Skip To Main Content

After School Athletics

The Oak Knoll Elementary School PTO is proud to offer an exciting sports program for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade otters. 

Girls volleyball is available for 4th and 5th graders in the early fall (mid September through mid November), and girls and boys basketball is available for for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the winter (mid November through early March).

Practices are held at the Oak Knoll campus, and games are played weekly at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium at Burgess against teams from other local schools.

Please check the sport-specific pages for more information. Registration updates will be announced on KNOL and in the Otter Weekly newsletter as we get closer to the start of each season.

We Need Volunteers!

Our otters need coaches! No experience necessary; volunteers will be provided with materials and guidance for managing practices and games. Please review the program goals below to see if your interested in volunteering, please email Ward Bullard with any questions.

*This information is current as of September 27, 2023 


Program Goals

  • Fun: Our success should not be measured solely by wins and losses, but rather by the enjoyment of players, coaches and parents.
  • Positive and supportive introduction to organized sports: Our parent coaches are the single most important factor in shaping that experience.
  • New friendships: It’s fantastic when our otters form positive relationships with teammates who may be outside their circle of friends.
  • Oak Knoll Community Spirit: We want our teams to support one another, rooting for one another at games and other community building activities. We encourage grade level “Jamborees”. We encourage our coaches to support each other, share best practices, and see themselves as a “grade-level” team.

Learning Goals

  • The value of hard work and playing hard
  • The fundamental skills of the sport
  • The responsibilities of being on a team: coming to practices, cheering on teammates, sharing playing time
  • Good sportsmanship and respect for teammates, coaches, referees, and opponents


Equal Playing Time Policy
We work hard to ensure that the goal of winning does not supersede the essential goals of our program. That result would be unacceptable to the Oak Knoll community. We want our teams to be competitive and our children to experience success, but  not at the cost of our long-term developmental goals. 3rd and 4th grade is a time to have the opportunity to learn all aspects of the game and to develop the broadest possible set of fundamental skills. “Select” teams and “the best five” play are perfectly fine strategies for older athletes, not for eight and nine year olds. At 5th grade we begin the transition to more competitive contests. To that effect, the Oak Knoll Playing Time Rules are as follows:
Teams should be selected so that they are balanced and equal in ability.
Coaches should strive for equal playing time for 3rd and 4th grade players who have comparable practice attendance records. At the fifth grade level, players who have attended practice should play a minimum of 12 minutes.
All players should be encouraged to be active when in the game (i.e., in basketball, on offense, coaches should not tell their teams to have only the best players handle the ball; on defense, man-to-man defense is a great way to get every player involved).
Each child should have the opportunity to try every position. Coaches should not pigeonhole players (i.e., taller players should not be told to just wait under the basket; the team's best ball handler should not always be the point guard). In basketball, developing "positionless players" on offense (i.e., giving players a chance to learn and play every position) and playing man-to-man defense are great ways to help young children learn the fundamentals. The rate and timing of children's growth and physical development varies dramatically, and a person's fully developed size, speed, and coordination are unpredictable; coaches should not constrain a child's future prospects in a sport by optimizing for their third or fourth grade win-loss record.

"No Trophy" Policy

The Oak Knoll Volleyball and Basketball teams play in the Menlo Park Recreation (Burgess) League competing against other area schools. Starting at the fifth grade level for basketball teams, Burgess has playoff competitions and provides t-shirts to the winning teams. At the lower grades (3rd & 4th grades) for basketball and for 4th/5th grade volleyball, there are no playoffs.

The After School Sports program will not give trophies for participating in the program. Likewise, the coaches are not permitted to give trophies. We want consistency among the teams and it would be unfair for some teams to give trophies simply for participating. From a developmental perspective, we want to help the students learn that they may play their best and try their hardest, and their coaches may recognize their efforts, but they will not receive an award for simply participating.

Ward Bullard, Bjorn Carey, Ryan Padrez
Oak Knoll After School Athletics Committee, 2023-2024