Aaron Hall used the MOJO app to help launch a girls-only basketball league — and to change coaching at the YMCA for the better
| 3 min read
The all-girl basketball team from YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, Central
In the spring of 2021, Aaron Hall, the newly appointed regional youth sports director of YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Central, wanted to do something different for basketball in his region. He wanted to give the girls their own league.
The YMCA’s youth basketball league in Los Angeles — which is supported by the Jr. Clippers — plays five seasons a year, and had, until then, been co-ed.
“Our biggest program is basketball,” Hall explains. “We wanted to see the girls flourish with other girls, instead of keeping up with the boys.”
And to do so, it meant Hall himself would coach a dozen 8- and 9-year-olds from the Collins and Katz YMCA in West Los Angeles
Hall had coached before, so experience wasn’t the issue.
His issue was time.
The first all-girl practice took place after a long day in the office, which meant Hall showed up to the gym with only minutes to spare.
“I thought, What am I gonna do with these girls?” he laughs. Then he remembered the MOJO app, which the district vice president of YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, Aaron Donahue, had shown him weeks earlier.
“He said it was idiot-proof,” says Hall. “When I opened it up, he was right.”
Practice went well — and Hall was hooked.
“Now, I do all my practices off MOJO,” he says.
The following season, Hall brought MOJO up with his regional coaches.
“I encouraged them to download it, not just for practice plans but also for team communication,” he says. “It’s much easier for them. Instead of a bunch of texts and emails, the whole team is right there. One message and everyone gets it.”
And at the next coaches meeting, Hall plans to make MOJO mandatory, right alongside LiveScan and child abuse prevention.
“That’s the best thing about doing my job and coaching,” says Hall. “I see our programs from the bird’s eye view and then I get to go see the ground view and see how it’s working, or how it’s not, on the court.”
Hall sees MOJO as a way to level up the game — and coaching — for the recreational basketball players who can’t afford a travel team, who don’t have a school team or who don’t make the school team.
“Out of maybe 2,000 or 3,000 kids in a school, you’re telling me only the 12 people on the team like basketball? Organized basketball — that’s what we do at the YMCA,” he says.
Now in his sixth season coaching girls, Hall see’s them improving — in more ways than one.
“My main thing is helping the YMCA develop our girls, not just physically but also emotionally,” he says. “Some of the games we do from MOJO teach teamwork and communication. These are skills that last long beyond basketball. And what I appreciate about this tool is being able to pass that on to our girls.”