Girls' Training with ABA: The Grampian Girls' Basketball Initiative
The numbers of girls playing youth basketball in the North East of Scotland is shockingly small. Very few clubs are able to field girls teams in any age group - never mind every age group!
Therefore, Attack Basketball Academy recently took the initiative to invite representatives from other clubs to a meeting to determine what all the clubs can do collectively to attract girls to play basketball. If all the clubs work together, we will all benefit from this cross-club cooperation immensely.
At the meeting, we agreed that we need to build a community for female players where relationships within clubs, as well as across clubs, can be created. We need to create a fun and supportive environment that the girls look forward to playing within. We also agreed that it had to be something that happened on a weekly basis and in a central venue.
We are aiming to provide a weekly event at a central venue. This weekly event would be supported by all the clubs and ideally free for the girls to attend; if not free, then as minimal a cost as possible. We envisage it being for two hours, covering all age groups from U10s to U18s. It would incorporate both skill development and games.
These sessions would be open to all girls who want to play basketball: girls already affiliated with a club, girls who play at school, girls who are completely new to the sport. Clubs have agreed that players' existing club affiliations will be respected and that we are not competing to recruit girls. Rather, we will try to match a girl interested in playing club basketball with the club that has training sessions when she can attend, is in the right geographical area or is the best match in other respects.
This is about getting girls playing basketball so that eventually every club will be able to field girls teams in all age groups. Until that happens we have also agreed that we will work together to collectively field girls teams. If a club does not have sufficient girls to field a team, those girls could play with another club. An example of this is the U18s National League team being fielded by Attack Basketball Academy being opened to all U18 girls in Grampian or the U16 NDL team being comprised of Grampian girls from different clubs. We also hope that teams for RDLs might be generated from our weekly open training for all girls in addition to club teams.
This venture will be club neutral: any teams comprised of players attending these sessions at RDLs would Basketball Grampian teams - we've provisionally called them 'Grampian Girls'. This might even be the way forward for collective teams such as the U16s NDLs or U18s NL.
We are attempting to create a development opportunity for girls' basketball in the North East. This would also include a pathway to develop talented girls and enable them to play basketball at higher levels. Clubs with only a small number of female players, especially at older ages, cannot provide the opportunities to play at higher levels for talented players. Collectively, however, we can do this.