars, Harrisville Hoops, Haynesville Basketball Club, etc…

*Pick your League / Team Colors – Remember you have to have a dark color for the away uniforms, and a light (white) color for home uniforms.

d) Start up Money / Bank Account:

Open a Bank account in the Leagues name, and establish which two people will be required to sign checks (always have two signatures on league checks). For now you only need some start up money ($1200-1500 or so).

e) Financial Plan – How much $$$ is this going to take?

In order to figure out how much money you will need to buy insurance, membership fees, equipment, uniforms, and other expenses – you will need to know the following information:

* How many teams are you planning to start off with?

* What are the age groups? Boys and Girls, Just Boys, Just Girls?

* Non-Profit Corporation Fees (see below)

* Uniforms $2500 (15 home and away uniforms). The start up costs to outfit one team could be as high as $3,000 (just an estimate the costs could be less or higher). Even though the $2500 figure seems high, it could get lower if you purchase in bulk, and search for deals, etc (with some hard work, you could get the $2500 figure down considerably).

* Equipment $800 (basketballs, cones, pennies, ball bag)

Other Start up costs: (These are only estimates, and all start up costs may not be covered here).

*Non-Profit Corporation Fees / Legal Fees (anywhere from $250-$1,000)

*Insurance (anywhere from $300-$1,000 – depending on the number of players participating in the league)

*Membership Fees (anywhere from $100-$300)

f) Where will the money come from?

* Player Fees – It is suggested that you start with a player fee of no less than $250 per player, and no more than $350 per player. Player fees can bring in a lot of money to the club – 12 players paying $250 = $3,000 (more if the fee is higher). The player fees can help cover some of the costs, but most of that money will go to Tournament Entry fees (so you will need more).

* Donations / Sponsors – If you can find a volunteer that is experienced with soliciting sponsors and donations then you will win the financial battle.

* League Tournaments – Holding your own tournaments can bring in several thousand dollars per tournament if done correctly (add running a youth basketball tournament). Concessions, Admissions, Tournament Entry Fees, Half time fundraisers, Raffles, T-shirt sales will all bring in lots of money…

* League Fundraiser – It is highly recommended that you hold a mandatory league fundraiser, and set a mandatory minimum amount that each team must bring in. The minimum should be anywhere from $800-$1000. All teams must participate, do the same fundraiser, and finish at the same time (establish a deadline). Give the option to the parents to “buy out” of the fundraiser by just donation $100 (or whatever the buy-out amount is set at). Give prizes to the players that bring in the most money, and also make parents pay the balance on players that did not bring in their minimum.

g) Non-Profit Organization – (501-C):

I do suggest that you speak to an attorney to see what the costs of becoming a Not-for-Profit Corporation will be? You really should consider this part of starting up a league. You must protect yourself from any liabilities /lawsuits that could potentially occur and harm your personal finances.

*Make this a priority, don’t wait until the last minute to get this set up!

* If you can find a volunteer (attorney) within the club that will be willing to donate their services – this will cut down costs also.



Gym Time: The Highest Priority!

You have to secure gym time! This must be your highest priority. What I mean by securing gym time is to have a signed agreement with a local Rec Center, YMCA, Church, or other organization that has a gym. Just because you know the custodian at the local High School doesn’t guarantee that you will have set practice times for your teams. This never works out. If you want your league to be successful – you need to secure guaranteed gym time.

Finding a Co-Sponsorship:

Many local Recreation Centers, YMCA’s, and Churches provide Co-Sponsor programs for sports leagues. These are great, especially when gym time, meeting rooms, and other benefits that will make your league run a lot smoother. Make some phone calls to see if this is a possibility.

Paying for Gym Time:

Very rarely have I seen where gym time is cheap enough for a league to afford, but it wouldn’t help to check around for pricing. You may find that your league may be able to afford it, and at least for the short term, allow your league to get started.


Volunteers – Finding Coach’s:

Do you have enough coach’s for the teams you are planning for? Are they qualified? Or will there be just parents attempting to coach? If you end up with mostly parents as coach’s, and they are not very experienced, then it is the obligation of the League to train these coach’s (and train them quickly).

Here are some highly recommended suggestions:

1. Have the experienced coach’s come up with some mandatory drills, plays, etc. (that should be the minimum used by all coach’s).

2. Hold a mandatory coach’s training session – demonstrate the mandatory drills and plays to the inexperienced coach’s (and make sure they understand them).

3. AVCSS Basketball offers dozens of “Interactive” Booklets and CD’s that demonstrate many subjects that will guarantee to improve coaching skills on all aspects of the game.


Advertising for Coach’s:

a) Check with your local Middle school / High School coach’s – they may be interested.

b) Local Newspapers usually have a spot where they allow this type of free advertising – find out if you can place an ad (pay a fee if you have to).

c) Flyers – make up some flyers and distribute them at your local Rec Center / YMCA, etc.


Other Resources for Youth Basketball Coach’s:

a) Check out our “Organizing your Team” page on our Website

b) Check out the “Practices” page on our Website

c) Check out all the handouts, videos, and other helpful information on our Website.


Joining a Youth Basketball Organization:

Most all leagues (basketball clubs) join the AAU and / or YBOA youth basketball organizations. A league will need to join as a club, and individual coach’s and players will need to be signed up also (we have each of our teams sign up themselves, then we reimburse them). Average cost for a league is $60-$100, average cost per coach / players is Around $12. Some tournaments require the team (coach’s and players) to have AAU / YBOA cards to play in their tournaments.

The AAU National Website

The YBOA National Website

Note: There are other very good organizations out there, you will have to look around, the two listed above are the two largest when it comes to basketball.


Insurance: Youth Sports Insurance

There are many insurance companies out there that can provide you with liability insurance, but it is easier just to use companies that do Youth Sports Insurance. Most of these companies can give you a very good deal (you will need to shop around). The info in this How to start a Basketball League page will require a lot of effort when shopping around for insurance.

Here are a couple of Youth Sports Insurance providers:

* Frances L. Dean & Associates

* Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance

* Bollinger Sports Insurance



Tryouts need to be organized, plain and simple. Coach’s need to run the tryouts fluently and fairly, and they need to show up with a practice plan (tryout plan). If the parents and players sense “chaos” and “inconsistency” they may not want to be part of the team (or your league).

Tryouts are the first thing that parents / players will participate in – it’s where they will get their first impression of how things will be run…

For more information on running tryouts – go to our

Tryouts Related Menu Page


Keeping it Together – More Suggestions

* Start a League Website – Find a volunteer to start it the website, and keep the information updated.

League LineUp Free league / team websites Free league / team websites

* League Newsletter – Keep everyone up to date on everything going on in your league. One or two pages will suffice, and solicit for a volunteer to handle the task. Newsletters can be emailed or copies handed to all the teams. Communication is a very important part of running a basketball league.

The information above should get you going on the right track with How to Start a Basketball League. This information in no way claims to be 100% accurate or 100% comprehensive (there’s lots more to it, these are just the main items you need to consider). All the information above comes from over 15 years of running a basketball league, camps, tournaments, etc. Hopefully, you can benefit from this experience!

 how to start a basketball league

How to start a Basketball League

11 Responses to How to Start a Basketball League

  1. Toby Lewis says:

    I would like to start a recreation basketball league. In my area of Spring Grove in York,pa.
    Can I please get some help with starting get this league?

  2. GPetrin says:

    Here is the information we have on the AVCSS Basketball Website for starting a league

  3. Tim Flores says:

    A Friend & I started up a youth basketball program at a very small church whom allowes us to have free gym time and have a free league for youth 4-12yrs old.
    We do have lots of volunteers coaching scorekeepers refereeing and to assist with kids running outside alone or off to another area like water fountain or restrooms.
    I would like to name our whole program and stuck right there not knowing what to name it. Which I do plan on building and proceeding for a long time to come.

  4. GPetrin says:

    It’s awesome to hear about your basketball program, hope it continues to grow. Nice job!

  5. Charles Williams says:

    I would like to start a basketball league and football team my email is cell # 214 951 6316 i would like to register also and get a some brochores and catologes my adress is 6543 Gentle river dr dallas texas 75241

  6. Joe says:

    An associate and I have taken on the task of starting a youth travel basketball team in my city, I have been speaking with city leaders and Rec center administrators I would advised me that the city will support team in the next fiscal year. But they require a business plan for our nonprofit venture. Do you have a sample business plan that I can look at? Delete will most likely consist of middle school or’s including you U13, U12, U11, …..

  7. GPetrin says:

    Here is some information that should assist you

  8. Marcus benton says:

    I live in Las Vegas Nevada and I’m looking for any help or any information own how to starts basketball league

  9. Danton Latrousse says:

    Why would someone want to start a basketball league? What are the benefits?

  10. Marcela Ortega says:

    Im interested in starting a aau travel for 5th or 6th grade girls . What steps will i need to get starter.

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