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Rookie Basketball Association Image

Rookie Basketball Association

The Salvation Army Rookie Basketball Association is a developmental youth basketball league for girls and boys, grades k-8, in Duluth, Minnesota.  Our focus is a holistic approach training the body, mind (attitude) and heart (effort). Through a fun sports experience foundational individual and team skills are developed to benefit youth in sport and in every day life. 

The league offers seasonal sessions, plus 3-on-3 player opportunities and clinics. For information on current league events view our most recent newsletter: Summer 2021.


COVID-19 2021



Taking into consideration district 709, local and state recommendations and requirements, as well as, parent/coach survey responses, Rookie Basketball Association (RBA) leadership is currently discussing, researching, and planning programming.

All updates will be posted on the RBA website, Facebook (DuluthSA), Twitter and Instagram (RBADuluth), and emailed to all of last year’s participants.

For the RBA Covid-19 Preparedness Plan, including answers to commonly asked Covid-19 programming questions, please click HERE.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time. 


Summer Programming

The WIN at RBA Summer Clinics is to create an environment that intentionally focuses on developing the WHOLE athlete- MIND - BODY - HEART. The RBA believes basketball offers a platform to develop not only great athletes but also great citizens, boys & girls of moral character who will become the change agents in the Duluth community, & at RBA Summer Clinics we are INTENTIONAL about leveraging that platform.

The clinics will focus on developing fundamentals as well as character qualities of integrity, teamwork, & excellence all through basketball.  Players will develop their individual skills through training exercises, contests, & games.  Players will also participate in small group discussions after lunch & during snack.  Clinics are facilitated by RBA staff, Kris Mallett and Joe Florestano.

Summer Clinic dates:

  • K1 grade: June 29-30
  • 2-3 grade: June 21-23 and/or July 12-14
  • 4-6 grade: July 6-8 and/or July 19-21

This summer a one day field trip for 2-6 graders will be offered to The Salvation Army's Northwoods camp for basketball, picnic lunch, and activities, including swimming in the 3 lane pool with 2 story water slide. This will be offered on Monday, June 28.  

Space is limited to all summer programing and will fill first come, first serve.  The registration deadline is June 3, however sessions during covid-19 have filled as early as 4 weeks in advance.

Registrations may be mailed or dropped off between 8:30am-4:00pm at the Duluth Salvation Army, 215 South 27 Avenue West, Duluth, Minnesota, 55806. 

Click HERE for the registration form.


We offer a winter basketball league for elementary & middle school-level boys and girls in grades K-8. This league runs November through mid-March and focuses on learning the fundamentals of basketball along with character qualities. Registration will open in late August, 2021. 


We offer a 3-on-3 spring basketball league for boys and girls in grades 3-6. This six-week league focuses on improving a youth player’s fundamentals. Games are on weeknights, with a tournament the last week. Registration will open in February 2022.

We offer summer basketball clinics for boys and girls in grades K-6. These clinics focus on developing basketball fundamentals, as well as character qualities of integrity, teamwork and excellence. Players will develop their individual and team skills through training drills, participating in individual contests, and playing in games.

Summer clinic registration will open in May 2021.

Scholarships are available for qualifying families (download a scholarship application). PLEASE NOTE: Your child will NOT be placed on a team until your full scholarship application, including proof of income and/or assistance, has been received, reviewed, and approved. Player placement is on a first come, first serve basis. Please sumbit your complete scholarship application early as the approval process can take up to 2 weeks. Families with more than one child participating will receive a discount for each additional child. For any questions, call 218-576-6174.

Practices for league sessions are held at the following locations:

  • The Salvation Army, 215 S. 27th Ave. W.
  • Congdon Elementary, 3116 E. Superior St.
  • Holy Rosary School, 2802 E. 4th St.
  • Homecroft Elementary, 4784 Howard Gnesen Road
  • Lakewood Elementary, 5207 N Tischer Road
  • Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. 3rd St.
  • Lowell Elementary, 200 Rice Lake Rd.
  • Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 N. Central Ave.
  • Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood St.
  • Myers Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N. 8th Ave. E.
  • Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Ave.
  • Stowe Elementary, 715 101st Ave. W.

All games are on Saturdays at either The Salvation Army, 215 S. 27th Ave. W., The Encounter, 201 E. 1st St., or Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. 3rd St.

If Duluth Public Schools are closed due to a holiday or inclement weather, practices or games will be canceled.

Coaches send players home with drills and skill work to practice at home. View player skill guide.

The Rookie Basketball program relies on volunteers to coach teams for each winter season. The time commitment varies from one to three hours per week. If you volunteered for this role last year, you do not need to fill out a new application. You can simply log in with your username and password and indicate your interest to return. Thank you!

Each volunteer will need to complete the following:

  • Online volunteer application, including references
  • Online background check, linked in the volunteer application
  • Attend Salvation Army Safe From Harm training, good for four years
  • Online concussion training, state mandated and one time (view training)
  • Attend coaches meeting and training, date to be determined

Apply now to coach for the 2020-2021 winter season.

View the Coaches Guide 2019-20 and official basketball signal chart. Our Rookie Basketball coaching resources may also be helpful.

2019-2020 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Larry Oleksa, pictured with his family

Larry Oleska

2018-2019 Dale Stocke Co-Coach of the Year

Julie Flotten, left, and Mia Thibodeau, right, with their team.

The coach of the 2018-2019 year, Julie Flotten, poses with her basketball team

© Lynnette’s Portrait Design 2019

2017-18 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Jill Doberstein, recipient, with members of her team.

The coach of the 2017-2018 year, Jill Doberstein, poses with her basketball team

2016-17 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Mayor Emily Larson, Steve Williams recipient, St. Scholastica Head Coach David Staniger

The coach of the 2016-2017 year, Steve Williams, poses with Mayor Emily Larsona and St. Scholastica David Staniger

Rookie Basketball lessons take place both on and off the court, with each parent’s involvement being key to the development of their child. The Rookie Basketball program has developed a Parent Guide, as well as the RBA Code of Conduct to help ensure the league is a positive learning and growing experience.

Curious what you’re missing out on? Miss seeing your Rookie in action? Check out the action in our Photo Gallery and view footage from our games and most recent practices below:

Season Highlights

These are the highlights for the past winter seasons. Watch to learn what our league is about and what a typical season is like.

From the Mayor

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson congratulates players on a season well done and talks about her own children’s experience in the league.

Parent Testimonial

End of Season Message: Minnesota Viking C.J. Ham

End of Season Message: Anders & Bjorn Broman

A number of basketball standouts partner with the program and practice with the kids, including the Bulldog men’s and women's basketball teams from UMD.

We also have a number of local businesses who support the program:

“Pro Team” Sponsors ($1,000+)

"Varsity Team" Sponsors ($300 - $999)

For more information about the Rookie Basketball Association, please contact Kris Mallett at Kristin.mallett@usc.salvationarmy.org or  218-576-6174.