Basketball Freethrow Championship

Since 1972, councils have sponsored the Knights of Columbus International Free Throw Championship for boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14 (starting in the fraternal year 2013-2014)

The championship is set up to have the contestants compete within their own gender and age group. All competition starts at the local level. Winners move on to the district, regional, and state or provincial levels. From there, some make it to the international level for championship competition in their group.

To sponsor a competition, all your council needs is the Free Throw Championship Kit (#FT-KIT), a couple of basketballs, a hoop and a bunch of kids. It is a great way to get out into the public and introduce the Order to your community — while providing youths with a rewarding activity that yields a chance for local, state or provincial, and international recognition.

Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Penn., a former collegiate basketball player at Princeton University, is a strong supporter of the Free Throw Championship. He sees the focus and discipline required to achieve athletic excellence as being valuable in the faith formation and character development of young people. In addition, healthy competition helps young people to handle both good fortune and adversity with grace and dignity.

To view a short video of Bishop Barres discussing the virtues of both the Free Throw Championship and the Soccer Challenge, click here.

Action Steps

Start planning now to get your free throw contest off to a running start.

The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship program is a great way to provide entertainment and enjoyment for the young people in your community. To start planning, there are steps that you should keep in mind:

  1. Order the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship Kit (#FT-KIT) using this order form. You can also use the order form in the Council Report Forms Booklet (#1436), or call the Department of Fraternal Mission at 203-752-4270.
  2. Schedule a date and location for the event. Contact schools, community centers and youth centers to reserve a basketball court. January is recommended for council competitions, February for district competitions, and March/April for regional and state championships.
  3. Sign ‘em up! Your Free Throw Championship Kit contains posters announcing the contest. Obtain permission to display them in schools, youth and community centers, and church vestibules. Make sure that entry forms/score sheets (#1598) are also available at these locations. Preregister contestants whenever possible.
  4. Enlist help from schools. Ask school superintendents, principals and athletic directors to promote your championship.
  5. See if schools will hold preliminary competitions as part of their intramural or physical education programs. High school athletes should be reminded to check with their state high school athletic association about possible eligibility conflicts. Don’t forget to contact and invite the recreational and youth basketball programs in your community.
  6. Build public interest. Use the sample press release in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship Rules, Regulations, Tips and Information Guide (#1928) to announce your championship. Retype the release on council letterhead, giving the details of your championship. Deliver or send it, along with clip art logos, to the editors of both local news and sports sections.
  7. After the competition, be sure to send out a press release announcing the winners. When sending press releases to radio or television stations always use the program’s official name: “Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship.”
  8. Be sure to send in the  Participation Report Form (FT-1). This form provides the Supreme Council with informational statistics, which enables the contest to continue to be a success.