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Basketball for Beginners

With all the attention that hoop star LeBron James has been getting lately, you may be wondering what it takes to get your little ones started on the pathway to basketball stardom. According to Scott Johnson, Spring Valley Athletic Association’s commissioner (and a coach himself), kids can start as young as kindergarten. “In basketball, it’s not just about the effort,” he says. “You learn life skills: teamwork, bouncing back from mistakes, respect.” Interested? Sign the kids up to play in the Spring Valley Athletic Association, based in Richardson. Kids in grades K-6 must register for the winter league by Nov 7; games are played every Sat at area junior highs starting in Dec. Cost is $95-$125. Call 972/238-9728 for more info or visit www.svaa.org.

For folks a bit farther north, Carrollton Athletics has league registration from Sep 7-Oct 8. Practices begin the week of Nov 1, and games will be played through the end-of-season tournament (Feb). Cost is $80 for residents, $100 for nonresidents, and includes eight games, a jersey and one-hour weekly practice. Mini League players (5-6 years old) also receive a participation trophy. Call 972/466-9833 or visit www.cityofcarrollton.com/webtrac/vsiwebtrac.html to register.

According to Teresa Federspiel, senior director of sports at Plano Sports Authority, they can start as early as preschool. “Basketball is a sport that takes all … to win,” she says, “so it really builds teamwork … and great life skills.” Luckily, leagues abound in the Collin County area for all ages. Plano Sports Authority is one place to start. In addition to winter league play for kids in grades K-12, PSA offers basketball skills classes ($195 for eight weeks, beginner through advanced). For more info call 972/208-5437 or visit www.psaplano.org.

Or try signing up your wee ones to play at the Allen Sports Association, which is registering players from Sep 12-Oct. 22. For first and second graders, cost is $105; third graders and up is $125, and a jersey is included. Games are played at Allen ISD gyms from November to January. Call 972/727-9565 or visit www.allensports.org.