growing the grassroots
Slam dunk Associated with urban culture and fast-paced entertainment, basketball is particularly popular with young people. CEO Stewart Kellett tells Steph Eaves how Basketball England is working to make the sport accessible to everyone What’s the unique appeal of the sport?
Basketball participation numbers have remained static
Basketball is a sport everyone can play informally.
over the last decade, but now we’re seeing an increase
In fact, most kids play it at home when they start
in our membership, with more people playing for fun,
to throw, catch and run with a ball. It’s a multi-
as well as seeking competitive opportunities. There
generational opportunity for fun, and we want to
was a rise from 30,000 to 33,000 over the last two
convert this simple part of a child’s physical literacy
seasons, and data for this season suggests another
into playing basketball as they get older. There are
rise for 2017/18 of 3,000 participants.
thousands of outdoor courts that are free to use.
This is great news for us, particularly as the majority
It’s a sport that has scoring action around every 20-24
of the growth is among young players.
seconds, so it’s never dull. It incorporates dimensions of music, fashion and celebrity interest. It’s got a unique
How are you growing the grassroots?
urban culture and reaches diverse communities.
We have a number of initiatives in place. Our most successful is the Satellite Clubs programme. This is
What’s the current level of participation?
funded by Sport England and we work with registered
The latest Sport England data shows 306,400 adults
clubs and deliverers to provide basketball training and
aged 16-plus play basketball at least twice a month.
playing opportunities at a time and venue convenient to
It’s the third most popular team sport in the country,
casual players. Maybe they can’t travel to a traditional
after football and cricket. And it’s even more popular
club training session or maybe club training isn’t what
among young people – one in four teenagers has played
they want – this gives them an opportunity to play
basketball at least once a month in the last year.
basketball in a welcoming, relaxed environment. As part of our Satellite Clubs provision, we’re one of the leading governing bodies making our game accessible to young people with disabilities. Over 680 players with a disability accessed the programme in 2016/17 across 38 sites in England. The best part is that with all the sessions, the Satellite Club programme offers another avenue for clubs to increase their participation base.
How are you getting more young people involved in the sport? We run a youth participation competition in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) called the Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues. We currently run four leagues – Manchester and Birmingham and two in Elite Academy Basketball League is the premier junior competition in the UK
Issue 2 2018
London: a co-ed and a female-only league. There are 30 schools in each league at Year 7 age (11-12-year-olds) and each school is ‘drafted’ to one of