Aug 16, 2023

TDBA -Youth Basketball Leagues For Kids in Tampa - WHY TDBA is Different than YMCA / AAU / I9/ Rec Leagues

Joshua Lapinsky profile image
Teddy Dupay

Before we get to explaining WHAT makes TDBA Leagues different, a quick disclaimer.

I/ We are huge supporters and proponents of anything that helps kids.

All Youth Sports Leagues are great, for what they are. There are some situations that can truly be toxic. However, we can agree that it's positive for kids to be active and a lot of valuable lessons can be learned via sports.

In a 'typical" league, The Kids play some games, have a few practices and maybe, just maybe, they even have a coach who understands a tiny bit about basketball (respective sport) and doesn't favor their own child.

If your player is REALLY LUCKY, they will even have a volunteer coach that knows how to teach the basics and fundamentals.

If your child wins the lottery, you'll draw a coach who knows how to teach these things to children, in a way they will understand, retain and be able to utilize and improve. This is where building self confidence happens. This is Why TDBA is different, for all the kids and not a select few.

In a typical league, most families walk away feeling like they "wanted more". Many feeling like "stepping it up a notch". Some just want something 180 degrees different. We have found that there are always the exact same complaints from parents and a void that just can't be filled with the old system.

It's not that the other way is bad... We just decided to create something that is better.

The 3on3 league is awesome. We do these twice a year. Just games on Saturday. The kids play 4 or 5 - 10min games per (60 min) "Game-Block". This breeds Lots of close games, end of game situations, buzzer beaters and teaching moments that don’t happen in blowouts. Everyone Loves This!

TDBA's bread and butter training classes (52 weeks a year) run congruent with leagues (3on3 or 5on5). We never stop training classes. We do this all year. This is where most improving happens obviously due to consistency. Kids that want to do extra practice would attend the regularly scheduled training classes, but we do not carve out another night for specifically for “league practices”.

We would always suggest coming to some training classes before a league to meet the coaches and make friends with some of the other kids.

  1. This helps eliminate any nerves or butterflies.
  2. It also allows us to get some basics tackled. If we can go through most basic rules, address some concepts for ball handling, ball security, layups and some easy shots, this too will add confidence. 


Everything at TDBA is co-Ed, with the exception of our Annual All-Girls Basketball Camp, which has become a Tampa Tradition over the past decade. We match players up based on size, skill experience. When there are female players of equal size, experience and skill, they would be matched up appropriately. We do try to keep girls playing girls when possible, but only when it makes sense for fun, fair & even competition.


  • Volunteer Coaches
  • Minimal Playing Time - Low on court exposure
  • Very little to zero instruction
  • Seasons run on too long
  • Unbalanced teams
  • Beginners and less skilled players don't have any fun.

Some (MOST) Typical leagues insert "Special Rules" (NOT REAL BASKETBALL) such as

  • no stealing
  • no pressure defense
  • no traveling
  • no double dribbling
  • Sometimes not even fouls are called consistently
  • I've even seen players told not to "play hard" against the other kids so they don't hurt their feelings.

??? How does this help any kid learn the basics???

To me, this is doing children an incredible disservice. Many kids fall "out of love" with sports before they ever get a chance to experience the real joy sports can provide.


-All TDBA players learn the basics of basketball, foundational fundamentals plus the proper rules & scoring from a highly trained expert

  • Cardinal Rules about - "How to Play the Game" - "THE RIGHT WAY" ie "Basketball I.Q."
  • How Scoring Works (2pt , 3pt , Free Throws 1pt - why & when you receive them)
  • Traveling, Double Dribble with coaches on the court providing instructions of how to avoid these infractions.
  • Shooting Form, Layups footwork plus "Tips & Tricks" to get the ball in the hoop

-ALL TDBA Leagues have First Week Flexibility - Meaning in week #1 of any league, we have players attend a group based solely on age. Then after week #1, we break into smaller groups & teams we call "GAME-BLOCKS". This way, our kids get to play against other players of similar sized, skill level and experience.

  • Typical leagues only group players by grade level or age
  • Most Typical games are total blowouts.
  • The skill discrepancy is overwhelming and eliminates any hope of fun competition.

-All TDBA players get 30+to 40+ minute of playing time per game

  • Typical Leagues you play half the game - 50% or half of a 20-24 minute game is barely adequate exercise.
  • TDBA Leagues have much smaller team sizes plus longer actual games (40-48 min games).
  • In terms of Playing Time, TDBA players get a larger portion of a bigger pie.


  • There are No Volunteer coaches or refs.
  • All TDBA Leagues have trained TDBA Coaches and referees. Not that we don't love volunteers because we do. We do have volunteer clock and scoreboard operators, but the coaching and instruction is always provided by a TDBA coach, ensuring quality and consistency.
  • No Extra “practice” nights with the leagues. Every trip to the gym is fun and productive.

-The "real life lessons" learned from sports

  • Much like real life, the only way to learn some things is the Hard Way. The only way to learn how to "not get the ball stolen from you".... is to have the ball stolen from you.
  • It then falls on the coach to teach how to protect the ball properly or on an even more basic level, teach a child how to avoid becoming discouraged when things don't go their way.
  • This is a wonderful way to teach a young person how to deal with & overcome temporary defeat or adversity, with low to zero actual consequence in the big picture.

With all the good that comes with your typical "cookie cutter" league or camp, there is always the exact same complaints from parents and a void that just can't be filled with the old system. TDBA was created for this very purpose. To be better and to give parents and players exactly what you want, a better option.




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