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2024 Tryout Information and Parent Interest Video.

2024 Tryout Information and Parent Interest Video

The Winston-Salem Stealers will field teams at the following grade levels in 2024:

  • 1st-3rd/4th
  • 5th
  • 6th
  • 7th
  • 8th
  • 9th
  • 10th
  • 11th/12th

Registration for the 2024 Season can be found here:

Tryouts will be held at The Maddawg Center located at 900 East Mountain Street, Building E, Kernersville, NC 27284 (Look under “Teach The Game on Google Maps).

Tryouts for the 1st-4th grade team(s) will be held: Sunday, February 4th from 2:30-4:00 and then again on Wednesday, February 7th from 5:00-6:15.

Tryouts for the 5th-6th grade team(s) will be held on Sunday, February 11th from 1:00-2:30 and then again on Thursday, February 15th 5:15-6:30.

Tryouts for the 7th-11th/12th grade team(s) will be held: Monday, March 18th – Wednesday, March 20th from 6:30-7:45 for the 7th-8th grades and 7:45-9;00 for the 9th-11th grades.

Coach Trish Grant’s 6th/7th Grade National Travel Team Information:

  • Tryouts will be held on Sunday, February 25th from 1:00-2:30 at The Maddawg Center.
  • 7th grade-and-below can tryout. The team will be comprised of mostly 6th and 7th graders if not all.
  • The team’s practice and tournament schedule will be set around Coach Grant’s work schedule.
  • The will be a team in the Winston-Salem Stealers program meaning that if your daughter makes this team, this will be her team for the season.  She won’t play on another 6th or 7th grade team and then Coach Grant’s team as well.  
  • Coach Grant will determine the criteria for making her team once she evaluates the players.  
  • Coach Grant will determine the roster number for her team as well.


2024 Parent Interest Video and Associated Meeting Notes



The 2024 Parent Interest Video can be found here:

The purpose of the parent video is to provide those interested in playing with The Winston-Salem Stealers this season, information on how our program works.   During past seasons we held in-person parent meetings on a Saturday in January however due to morning basketball games and / or scheduling conflicts folks would miss the meeting.  Missing the meeting would cause parents to not receive information pertinent to the upcoming season and thus when a situation occurred during the year which was covered in the meeting the parent didn’t know how to handle things properly.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide as you watch the video. Please note that not all of the information below is posted on the video and vice-versa.

Welcome To The Winston-Salem Stealers:

Program Mission Statement from 1996: Our program mission statement: The Winston-Salem Stealers A.A.U. Girls Basketball Program has an annual goal of trying to provide a developmental atmosphere inside of a competitive environment in hopes of teaching young female players positive life skills that they can take with them long after their playing days are over.



The Winston-Salem Stealers were founded by Brian Robinson (aka Coach R) on September 9, 1996.  In 1995, Coach R was an assistant varsity and head ninth grade boys basketball coach at his Alma Mater R.J. Reynolds HS in Winston-Salem working the Demon Top Ten Camp when he met a rising ninth grader named Nell Pollard (now Johnson). Nell was one of only three girls at the camp and asked Coach R if he could help her become a better player so she could make the team at Reynolds.   The two talked and Coach R offered to start an AAU team if Nell could find nine other players.  To his surprise, Nell found enough players within a week and though the team lost often, sometimes by really wide margins, the foundation was being established.

The Stealers are still going strong twenty-eight years later and have not changed their philosophy:  Helping girls get better for their school teams.  If they play basketball beyond that, even better as they carry the Stealers name with them to that next setting, but as long as they learn, have fun and make new friends in this program while improving as a player here and then can go on to become productive people in society after basketball is done the time put into each person was well worth it.

You can read more about the beginning of The Winston-Salem Stealers philosophy here:


Contacting Coach Robinson:

Email is the best. Use or to reach him.   Phone calls are NOT the best way to contact him. Coach Robinson tries not to respond to direct messaging on “X” (Twitter”) or Facebook Messenger.  There are too many fake accounts and scams on those platforms so he avoids responding to questions through those methods.

Pre-Tryout Workouts:

We will only hold Pre-Tryout Workouts at the end of February or early March once school ball seasons are winding down. No player who is still in their school ball season can attend a Pre-Tryout Workout.   We do not want a player to get injured in one of our workouts while still in school ball and then end up not being able to play for their school team.  


We don’t cut players.  If a girl really wants to play we will find a place for them to play. We used to cut when we first started due to space issues.  We would practice wherever we could and were at the mercy of school schedules, YMCA and YWCA schedules and recreational centers schedules.  That meant we had to limit the number of teams we could field in any given year.   We also used to hold practices in Yadkin, Davie, Stokes, and Davidson Counties in addition to Forsyth County.   

Now that we have our own dedicated space at The Maddawg Center, we can field as many teams as needed and not having cuts allows us to place girls where they can be their best and grow.  We are not a one size fits all program meaning you can be a beginner, a skilled player or someone in the middle and we will have a team to fit you.

We typically don’t want to place “friends” together unless their skill level compliments the team makeup.  The same goes for school teammates.    This is not a school program, this is a club program.   

FAQs on Tryouts:

Can you place players together for carpool purposes?   Sometimes, again, if there is a team fit.  If anything, maybe if the players asked about for carpool purposes can practice at the same time on two different teams that would be the better solution if the skill level is different.

Can my daughter play up?  Yes, but see the video for the requirements from our program on that request.

Practice Schedules:

The regular practice schedule typically kicks in near the end of March.   We wait until the high school season is done (March 16th) before starting the regular practice schedule.  

From February – middle of March, the 1st-6th grade teams will practice 1-2 times a week for an hour and fifteen or an hour and thirty minutes.   The practice schedule will be worked around my schedule.  

Once we get to the middle / end of March, the teams will practice twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes with the younger teams starting around 5:15 and going until 6:30. Then the older teams follow from 6:30-7:45 and 7:45-9:00.

FAQs on Practices:

What if my daughter has a school activity and it conflicts with Stealers’ practice?    Your daughter needs to make the school activity the priority.  Do not skip school athletic events for Stealers practices.  It is her responsibility to keep up with what her Stealers team is doing / learning so that she can play and help the team when they play.   

Do you have a program playbook or draw the plays up for the girls to learn? No. The reasons are on the parent interest video.

What about playing another club sport?   We encourage kids, especially younger ones, to pay as many sports as they can handle.    When missing our practice for another club sport (non-school sport) you have to make that decision.  Again, remember, it is her responsibility to keep up with what we are doing as we are trying to help our teams be successful in their tournaments. Playing multiple sports growing up is a great thing and we support it.


Team Parents:

Team parents handle communication FROM the coaches / director TO the parents on the team.   Team parents DO NOT handle each individual set of parent’s concerns or issues and ARE NOT to send messages from each individual parent to the coach / director.  If a parent / guardian has a concern / issue with something (playing time, starting spots, coaching decisions, etc…) they are to go to the coach / director with that by email.   

The team parent’s job is to send our program emails, tournament information and any changes to practices or games to the team members.

The team parent DOES NOT have the answers to your concerns / issues so be respectful of them and do not pile your problems on them.


Coach R and USA Basketball:

Please use this link:  as well as watch the parent interest video.

Tournaments / 24 Hour Rule:

Please see the parent interest video on tournament information and the 24 hour rule.   The 24 hour rule concerns talking to coaches at tournaments following games.

As far as tournament schedules go, I’ll try my best to get that posted in as far advance as possible but just know that some tournaments get cancelled due to a lack of teams or available gyms. Those cancellations are out of our control.  The same goes for gate prices, game times and opponents.

Ways To Improve:

We offer individual skills, group skills and camps throughout the year.   

We try to teach skills that will carryover to the system we are teaching so that the girls can apply them to their team practices and games.

Just know that the overall goals of skills are to get players better.   This isn’t microwave basketball. It takes time, lots of time and lots of patience.   If you sign up for a skills program and expect to see immediate results you are going to be disappointed.   Basketball doesn’t work that way.   However, the earlier you get started, the quicker the improvement comes and the chances of getting better at an early age increases.

Just understand that with Coach Robinson, he will get in as many skills as possible during each day and week. However with multiple other responsibilities getting on a regular schedule for skills with him is not realistic.   He will get you in though as many times as he can per month / year.

Fundamentals are vital towards building each player’s foundation.  Whatever they are lacking in height, speed or skill can be made up by playing the correct way through fundamentals.   We do offer programs and encourage players to play off their instincts because that is an important part of the game, but trying to make the correct play vs. making the flashy play could be the difference in being successful or not.  There is a time and place for both.

The Garden:

The Winston-Salem Stealers have offered 1st-4th grade teams since 1998. 




The goal is to help beginners build a solid foundation at a young age and then continue to provide ways for them to improve as they get older.  Not all stay, but not all leave.   The ones who have stayed have learned the value of patience and are truly Stealers For Life.







Circuit / Shoe Company:

The Stealers are not part of a traveling team circuit or shoe company sponsorship.  The Stealers have been an independent program for the past twenty-seven years and will remain as such in 2024.   What we have done works without the help of an outside entity.

Playing In College / 292 Program:

To learn more about the 292 program, please visit: .

Also, watch the parent interest video on how to best help your daughter reach that goal.


Be Careful Of The “Groupthink”:

 Try to make your decisions on what is best for your daughter within the framework of the team.  Sometimes decisions are best for the team and sometimes decisions are best for your daughter.   Don’t fall into the groupthink trap where you go along with the group when the decision has nothing to do with your daughter and their future.  You’ll know the difference when it presents itself.

Social Media Accounts:

Our soclal media accounts are:

Facebook: Teach TheGame  and The Maddawg Center

Instagram: teach_the_game

“X” (Twitter):  @wsstealers  ,  @StealersWs  ,  @Teach_The_Game  ,  @CRCWSNC  , @StealersTown


For information on what we will and won’t do on our social media accounts, please watch the parent interest video.

For more information on Coach R’s relationship with college coaches, please visit here:  and here: .

Program Rules and Policies:

The Winston-Salem Stealers Program Rules and Policies page can be found here: .

The main rule in the program which has been in existence since 2001 is if you leave the program to go play for another program you CANNOT RETURN to the Winston-Salem Stealers.   The reasons for the rule are discussed in the parent interest video.

Typically between November -January a new team pops up in the area with all of the bells and whistles making all sorts of promises to players, many times targeting current Stealers players.    The amount of “new” teams that have come about around the area in our twenty-seven years can’t be numbered but the lifespan of those “new” teams typically is not long.   Why such a short lifespan for “new” teams?  That can traced to the foundation that the “new” team is being built on.   

Read this post on Coach Robinson’s LinkedIn account titled: Gardens:  as well as Coach R’s discussion about the Gardens on the parent interest video. 

Stealers For Life Program:

Please read the Stealers For Life Program information here:  and watch the Parent Information Video.

Uniform Contract / Medical Release Forms:

You will receive both forms via email prior to tryouts.  You will need to turn both forms in before the start of the season.

Please wash the uniforms in cold water.

Stealers Merchandise:

Contact Brittney Wall at


There will be another video posted concerning the additional opportunities offers including Teach The Game and CRC.   Please be on the lookout for that post.  

The Winston-Salem Stealers thank you for watching the video and reading this page.  Coach Robinson encourages you to browse through the different pages as, yes, there is a lot of information.  Almost thirty years of basketball experiences can be found here.   Coach Robinson encourages you to read “Straight From The Parent’s Mouth” as former parents share their experiences from being part of the Stealers program.

We hope that if you are part of The Winston-Salem Stealers in 2024 that this page and video have been helpful and will lead to a successful and enjoyable season!