FARMINGTON — Changes are coming to the youth leagues of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington.
This year, in an effort to create a more fluid transition for its players, the organization is shifting the seasons of its different sports to match those of the middle schools and high schools.
In past years, the organization has played its volleyball season in the spring instead of the fall, while the boys basketball season has been scheduled in the fall rather than the winter.
“We want to have a little more interaction with the high schools,” said Rick Hoerner, who organizes the leagues for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington. “If they play during the (high school) seasons, the kids will get to see what they’re trying to attain skill wise when they go to the games and watch the teams play.”
The moves were also put in place in hopes of opening more communication between coaches in the youth leagues, and middle school and high school coaches.
About 2,000 kids in second through eighth grade compete in the various leagues at the organization, and by moving the seasons to coincide with the traditional time frame, the young athletes will be provided with the chance to participate in more sports. Hoerner said that in past years, the fall had been heavily loaded with sports, particularly for the boys with football, soccer and basketball coexisting. The move of basketball to the winter opens up time for kids and their families to participate in all sports, if they choose to.
This year, all of the organization’s coaches will be required to go through the concussion protocol set out by the New Mexico Activities Association, which governs all high school athletics in New Mexico.
Hoerner, who also serves as the boys basketball coach at Navajo Prep, said the basketball leagues will implement rule changes this season that he hopes will help prepare players in the league for styles of play more common at the high school level.
The two biggest changes in the rules will be the elimination of the zone defense during the league’s developmental season and the elimination of jump balls when a defender reaches in to tie up an opposing player who has possession of the ball. By eliminating the zone defense, players will be required to learn the fundamentals of man-to-man defense, while the elimination of numerous jump ball situations will speed up the pace of games.
“The better the program is here, the better (the kids will) be at the middle schools and the better they’ll be at the high schools,” Hoerner said.
Registration for the organization’s volleyball season opens Monday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.