Many of Edinburgh’s young basketball enthusiasts are hoping regular sessions with Basketball Scotland’s ‘Future Starz’ initiative will prepare them to the best of their ability as they dream of representing the blue and white of the national team.
The sport’s national governing body launched this new regime last autumn, replacing a similar programme that aided the development of the country’s aspiring basketball stars. With a skills-based programme utilising a combination of British, European and North American style of play, the 200 national participants enrolled on the programme to date are being exposed to the very best in the business.
Louise White, programme logistics co-ordinator for Basketball Scotland, has been encouraged by the initial response to a curriculum which is geared towards providing player pathway to club and national development in Scotland.
She said: “It started in October and replaced the Talent Development Programme. The classes in Edinburgh are one of our most attended. We have an Edinburgh West group but the Edinburgh East section also covers the Borders.
“The kids seem to be really enjoying it so far, learning new skills and progressing due to regular sessions.”
The fortunate individuals chosen for the Edinburgh regions have the first weekend in March as their primary target and the national camp trials – an event that will merge the five alternative regional groups with the Capital kids. This final session will ultimately define selections for the national squads for those aged between 11 and 14 and, furthermore, provide an opportunity for a place within the national leagues setup.
“We were looking for kids who had an interest in basketball, having a height advantage and with a desire to represent Scotland. We made it quite a broad base in terms of what we were looking for but we want to uncover some raw talent and help some of the kids who are attending our sessions into proper clubs. We have under-11 through to under-14 age groups for both boys and girls and there is certainly a lot of potential being shown.
“We have high hopes for a lot of them. We want a high percentage of the kids coming through Future Starz to be playing for Scotland.”
The governing body was also adamant that only the most outstanding coaches would be called upon to lead the course programme and the pursuit of some of the game’s top coaches within this country looks on is on course to deliver the results desired.
Louise White added: “It’s a relaxed and fun environment to learn but they are still being exposed. Some of the coaches involved in the programme are head coaches of national squads as well so they are well educated and learning from the very best.”
The training programme works in collaboration with the Active Schools network which provides recommendations of players who have shown potential on the court.
Recent figures released from Sportscotland have also revealed that basketball has been identified as the fastest growing sport in the Capital and the Lothians with participation rates excelling.
Regional manager for Basketball Scotland, Chris Dodds, believes the sport will continue to prosper. “Basketball is now in the top three in terms of team sports being played, particularly with boys at secondary school.
“I believe it is within the top seven in team sports for girls as well, so the statistics we’re getting back from the Active Schools network is that basketball is not only very strong, its popularity continues to rise.”
For any further information regarding the Future Starz programme, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .