Playing Pathway and Levels of Commitment

Anyone can play basketball. Well that’s what we like to think. From five to 55 and beyond you can have involvement in the sport; from school to recreational, nationally and beyond or even just you, a hoop and your own will power.

We know that life sometimes gets in the way and you might temporarily leave us and come back further down the line...or you might discover the appeal of us later on in years...(where have you been!?)

Below is an outline of the various stages and level and timelines players can play at, how this can work for each individual and most importantly improve and enjoy your basketball.

Age – an obvious one. Under 18s tend to play in their school age groups. A lot of the stages in our pathway are defined by age groups eg U13, U15, U17 etc and as they progress up the ages, their skills will develop as will their peers and they will access competition at a level appropriate to them, whether at school, club or on a regional or national programme. Older adolescents can access senior level of competition which is often great for their development as they mature at a quicker rate as a player.

So here’s how it usually goes...

Sampling years
Children start off by sampling basketball at school, social or club level and can be at any age. Usually because basketball is on most PE curriculums it is between ages 10-16. If they have an interest and talent for it, their experience will usually be more frequent.

Specialising years
In these years, players will usually lessen their involvement in other sports and concentrate on basketball. Typically between the ages of 13-17 players will train and play a number of time a week within a season. They will look to build their skills base, have frequent training sessions as they start to think about making themselves the best player they can be.

Investment years
If you’re through the specialising and still want more...want the highest level of skill, competition and more then this requires more time and effort. It’s the highest level of commitment needed to become the highest level player they can possibly achieve, playing nationally and internationally.

Quality coaching
We know it is vital for a player in the specialisation and investment stages to be supported by quality coaching. The Areas of Emphasis document ooutlines exactly the areas each player should be coached on and how to upskill themselves to get the best from the players.

To try and ensure this, each of our 10 regions has a Performance Coaching Coordinator who works with the clubs, coaches, regional staff and national performance staff. We appoint coaches specifically to work on our regional development and national programmes.
Top tip – training is not about volume. It is about quality. A quality learning environment with the highest level coaches focussing on individual players’ development is the most ideal environment. A player will go from training to learn the fundamental skills in the sampling years, right through to training to win at the highest level of investment years.

Like we said – anyone can play basketball. But the performance part of the game is estimated to be at least 10 years long for someone who is near expert (professional) and usually between the ages of 10-25. The most critical time to go through the training stages where you end up training to compete is between the ages of 12-18.