The Youth Basketball League is recreational basketball league for boys and girls ages 5-17 years, of all skill levels. Focus on skill development, sportsmanship, basketball knowledge, and fun! Enjoy a “GoodSports” atmosphere through certified volunteer coaches, league staff and facilities. The league features one weeknight practice and one game per week.  Every player is guaranteed to participate in each game. The YBL is for beginner to experienced players who wish to learn while playing in a recreation atmosphere. Volunteer head coaches needed and volunteer assistant coaches welcomed. Info/volunteer to coach contact: Carson Nickell, 410-313-4720 or cjnickell@howardcountymd.gov (5-8 year old divisions) or Krista Billingsley, 410-313-4637 or kbillingsley@howardcountymd.gov (9-14 year old divisions & High School divisions).   


The Alliance Division of the Youth Basketball League is for boys and girls 4th – 8th grade travel teams from the Greater Howard County area. This division provides teams with competitive league play in Howard County Recreation & Parks premier facilities during the winter season. This league provides certified officials, scorekeepers, facility staff, league administration and website updates. For a team application or more information, please contact Krista Billingsley, 410-313-4637 or kbillingsley@howardcountymd.gov.

A 20% administrative fee is deducted for all refund requests 4 weeks prior to the league starting; a 50% refund if refund requested 2 weeks prior to the league starting; no refunds will be given less than 2 weeks prior to the start of the league.

YBL Playing Rules

NFHS Rule Book

Concussion Information Page

Medical Clearance Concussion

Notification - Suspected Concussion Form

Participant Information Form

Legal Guardian Code of Conduct

Player Code of Conduct

Bill of Rights

CLICK HERE for a full listing of FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may participate?

YBL is a recreation league that is open to all children 5-18 years with divisional separations as follows:

  • 5-6 year olds – Co-ed
  • 7-8 year olds – Co-ed
  • 9-10 year olds – Girls & Boys*
  • 11-12 year olds – Girls & Boys*
  • 13-14 year olds – Girls & Boys*
  • High School Division - Grades 9th-12th – Girls & Boys
  • Winter Alliance Division – Grades 4th – 8th - Girls & Boys

*Divisions will change to co-ed if needed. 

Team selection differs between divisions. The 5-8 year old divisions do not hold a Skills Assessment. Players are manually placed on teams by the League Coordinator. The 9-14 year old divisions and the High School division’s players will have a Skills Assessment prior to the start of the season. The Skills Assessment is used to place players on evenly skilled teams.

What are the differences between the Instructional Basketball League (IBL) and the Youth Basketball League (YBL)?

The Instructional League meets once per week for 8 weeks and concentrates on building the fundamentals of basketball. The YBL meets twice a week for 10 weeks, which includes one practice and one game per week. The YBL focuses on skill development, as well as, providing a more “game-like” situation. 

Would you recommend the IBL or the YBL for a ‘beginner’?

Beginning players are welcome in both Leagues. The IBL focuses more on skill development and general basketball instruction, such as basketball rules, where the YBL focuses on continuing to build fundamental skills and adds more of the competitive nature of the game.

What is the difference between the YBL age divisions?

  • The 5-6 division does not keep score and plays on micro-courts with the baskets lowered to 7ft with a 27.5” basketball. 
  • The 7-8 division does not keep score and plays on micro-courts with the baskets lowered to 8ft with a 27.5” basketball.
  • The 9-10 division does keep score and plays full court, officiated games on 10ft baskets with a 28.5” basketball.
  • The 11-12 & 13-14 divisions do keep score and play full court, officiated games on 10ft baskets with a 29.5” basketball (girls teams use 28.5” basketball).
  • All divisions have game rule modifications, which can be accessed through the YBL website.

What is the average ability level of the YBL Players?

The majority of YBL Players have a beginner to intermediate experience level.

Does the YBL accept Team Registration?

No. In an effort to keep the League fair and competitive, the YBL only accepts individual registrants. However, in the Winter Season, the Alliance Division does accept team registration. For more information on the Alliance Division.

Can my child play up an age division?

No. HCRP promotes allowing the child to grow physically and mentally and to allow time for that child to develop his/her fundamental skills in his/her age-appropriate group. Moving a child up before they are mentally ready is often overlooked. A child that is not mentally ready to manage the stress of playing up might actually lose his/her interest and leadership ability if he/she starts to struggle with self-confidence and frequent failure. The same goes for a child that has not mastered the fundamental skills learned in his/her age group.

What kind of jersey is provided by the league?

The YBL will provide a reversible jersey top for each player. This will be distributed by your team’s head coach by your first game. For the 5-14 year old divisions, each player gets to keep his/her jersey. For the High School individual registrants, a jersey top is provide for each game.

What does my child need to bring to practice?

Your child will perform best in athletic wear: athletic shorts, a t-shirt, and flat soled athletic shoes. Please note: players do not need to wear their jerseys to practice, but are welcome to do so. Please bring an individual water/sports drink bottle for your child. Players can bring their own basketballs to practices if desired; however, the YBL will provide basketball for practices and games.

What does my child need to bring to games?

Your child will need his/her jersey, athletic shorts, shoes, and a water bottle for each game; everything else will be provided.

Will there be a Team Picture Day?

Yes, but only during the winter season. The YBL provides a Team/Individual Picture Day on game day. The League Coordinator will send out a Picture Day Schedule a week prior to Picture Day.

What is the Skills Assessment?

The Skills Assessment is NOT a try-out. No player is ever ‘cut’ during the assessment. The Skills Assessment is considered the “First Practice of the Season” and is a key factor in keeping the league play balanced. The Skills Assessment is typically an hour and a half long per age division. The YBL Coaching Staff lead the players through fundamental skill work, drills, and scrimmages while assessing each player’s skill level.

Does my child have to attend the Skills Assessment?

The Skills Assessment is not mandatory, but is a crucial factor in placing each child on his/her team. It also provides additional time on the court for skill development and growth.

What if my child cannot attend the Skills Assessment?

Please send the following information to Krista Billingsley at kbillingsley@howardcountymd.gov

  • What experience does your child have with organized basketball?
  • Does your child have beginner, intermediate, or advance basketball skills?
  • If your child has played before, how many seasons and where has he/she played?
  • If your child has played before, what position does he/she typically play?

Is the YBL for boys or girls or co-ed?

The 5-6 and 7-8 divisions are co-ed. The 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 divisions are split with co-ed* and girls. The High School Division is split between boys and girls. 

*The girls; divisions has the option of transferring to the co-ed division if there are not enough players for four teams per age division.

What is the 9/10 Transitional Clinic?

This clinic is held prior to the Winter Season of the YBL. The main purpose is to help transition players moving up from the 7-8 year old division to the 9-10 year old division with the differences of the older divisional play. This clinic will provide the players with additional basketball terminology, official calls, subbing in/out of a game, and much more. All players registered in the Winter 9-10 division are welcome to come to the clinic.

What is the schedule/details for practice and games?

Will all players receive playing time?

Yes. HCRP believes every child should receive quality time on the court during practices and games. This time is crucial to each child’s fundamental development and socialization. The YBL game rules state that each child suited up for the game must play 8-10 minutes per half.

What is the Winter Alliance Division?

The Alliance Division only runs during the Winter Season (December – early March). This division is for organizational teams or school teams at the intermediate to experience level to compete against other teams in the Greater Howard County area.

What level of play is the Winter Alliance Division?

Overall, the Alliance Division is a higher level of play than recreation.

Who can play in the Alliance Division?

Community Sports Organizations, Independent Clubs (meets the multiple teams stipulation), and HCDRP Sport Advisory Boards. All teams have to submit a team application to be eligible for consideration by the Competition Committee. HCRP will be accepting applications starting in September. Please contact Krista Billingsley at kbillingsley@howardcountymd.gov for an application.

Is the Winter Alliance Division for boys or girls?

Yes. The Alliance Division will have divisions for both boys’ teams and girls’ teams for grades 4th through 8th grade.

What are some important policies we should be aware of?

  • A player is not considered registered until the registration fee has been paid in full.
  • Players cannot attend the Skills Assessment unless registered for the league.
  • All special requests are not guaranteed, however, to be considered the request has to be made by the Skills Assessment date. 
  • Special requests include practice night or teammate (only for carpooling reasons). Request for coaches may not be honored. 
  • The YBL follows the National Federation of High School Basketball Rule Book. The NFHS prohibits wearing jewelry during games/practices. Rule 3.5, Article 8 “. . . Jewelry is prohibited. Religious and medical–alert medals are not considered jewelry. A religious medal must be taped and worn under the uniform. A medical-alert medal must be taped and may be visible.” This rule is in place for the safety of all our YBL Players and to alleviate any potential harm that could happen during physical activity. The Game Officials will make the final decision on this rule, or any rule during play of a Game. 
  • Gum chewing is discouraged during practice/game for safety reasons. 
  • Teams are required to pick up trash and belongings around their benches after each practice/game. 
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