Oak Knoll After School Sports

  • The Oak Knoll PTO After School Sports Program is excited to offer boys and girls basketball for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. More information available on the basketball page.


    Registration is open now through October 22nd: https://go.teamsnap.com/forms/289965


    The Oak Knoll After School Sports team will follow the guidance established by the MPCSD 2021-22 School Safety Plan, including that requirement that parent volunteers provide proof of vaccination through the Safeter service. Details available online: 2021-2022 School Safety Plan.


    Our otters need volunteer coaches! No experience necessary; volunteers will be provided with materials and guidance for managing practices and games. Please fill out this form if you are interested in coaching. You can email Bjorn Carey with any questions.


    *This information is current as of October 10, 2021

  • Goals and Policies of After School Sports at Oak Knoll

    If your child is planning to play basketball this year, please review the program goals. If you are planning to coach, please make sure you understand our goals and Equal Playing Time Rules and coach within them.


    Program Goals
    • Fun: Our success should not be measured solely by wins and losses, but rather by the enjoyment of players, coaches and parents.
    • Positive and supportive introduction to organized sports: Our parent coaches are the single most important factor in shaping that experience.
    • New friendships with teammates who may be outside their circle of friends.
    • Oak Knoll Community Spirit: We want our teams to support one another, rooting for one another at games and other community building activities. We encourage grade level “Jamborees”. We encourage our coaches to support each other, share best practices, and see themselves as a “grade-level” team.


    Learning Goals

    • The value of hard work and playing hard
    • The fundamental skills of the sport
    • The responsibilities of being on a team: coming to practices, cheering on teammates, sharing playing time
    • Good sportsmanship and respect for teammates, coaches, referees, and opponents


    Equal Playing Time Policy

    If we are not careful, the goal of winning can supersede the essential goals of our program. This result is unacceptable to the Oak Knoll community. We want our teams to be competitive and our children to experience success, but  not at the cost of our long-term developmental goals for our children. 3rd and 4th grade is a time to have the opportunity to learn all aspects of the game and to develop the broadest possible set of fundamental skills. “Select” teams and “the best five” play are perfectly fine strategies for older athletes, not for eight and nine year olds. At 5th grade we begin the transition to more competitive contests. To that effect, the Oak Knoll Playing Time Rules are as follows:

    • Teams should be selected so that they are balanced and equal in ability.
    • Coaches should strive for equal playing time for 3rd and 4th grade players who have comparable practice attendance records. At the fifth grade level, players who have attended practice should play a minimum of 12 minutes.
    • All players should be encouraged to be active when in the game (i.e., in basketball, on offense, coaches should not tell their teams to have only the best players handle the ball; on defense, man-to-man defense is a great way to get every player involved).
    • Each child should have the opportunity to try every position. Coaches should not pigeonhole players (i.e., taller players should not be told to just wait under the basket; the team's best ball handler should not always be the point guard). In basketball, developing "positionless players" on offense (i.e., giving players a chance to learn and play every position) and playing man-to-man defense are great ways to help young children learn the fundamentals. The rate and timing of children's growth and physical development varies dramatically, and a person's fully developed size, speed, and coordination are unpredictable; coaches should not constrain a child's future prospects in a sport by optimizing for their third or fourth grade win-loss record.


    "No Trophy" Policy
    The Oak Knoll Volleyball and Basketball teams play in the Menlo Park Recreation (Burgess) League competing against other area schools. Starting at the fifth grade level for basketball teams, Burgess has playoff competitions and provides trophies to the top winners. At the lower grades, there are no playoffs and Burgess provides t-shirts to the participants. (Volleyball playoffs do not begin until 6th grade.)

    The After School Sport program will not give trophies for participating in the program. Likewise, the coaches are not permitted to give trophies. We want consistency among the teams and it would be unfair for some teams to give trophies simply for participating. From a developmental perspective, we want to help the students learn that they may play their best and try their hardest, and their coaches may recognize their efforts, but they will not receive an award for simply participating.


    Bjorn Carey, Clara Choi, Jenni Djafari, Mark Hochstetler
    Ward Bullard, Emeritus
    Oak Knoll After School Sports Committee, 2021-2022