The 2017 Upward Academy has come to a close. Please check back with us in early summer 2018 for information about our 2018 Fall Academy.



What Is Upward Academy?

One of the biggest needs in today’s youth basketball culture is for an environment that focuses on skill development and training in fundamentals.  There’s a reason Europe churns out such skilled basketball players – they grow up being drilled and drilled in important facets of the game. In 2013 FBCW was one of a select few churches nationwide to first partner with Upward Sports in developing and implementing Upward Academy, and we are currently the ONLY church in the St. Louis region offering an Upward Stars Academy experience.

Upward Stars Academy is an intensive six-week Developmental Program offered through the Upward Stars, the Performance Division of Upward Sports, and is exclusively offered through mission-aligned leaders and church partners.  Running for six weeks, the Upward Stars Fall Academy will significantly help young basketball players improve their individual skill set, understand the game at a more complex level, and be better prepared for their next season of league competition.

The Upward Stars Fall Academy is led by experienced coaches to prepare players for the next level, including the school team, a travel/select team or their Upward recreational team.  Through their participation in Upward Stars Academy, athletes will experience the 360 Progression, a uniquely designed sports experience that focuses on developing the total athlete mentally, athletically, spiritually and socially.  This is accomplished by being challenged to improve on and off the court, participating in character lessons and service projects, and a variety of other team events.  It’s our goal through Upward Academy to instill our athletes with more complex teaching on not only the sport of basketball, but also on the importance of living a Christ-centered life and what that looks like in their interaction with others.

In 2017, we’re proud to have Doug Smith as the Master Coach for Upward Stars Academy.  Doug is a married father of three children and has been coaching basketball at some level (from high school varsity all the way to kindergarten) since 1993.  A public school educator since 1995, he currently serves as the principal of Wright City Middle School.  Doug enjoys sharing his lifelong love of the game with kids of all age ranges and abilities.  As a high school basketball coach, Doug led his teams to multiple district and conference championships, coached multiple all-state players, and has organized and led multiple camps and clinics.  Doug also coached three different high school AAU teams that made the national AAU tournament.  In 1997, Doug’s AAU team finished as a top 12 in AAU Nationals.  Doug is a member and elder at River Oaks Church in Wentzville and has coached multiple Upward teams in the past and is committed to the success of the Academy.  


Selection Process

  • Registration is online only.
  • 4th-5th grade (co-ed) is limited to the first 30 registrations.
  • 6th-8th grade (male & female) is limited to the first 15 registrations for each gender.

Practice Format

  • Academy athletes will receive hands-on, intensive instruction through twelve 90-minute practices on Tuesday & Thursday nights
    • Tuesday Nights:
      • 6th-8th grade from 6:00-7:30pm
      • 4th-5th grade from 7:30-9:00pm
    • Thursday Nights:
      • 4th-5th grade from 6:00-7:30pm
      • 6th-8th grade 7:30-9:00pm
    • Upward Stars Academy starts August 22.
    • All practices will be held in the gym at Wentzville United Methodist Church, 725 Wall Street, across from FBCW.
    • For 6th-8th grade, we will split up male and female during sessions.

Important Additional Information

  • The cost to register is $160 and includes two performance t-shirts (one short sleeve and one long sleeve), a pair of performance socks and a water bottle.

The 2017 Upward Academy has come to a close. Please check back with us in early summer 2018 for information about our 2018 Fall Academy.

To learn more about Upward Academy and the 360 Progression, visit