According to Moab City Recreation Director John Geiger, more than 100 local youth have been participating in the four younger leagues, known as the “Junior Jazz” program. For boys in grades three and four, the league includes four teams with seven players each, while the third- and fourth-grade girls league has three teams of six players each. In grades five and six, the boys league features six teams of eight players each, while the fifth- and sixth-grade girls league includes three teams of five players, Geiger said.
“All of the leagues have been very competitive,” Geiger said. “With exception of the older boys, the other three leagues play four-on-four, which allows each kid to handle the ball more and provides more spacing on the floor, which helps kids score.”
The younger leagues (third and fourth graders) also play on a shorter court with the baskets lowered to 8 feet instead of 10 feet.
Geiger had high praise for the coaches of the teams.
“The coaches really work together for the betterment of all the kids in their league, not just those on their own team,” he said, adding, “They do an excellent job of preaching sportsmanship, of creating competitive leagues, and being positive role models.”
Geiger said that most of the coaches completed a certification program that emphasizes positive coaching techniques and teaching life lessons through sports.
“The kids really respond to this leadership – across the board we see positive attitudes towards teammates, opponents and themselves,” he said.