Oak Knoll After School Sports


  • Basketball and Volleyball teams participate in the Menlo Park Recreation Department League (Burgess League).

    • The Oak Knoll teams are comprised of only Oak Knoll students.
    • No previous experience is necessary.
    • Teams are organized and coached by parents.
    • Practices are at Oak Knoll and games are played at Arrillaga Family Gymnasium.

  • Goals and Policies of After School Sports at Oak Knoll

    Equal Playing Time

    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 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). 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.


    Positive First Experience

    For many kids, this may be their first introduction to organized sports. We want it to be a positive experience. Our parent coaches are the single most important factor in shaping that experience.

    Learn Basic Skills of the Sport

    We want to make sure our children are learning the building blocks of the sport. Middle school and high school coaches want players who know the fundamentals of the sport. We encourage coaching strategies that teach the fundamental skills for the long run over tactics that work only at this level. 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.

    Work Hard and Be Competitive

    We want our teams to play hard and be competitive. We also want to win games, though not at the cost of our long-term developmental goals for our children.

    Build Team Skills and Learn Sportsmanship

    The responsibilities of being on a team (coming to practices, cheering on teammates, sharing playing time) need to be embraced by all players. Players should learn to respect their teammates, coaches, referees, and opponents.

    Build New Friendships

    We want to encourage students to interact with others who may be “outside of their circle of friends.”

    Have Fun

    Having fun is probably the most important goal of our after-school sports programs. Our success should not be measured solely by wins and losses, but rather by the enjoyment of players, coaches and parents.

    Build 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.

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

    "No Trophy" Policy
    The Oak Knoll Volleyball and Basketball teams play in the Menlo Park Recreation (Burgess) League competing against other area schools. The League is run by Burgess. The games are played at Burgess and officiated by Burgess referees. 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.) Since the league is run by Burgess, any trophies for the teams should by awarded by Burgess.

    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 be given trophies simply for participating while other teams do not get them.

    We want to encourage students to play on Oak Knoll teams, to develop the fundamental skills of the sport, to learn the game and have fun. At the same time, students need to realize that not every team or individual gets a trophy. 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.