Established in 1997, the Midwest 3 on 3 Basketball League has been promoting skill development and the importance of fun in the game of basketball for many years.
With the opening of the FirstLight Community Wellness Center in 2018, Kyle Smart saw an opportunity to extend the Midwest 3 on 3 League to Mora. He worked with the Midwest 3 on 3 League and Mora Schools staff to establish the first Mora 3 on 3 League.
As a volunteer youth basketball coach and father to children in the league, Smart is now the site coordinator for the Mora 3 on 3 league. “Midwest 3 on 3 really does a good job of fostering a competitive atmosphere while making sure the kids have fun,” explained Smart.
On game day, boys and girls in grades three-12 show up to the facility and play two basketball games with their age-related peers. The games last 20 minutes and involve free substitution, meaning that kids have the ability to swap out players at any break in the action.
“There are no official coaches in this league. It is mostly run by the players, giving them a sense of control and ownership,” said Smart. “That being said, there are adults in attendance who help the younger players with rules and plays and things of that nature. There are officials as well to help facilitate the game.”
When talking about the atmosphere of the event, Smart described it as “electric.” “There is music playing, fans getting into the game and players having fun on the court. It is just a great experience,” Smart said.
As well as a fun way to play basketball with friends, the Midwest 3 on 3 Basketball League focuses on skill development. “A team of five kids is recommended, while only three can be on the court at a given time,” explained Smart. “All of the players get more playing time than if they were to be in a standard basketball league with five participants playing at once. The more playing time a kid gets, the more skills they develop.”
At the end of the four weeks of play, the league is over. “There is no tournament and there are no trophies. You just get a team color-coded T-shirt and the experience of being on a 3 on 3 team. This helps emphasize the fun aspect of the league,” stated Smart.
“The FirstLight Wellness Center is the perfect facility for this. Lots of games can be happening at one time,” said Smart, “There really isn’t a building like this in the area. We would normally be driving an hour to get to these games. Now they are right in our backyard.”
In the wellness center, there can be up to eight games taking place at a single time with the possibility of more if the rest of the gymnasiums at Mora Elementary are open.
The first day of games is Sunday, Sept. 22 and continues for the next three Sundays. The cost to enter a team into the Midwest 3 on 3 League is $210 or $42 per child on a five person team.
To register a team or find out more information about Midwest 3 on 3 basketball, visit midwest3on3.com/mora.