200 Basketball Coaches Trained in One Year as Basketball Participation Surges in NZ

200 Basketball Coaches Trained in One Year as Basketball Participation Surges in NZ
Basketball is the fastest growing sport in New Zealand amongst the top 10 sports for participation. Along with this growth, there has been an increased demand for quality training for coaches.

Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive, Iain Potter, says with this surge in participation comes pressure for more coaches. “This was partly the reason Basketball New Zealand worked closely with Sport New Zealand to develop its Coach Development Programme, which has a range of courses dedicated to teaching coaches how to coach. 

“The programme consists of four levels that address the different stages of coaching, to help us develop more coaches so there are more opportunities for anyone who wants to play. The stages run from grassroots courses, right through to high performance coaching,” says Potter.

The four stages of the Coach Development Programme are:

Kiwi Hoops Coach. For coaches of primary school age players (ages 5 to 13) in schools, clubs and associations. 
Community Coach. For coaches of secondary school players (ages 13 to 18) and adult players in clubs and associations. 
Performance Coach. For coaches of representative regional teams (ages 13 to 19). 
High Performance Coach. This level is for coaches of (and those aspiring to coach) national talent programme and national team players. 

Delivery and Uptake

Local basketball associations deliver Kiwi Hoops and Community Coach courses using Basketball New Zealand Accredited Trainers.

Potter says that the programme has just completed its first stage, with the Kiwi Hoops and community courses being rolled out into regional basketball associations at the start of 2015. By the end of last year, 200 people had completed the first stage of training.

“The Kiwi Hoops Coach course focuses on people who want to coach children aged 5 to 13. Through Kiwi Hoops they can work through a three-stage course to gain the basic skills and resources to provide a great experience for kids. 

“If anyone is planning to coach kids basketball, it’s so important for the kids’ experience of the game that coaches do this course to learn how to coach basketball properly, so they can teach them simply how to play through best practice, while also knowing how to emphasise the enjoyment of it all, which is extremely important to keep the kids playing the game,” says Potter.

The course takes into account what kids really need to participate and enjoy the game. Potter says regional basketball associations administer the Kiwi Hoops course locally, and they try to ensure the course is welcoming, fun and works in with people’s busy lives. 

“The course doesn’t take long to do. It’s designed around the working week because most of the people who become coaches through this course have day jobs and are volunteers, for example they’re often parents who have volunteered to coach their kids’ teams,” says Potter.

The Growth of the Game

At secondary school level, basketball is one of ‘the big four’ secondary school sports for participation. Basketball counted 22,186 secondary school participants last year. The game has the highest growth rate of the major sports with 18% growth between 2012 and 2015, which is significantly higher than those sports that follow. Looking purely at the trend, basketball is projected to be the number one sport by 2020 with 29,690 participants. 

“With the growth of the game, the sport is under pressure to keep up with demand, and ensure the game is accessible and enjoyable. The regions are crying out for more funding to help them deliver the game to their communities. Demand is not an issue – we could double our tournaments if we had the resources because people really want to play more, but we can’t afford it. The game comes at a cost through staff, facilities and court hire, and it relies heavily on volunteers, coaches, and referees. That said, I think we’re doing well to have so many people playing the sport, but the potential is huge, and the Kiwi Hoops programme will develop with time.”

Potter says to get involved with the Kiwi Hoops Coach Programme, people should contact their local association to register for the next course in their area.