Youth Sports FAQs

Studies, like those published by the Aspen Institute, have shown over and over again that there are a myriad of benefits that flow to physically active children, including health, educational, social, psychological, and financial benefits. Taking this to heart, a cross-section of leaders in our YMCA spent a year researching, rethinking and redesigning our youth sports program with the goal of ensuring all kids have the opportunity and encouragement to play the game while aligning our program to the YMCA core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring.

Our new progressive model ensures all leagues have age-appropriate, research-based elements incorporated into their structure, like allowing preschoolers to focus on basic skills while giving our middle schoolers the opportunity to experience positive competition.

We’ve compiled this FAQ document to help address concerns and answer questions.

  1. Why are there different names for leagues like Minis, Setters and Varsity? 
    For each sport, we have created divisions within the League to give youth a graduated, clear path to follow as they age through the YMCA youth sports programs. From our Minis (preschoolers) who are led by YMCA staff in basic skill building activities and scrimmages with a focus on fun, to our older divisions who play games against YMCAs across the region and culminate some seasons with a YMCA of Greater Seattle tournament, each division has defined features based on age-appropriateness. 

  2. Do you have standard rules for each league? 
    Yes, we do. Coaches and referees are trained on the rules for each sport and league and would be happy to share the official rules with you.

  3. What experience is needed to play a Y Sport?
    We strive to be a place where kids can learn the game or continue to hone their experience and skills - all on the same team! Each sport will use different strategies to create balanced teams that improve the experience for all players. At registration, we ask questions to determine your child’s prior experience with the sport to help in the creation of teams. Our Y Sports Leagues offer opportunities for players of all skills levels to have equal amounts of playing time and to skip the tryout or cuts! 

  4. Can I play on my friend’s team?
    Staff will make every effort to create even, developmentally appropriate teams while managing requests for buddies. We will not be able to accommodate all requests and hope every player can make new friends from their Y Sports experience.

  5. If I am a volunteer coach, can my daughter or son play on my team?
    Yes, coaches may request their own child play on their team.

  6. I heard YMCA leagues don’t keep score, is this true?
    For each sport, we look at the appropriate age and developmental level for keeping score. In all cases, Minis don’t play official games and therefore don’t keep score. For most of the divisions for players Grade 2 and younger we also don’t keep score, as it’s not a fundamental aspect of the game at this age. In our older divisions, 3rd grade and up, we keep score.  This may vary slightly sport by sport. Please see sport specific descriptions.

  7. When will practice and game schedules be released?
    Practice and game schedules will be released after Y staff and coaches have had time to create teams. You can expect practice schedules at least 14 days prior to the first practice and game schedules at least 14 days prior to the first game. Sports Directors or Coaches will reach out to each participant with this information.

  8. What if that practice day or time doesn’t work for my family?
    Reach out to your Coach or Sports Director at the email address below if you have specific concerns.

  9. What if I can't afford the full cost of a sports program?
    The YMCA is committed to making our youth programs available to all! We serve all people in our communities and offer options based on household income so that the Y is affordable and accessible to everyone. Reach out to our front desk staff or the Sports Director at your local branch to learn more. 

  10. Are teams co-ed?
    Preschoolers play on co-ed teams. Kindergarten – 2nd Grade may play on co-ed or single-gender teams depending on program enrollment at each branch. 3rd Graders and older play on single-gender teams. This may vary slightly sport by sport. Please see sport specific descriptions.

  11. Do you have additional questions? Please contact the Sports Director at your local branch.

Auburn Valley YMCA – Shaq Brown
Bellevue Valley YMCA – Lin Martinez
Coal Creek Family YMCA – Kevin Hughbanks
Dale Turner Family YMCA – Chris Arndt
Matt Griffin YMCA – Chris Dunford
Meredith Mathews YMCA – Danny Cage
Northshore YMCA – Corey Lowell 
Sammamish Community YMCA – Kim Payne
Snoqualmie Valley YMCA – Josh Conlee
West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA – Jill Mudge