Basketball England launches world-class Talent System & Pathway to fulfil the sport’s potential on a nationwide scale

Basketball England has today unveiled promising plans to implement a world-class Talent System & Pathway that will better identify and nurture the potential of all stakeholders in the sport at every age and stage.

Scheduled to run over the next three years (2018-2021) and utilising significant insight from the Basketball England’s Basketball Development Model (BDM), this fresh approach aims to ensure that players, volunteers and professionals develop in an inclusive and progressive pathway and fulfil the sport’s potential.

A great deal of insight and research has been used to create this new system, as well as looking at the existing service available, and the following aims are central to what has been created:

  • Clear and player-led, with transparent standards, targets and objectives
  • Centralised to create consistency and efficiency
  • Professionalised
  • Less about selection and deselection

It is hoped an athlete-centred culture and ethos will create a greater sense of ownership, confidence and self-management among those within the Talent System & Pathway, in turn allowing players to show an increased ability to perform in pressure situations.

“We’ve strategically put talent at the very heart of this System and Pathway as it’s that exact attribute that should be the fundamental cornerstone of any sports development programme,” said Basketball England’s Programme & Pathway Integration Manager Charlie Ford.

“The player-led and professionalised Talent System and Pathway are clear and transparent in terms of what they set out to achieve, with the over-arching objective undoubtedly being the development and production of male and female players that can consistently perform at the very highest level.”

Basketball England Board member Steve Bucknall, commented: “The launch of this support system is one of the latest exciting steps in the transformation of our game. The player-centric Talent Pathway programme will construct and sustain talented ballers up and down the country. The goal is to identify and develop talented players at an early age, providing them with a system which nurtures their skills."

“Through coaching guidance and participants’ hard work, dedication and natural talent, we will see individual and team performances improving at the elite level of basketball competitions in this country and abroad.”

The GB teams have managed to achieve some excellent results in recent years as English players continue to funnel consistently into the programme. The Under 18 and Under 20 men both retained their respective FIBA European Division A statuses this year after securing promotion in 2017, and four English players representing GB were selected to FIBA All-Tournament teams in 2017.

However, for these successes to translate into a lasting legacy over time, certain changes needed to be made. They include:

  • Implementing stronger project management
  • Finding more effective and efficient ways of delivering BE’s current programmes, including GB junior teams.
  • Providing more education, guidance and reference material to engage with – and support – club coaches
  • Prioritising the introduction of an advanced scouting, talent ID module/education and referral system.
  • Planning all future delivery and development programmes much further in advance.

The overriding aim is ultimately to see the best talent being selected, while also achieving consistency, cost efficiencies, equality and inclusivity as well as retaining & developing professional staff.

In line with this, there also needs to be a pronounced shift of emphasis away from a quota system to a threshold led approach, with the focus now on a basketball player’s skills and ability in line with a new ‘Player Development Framework’ which will be officially launched in late September.

That is a particularly important point among the 11+ age group as outlined in the Talent Pathway model seen below:

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From a pool of around 20,000 players at clubs and schools, those earmarked as suitable candidates through a new National Scouting, Talent Identification & Tracking Process will be invited to regularly attend a Regional Talent Hub (RTH) at an accredited and local/nearby university.

Those aged 11-15 will be incorporated into the Aspire Programme, while players between the ages of 16 and 19 will enter England Development Programmes (EDPs).

However, the model is designed so there is clear scope for certain players to be inserted at various points along the Pathway as they try to reach the England Talent Programmes and ultimately the GB teams.

There will be a far greater synergy with the clubs and schools networks throughout the entire Talent Pathway, with the eventual result of improving the applied practice and knowledge of those clubs and associated workforces being a significant uplift for the players among a pivotal age demographic.

“One of the real strengths of this new way of working will be the enhanced collaboration between different components across the entire Talent System and Pathway,” Ford added.

“Whether it’s the interaction between the Regional Talent Hubs and the various, different programmes (Aspire, England Development, England Talent & GB U16, U18, U20 & Seniors) along the Pathway or the exchange of information from clubs & schools through the National Scouting, Talent Identification and Tracking Programme that’s intrinsically inherent to the Talent System model, it should all be of great benefit to English basketball and the betterment of it over time.”

For further details on these outlined plans for the new Talent System & Pathway, click on the following links:


Basketball England are currently recruiting head coaches, assistant coaches and coordinators for the Aspire Programme. For further details, please visit our Careers page.