Young Athletes Learn to TRUST through Carlsbad’s Youth Basketball League

It’s no secret that youth sports help to strengthen young bodies and develop young minds. Learning about the value of teamwork, hard work and sacrifice is one of the most rewarding aspects of growing up, and here in Carlsbad, we have the benefit of the city-run youth basketball league to help give our young athletes the best possible competitive experience. We talked with Steve Herrera, Recreation Supervisor for the City of Carlsbad, about the benefits of the program and the wide range of options available to both young boys and girls.

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Steve Herrera
Recreation Supervisor, City of Carlsbad

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What is the history behind the City of Carlsbad basketball league?

The youth basketball league was established to encourage healthy lifestyle and to create community as a social and physical outlet for the kids and families. The league is to teach kids the value of team and how to work with all types of personalities to accomplish one goal, teamwork.

What is the timeline for the season?ballin05

The season began at the start of November with team practices and games starting the first Saturday in December. The season ends the last week of February.

What overall experience can the basketball players expect while playing for this league?

By the end of the season, the youth of Carlsbad will have challenges and learn how to overcome them by performing as a team, and how good sportsmanship leads to becoming a better member of society off the court. We want the kids to learn and understand the game of basketball, and to lead with what they learned in their day-to-day lives. Basketball can teach more than the game, including how to handle tight situations, playing with others, learning others, how to think in a fast-paced game.

How are the teams formed to ensure they are balanced appropriately?

Although not a perfect science, it’s the number one goal of the department to try best balance out the teams. The first process is we do a player assessment of each child (height and picture is taken so we can look at heights), speak with parents of their child’s basketball and other sport abilities. Secondly, we have each coach at the
end of the season to gives us a report card of each child. The report should list their strengths and what the child needs to work on, and what improvement they saw. We also have them tell us a brief bio of the child’s season, since it’s the coach that is with the child at practice and games. Third, staff and I sit at each game most of the season and we write up a report on the team and child. This helps us for next season. Lastly, we go through the score books and we tally the points average for each child and we also see attendance records. Since we have a return rate of about 95%, this helps us for next season too.

How many teams do you have? What is the age-range breakdown?

We go by grade and we offer six divisions: Pee wee coed for first and second graders, boys third and fourth grade, boys fifth and sixth grade, boys
seventh and eighth grade, girls third through fifth grade, and girls sixth through eighth grade.
We average around sixty teams.

ballin04Do you allow businesses or families to sponsor the teams, and if so, how can others sponsor teams? Are there any current league sponsors?

We do allow families and business to sponsor teams. If a family, individual, or business is interested they can email Grant at for more information. As of the time of print, there are no current sponsors.

Does the City of Carlsbad hold any fundraisers for the basketball program?

We do not conduct fundraisers; however we do fundraise at time for our opportunity grants program. The program is for families to apply for a one time a year $150 grant to use for any recreation program, and you must be a resident of Carlsbad to apply. We have had families use it towards the basketball program. This creates an opportunity for those that need financial assistance.

How does one get involved with volunteering with the basketball league?

They can contact our Grant at, or visit the City’s volunteer opportunities page at

Do the basketball coaches receive any special training?

Yes, we require them to attend our coaches training and our sportsmanship TRUST training. We also send them literature and online tools to make them better coaches. Also, throughout the year we have basketball camps and the volunteers can become assistants, so they can learn more onsite.

[pullquote align=”right”]“We want the kids to learn and understand the game of basketball, and to lead what they learned in their day-to-day lives.” ~ Steve Herrera, Recreation Supervisor, City of Carlsbad[/pullquote]

What is the most rewarding part of your job, in relation to the basketball leagues?

I enjoy watching the families attend games watching their child have the opportunity to meet new friends; the smiles of a first made basketball can boost confidence tremendously. Being able to put together a large program for the residents of Carlsbad and providing a safe place to gather.

What is the most unique aspect of this particular basketball league, compared to others of a similar nature?

We probably have one of the largest programs in North County, and we have the best sportsmanship program TRUST, that our league stands by. TRUST stands for: Teaching Respect, Unity, and Sportsmanship through Trust. NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton is our spokesperson and has conducted lectures on sportsmanship. We preach this in our leagues.
You can see the TRUST video here at

ballin02What is your ultimate wish/goal for the basketball players to accomplish in this league?

To teach young athletes how to play as a team and how to become a better member of society through sport.


What do you think are the top three reasons that a child should participate with the City of Carlsbad basketball league?

Fun (no pressure), learn the game with friends and make new friends, and lots of excitement.

To whom would you like to thank for the success of this program?

My two right hand staff members Grant Titus and Brandon Hills. These two are the best around and they put in the extra effort to make sure the residents are happy with the program. Lastly, Gian Laure for his support.



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Number of kids who play organized sports each year: 35 Million
Percent of kids who play sports outside of school: 60%
Percent of boys who play organized sports: 66%
Percent of girls who play organized sports: 52%
Percent of coaches who are dads coaching their own kids: 85%
Percent of corporation executives who played sports: 73%

Source: Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, Athletic Footwear Association, USA Today Survey, Michigan State
Date Verified: Sept. 10, 2013

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Full Name: Steve Herrera
Age: 35
Community/Neighborhood Residence: North Carlsbad
Professional/Occupation Information: Recreation Supervisor
Family Information: Two sisters; I am twin.
Hobbies/Interests: Traveling the world. I’ve been to many countries, and I love different cultures. I am heavily into sports, and I am a Lakers, Dodgers, and Steelers Fan.

Sports League Information

Name of Basketball League: City of Carlsbad Parks and Recreation
League Purpose/Mission: To create safe places to gather, healthy lifestyles, and fun
League Website:
League Phone Number: 760-434-2971