To teach kindergartners through high school players the fundamentals and fun of basketball.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We have grouped the FAQ into various categories that you might find useful in finding the answer to your question. If you do not see a category you are interested in email (Matthew Pickford)  or Debbi Dyson for additional information.










Who runs VYI Basketball?

VYI Basketball is run by local volunteers with an interest in basketball. Most are parents or parents of past players or area coaches.  There are no paid employees, though on occasion VYI will hire outside contractors for specific tasks such as assistance with registration, refereeing, etc.

Each age level and gender has a commissioner who is responsible for operating that league. They rate players, set up teams, pass out equipment, schedule practices and games, hand out uniforms, keep track of standings and pass out trophies at year end.

How old does my child have to be to play VYI Basketball?

VYI accepts children as young as 5 years old. Kindergartners are accepted as long as parents believe that the child can effectively deal with children in the first grade. All first graders are accepted.  Kindergartners who play in the first grade leagues will also play in the first grade league the following season.

Are there boys and girls on the same team?

No, VYI has two separate leagues. One for boys and one for girls, with teams at each grade level.

How are the various leagues set up to determine what teams play each other?

There is a league for each gender and for each grade from 1st through high school. Because of development differences there is a 9/10th grade league and an 11/12th grade league for boys, while for girls there is a high school league for 9th-12th grades. Each league is run by a commissioner who is guided by VYI rules and regulations but who may adjust rules appropriately, and with league approval to run a league as he sees fit. Commissioners report to the overall House League commissioner who reports to the VYI Board of Directors.

What is the Friendship League?

For high school girls, because VYI only usually fields 3-5 teams, a league for all girls in Fairfax County was formed so that there can be inter-club play. Teams play in various high school gyms across the County and there are usually two divisions based on experience. Tryouts are in November, not October, so that girls cut from high school teams may participate.

Is there a similar league for high school boys?

VYI supports its own league for high school boys because there is usually greater interest among the boys then the girls. VYI usually fields 30-40 teams for boys high school play between the 2 leagues.

What is the difference in County and House basketball?

House basketball is for everyone regardless of skill level. Each team is set up with players of all skill levels and all players are guaranteed a certain amount of playing time in each game. Everyone who tries out for House league makes a team.

County basketball is more competitive and demanding. There are tryouts held and the coach picks the ten players he/she feels are the most skilled, who try out for Division I. The Division I teams from all participating clubs in Fairfax County compete against each other. The next ten players who perform best during tryouts are picked by the Division II coach and that team competes in a different County league against other Division II opponents. Anyone who tries out and does not make the first two teams is "cut", just like in high school.  Players selected for a VYI county team, or another county team affiliated with FCYBL, are not allowed to play in the VYI house league.

 We had a great time in basketball this year and want to keep playing. Where can my son or daughter play in the spring and summer?

There are AAU programs in the area, that play from April until mid-summer, if your child is one of the top twenty or so in the in-house league, or played county and aspires to play high school basketball - look at our web page for "AAU". If your child just loves the game - high school and college programs in the area have summer clinics, ex-players offer individual shooting instruction, etc.

 FCYBL offers a summer program of games only beginning June 1 operated by the Fairfax Stars AAU program. Look under LEAGUES, COUNTY, SUMMER LEAGUE for more info and how to see if there is a spot available.

Should my child try out for County basketball?

County basketball is a higher level of basketball requiring higher level skills and a greater commitment to the sport by participants. It is usually only for the best 5%-10% of all players in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade leagues.

If my child is playing County basketball do I need to register with VYI?

VYI is the club that supports the select teams that play in the County league,so, everyone who plays for VYI, whether in the House or County league, must submit a registration form. Anyone trying out for County MUST REGISTER at their grade level prior to County tryouts, which start the first Tuesday in October. Fees for County are higher than House fees because of the uniforms provided, the fee charged by the County league VYI select teams play in, as well as the extra cost of trained referees and the use of more gym space.

If my child is playing County basketball should I pay before his coach asks for the money? Do I get the benefit of the early payment discount?

VYI requires that you pay a minimum of the House fee and register on-line prior to County tryouts. Any money that you pay for a regular registration is directly applicable to the County fee in the event that your child makes a team. The County fee is a flat fee for which VYI offers no discount.

When may I register for basketball for the season beginning November 15?

You may register beginning September 1. Registration lasts until the Thursday before House tryouts in mid-October, and while you can register after that and attend a special tryout session at the league level, a significant late fee applies after that date.

It is November 1, and I haven't registered my child. Can he/she still play?

Registration is normally cut off in early-November so that teams may be formed by November 15, but in some cases leagues have vacancies on teams that need to be filled. The only way to find out is to register on-line, if available, or to contact the league commissioner for your child's sex and grade level to determine if there is a Waiting List and if so, when you might expect to be assigned to a team.

Why does VYI stress on-line registration?

On-line registration transfers the burden of entering all data for a participant to the participant or parent rather than to a league official. VYI maintains a "member" database so everyone who plays a VYI sport is a "member" for that season. Therefore, accurate lists must be maintained and on-line registration makes that a far easier task. In the past each form had to be reviewed and all data entered by hand. On line registration makes that time consuming task unnecessary.

Do I have to volunteer?

VYI is an all volunteer non-profit organization. Every Board member, commissioner, and coach is a volunteer and no one receives pay. You do not have to volunteer, but if you do not for basketball or volleyball,  you must pay a "non-volunteer" fee of $35 per parent per child.

Most volunteer positions do not take a lot of time. For example, in basketball if you volunteer for Building Director, which requires you to complete the Building Director test within the past two years from the end of the current season, is strongly suggested, you are expected to monitor a gym one or two times per season for 1 1/2 hours during a practice and/or a game, to monitor equipment condition, be sure no one brings food into gyms, and all persons are behaving and not destroying school property.

I keep getting an error when I try to register on-line that says I must enter data for all fields. I am entering all the data I have. Why doesn't it work?

The VYI software is looking for an entry in every field on the form, regardless of whether you have info for that field or not. You must enter something into each block, even if it is "N/A".

I keep getting an error when I try to complete teh Building Director test saying I am ineligible. What's up??

For any form where you use registration information, you must have a date of birth in your personal registration record. If you do not, the system considers you ineligible.

Where do I take or mail my check once I have registered on line?

VYI prefers that you pay by electronic check or credit card at the time of on-line registration, which is the easiest and least expensive method.

I missed registration for this season, but want my child to play next year for sure. What do I do?

On-line registration starts on September 1 prior to the upcoming season. Look at this site , click on On Line Registration, enter your data, pay by electronic check/credit card and print a copy of the form. Plan on attending a tryout on the days shown on this WEB site.

I was on a "waiting list" for basketball and paid my fee but never got called. Can I get my money back?

Absolutely. All you need to do is fill out the Parent Refund Request form at our WEB site to request the refund. Details on refunds are found under Fees and when you fill out the form.

What is a tryout/rating session for House league? I thought everyone plays.

Everyone does play in the House league. The tryout/rating session is conducted to allow coaches and commissioners to evaluate and rate your child so that teams can be formed as evenly as possible.

What is the difference between a House and County tryout?

A House tryout is a short session where coaches and the commissioner evaluate each player in seven different categories (dribble, pass, shot, speed, defense, rebound, and aggressiveness) and assign a rating to be used to help form equal teams.

There are four County tryouts which players are expected to attend and they are run similar to high school tryouts. Players are expected to be in playing shape when they come to County tryouts and they are put through rigorous conditioning and fundamentals drills to determine the twenty best players in each age group. A cut is made so only the best players make these teams.

What if my child can't make either House tryout?

Notify the league commissioner for your child's sex and grade level immediately. He/she will let you know if they intend to use last year's rating or there will be a makeup tryout time. Every child must have a rating to make our team assignment system work properly.

My child missed tryouts. Now what do I do?

Contact your league commissioner immediately, not the VYI office. Only your league commissioner can schedule a make-up tryout if necessary.

If your child missed County tryouts, we are sorry, there is no recourse until next year. Every player is expected to make all four tryouts unless there is an excused absence from the coach prior to the tryout.

Does a player have to attend all four tryouts to make a County team?

It is mandatory to attend two of the four scheduled tryouts to make a County team, unless the player has the express permission of the Division I coach running the tryout to be absent.

Should my child try out for both House and County basketball?

Normally, VYI has House tryouts following County tryouts so the children who do not make a County team can seamlessly move to a House league.

It is not mandatory that your child try out for a House league if he/she is cut from a County team. No ratings are kept in County tryouts that are transferred to House commissioners.

How do I request a carpool or team assignment with other specific individuals?

After registering on-line and both parents volunteering, fill out the form entitled "Teammate Request" that is on the main basketball homepage on the menu on the left side of the screen. Commissioners must then access this list prior to the draft or team assignment to attempt to accommodate these requests. Please understand that teams are assigned and drafted by player rating to help equalize talent and make games competitive so in many instances two players with the same rating will not be allowed on the same team. Once an initial assignment is made it likely will not be changed.

Who are the coaches for VYI and how good are they?

VYI coaches are all volunteers. County level coaches are expected to have higher level skills than House coaches, a better understanding of the game and a greater commitment to the game. House coaches are moms and dads who are taking the time out of their schedule to help out the community and to be with their children.

All coaches are expected to teach basketball, and toward that end, VYI provides skill levels by age group, that the club wants to teach, along with drills and practice outlines on the WEB site that assist a volunteer in teaching the skills VYI believes are necessary to develop fundamental skills in all its players and to operate a high quality program. VYI also offers a coaching clinic by our County level coaching staff, open to all players, parents, and coaches, to teach skills and drills that can be used in practice and at home.

County level coaches are expected to be state of the art with regard to what they teach. For example, VYI County coaches teach weak side help man to man defense, a variety of zone defenses including full court traps and presses, offense against a man to man and offense against a zone defense, rebounding skills, off hand skills, shooting techniques, finger roll lay ups, and fast break techniques among many other skills. Much of this program is taken from college and prepares a player for the mental and physical rigors of high school basketball.

How do I ask for a specific coach, or not?

To request a coach, you should contact that coach directly and ask to be a member of his/her team. It is up to the coach to make that accommodation in the draft. However, you must be aware that teams are formed by ratings derived at tryouts so it is possible your child may not be able to be accommodated on a specific team based on the distribution of talent among all teams in that league.

If you played for a specific coach in a previous year and do not want your child to be on that coach's team in the current year, you must contact the commissioner of your child's league by email. Contact email information is on this WEB site under "League Commissioners".

My daughter is 14 and wants to coach her sister. Can she coach a 1st grader?

VYI requires that student coaches be at least 16 years of age and that there be at least a four year age difference between the coach and the players involved. For example, a sixteen year old junior in high school may coach their 7th grade, or below, sibling who is 12 years old and a 17 year old senior in high school may coach their 8th grade, or below, sibling, who is 13 years old.

In addition, a junior coach who is under 21 years of age must have an adult 21 years or older at every team function to act as the responsible adult. Even though the junior coach coaches the team, the responsible adult will be considered the main team contact and is subject to all rules and regulations pertaining to our coaches.

How often are practices and how long do they last?

Practices are once a week for House league and twice a week for County (Some County coaches may have more than two per week). Practices for grades one through four are one hour.  Practices for fifth grade and above practices usually last one hour and a half. Practices are scheduled between 5:00PM and 9:30PM by the league commissioner for each league based on assigned times from Fairfax County.  Some house league coaches may hold an additional practice at a gym that is not part of VYI Basketball's gym allocation from Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. Under no circumstances are parents required to pay for any extra gym time.

Where are practices and games held?

Practices are at area schools like Thoreau, Kilmer, and the wide variety of elementary schools in and around Vienna. We try to put as many practices and games into wood floor gyms as possible on Saturday and Sunday but because we have 250 teams we also use elementary schools for the lower grade levels. Games for the older age levels are at area high schools on Sundays while other age levels play at middle and elementary schools. 

When are practices and games held?

Practices are during the week starting as early as 5PM and ending as late as 9:30PM. An attempt is made to give younger children earlier practice times but coaches drive the practice times because of work schedule. Actual practice schedules are not available until after teams are formed in mid-November.

For grades four and higher, some practice times are allotted from October 15th until the day before Thanksgiving. The more aggressive coaches ask for these times to better prepare their teams, but VYI tries to assign the available times equally to the various leagues, giving preference to older age groups. Permanent practice times are assigned by VYI to the various league commissioners by Thanksgiving for the period December 1 through March 15.

League commissioners actually make up the practice schedule. Normally, the coach asks for certain times in the block provided and those times are assigned. In some instances, if a practice time allotted to a league is particularly onerous, such as a late time for a young team, a commissioner may rotate teams through that time to spread the pain. Coaches allotted a "bad time" may choose to forego practice that week, or try to arrange other times through the league commissioner, or their own knowledge of available indoor or outdoor practice space.

Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays at many of the same gyms practice is in. Notable exceptions are that Madison, Marshall and Oakton high schools are available for league games on Sundays and as these are highly coveted gyms we schedule as many games as we can on Sundays. Generally, 1st through 7th grade games are played on Saturdays and 8th grade and above games are played on Sundays. This is necessary because of gym and referee availability.

 I don't like the practice schedule my coach told me about so can I get on another team? If I can't get on another team, do I get a refund?

VYI has over 2500 children in its program so adjusting teams, once assigned, is very difficult. Parents must be aware of that before putting their child in our program. Several of our leagues have 20 teams in them and once players have been assigned to teams and practice at least once, it becomes very difficult to trade players from team to team as bonds are already formed and it is extremely time consuming for our volunteer commissioners.

As an alternative to changing teams, partial refunds are provided as long as they are within the guidelines and time frames outlined on this WEB site.  Refunds will not be provided simply because parents expect VYI to change their child's team to  accommodate their personal schedules.

I heard teams are formed and practicing but my child hasn't been notified. What's up?

Teams are formed up until November 15 and each league is different. If you have not heard from your team coach by November 15, contact the league commissioner for your child's grade and gender by email. The VYI office cannot help you as the league commissioner does all team formation and practice scheduling.

What kind of referees does VYI use during games?

VYI hires the best referees it can and it also recruits junior referees from area high schools. VYI has a referee officer who is responsible for staffing games and the quality and consistency of the refereeing.