'We're so excited to get back on court' - Clubs gearing up for outdoor basketball

Players up and down the country can now grab a ball and hit their local outdoor courts for a long overdue basketball fix.

The clocks have changed, the days are getting longer, and now organised sessions of up to 30 people can take place outside.

Member clubs across the land have wasted little time in safely offering participation opportunities for their members, with scrimmages, skill sessions, camps and more all on offer in the coming weeks.

“As a club we are all so excited to get our guys back on court, safely that is!” said Storm Basketball Club’s Daniel Hildreth.

“Basketball dominates the lives of so many of us, so we need to fill that void and I know we will be back bigger and better than we were before.”

Outdoor basketball is back! (Storm Basketball)

New opportunities

The Sussex-based programme has decided to run small group outdoor fundamentals sessions over the coming weeks, to slowly re-engage young players. The sessions will also be in team ‘bubbles’ to prevent any potential COVID issues across the wider club.

“We do intend to start all teams back after the Easter break as we feel it is paramount that these young athletes get the opportunity to practice and play together as a team rather than just writing off the year altogether."

It’s a sentiment shared by Derby Trailblazers head coach Matt Shaw, with the Midlands side focusing on getting everyone back involved with basketball as quickly as possible.

“It’s going to be great to see players on court again,” said Shaw, who’s club runs a several senior and junior teams.

“Everyone has missed playing, coaching and just being involved in the sport we love. I think when the youngsters finally get to play some games, we will feel things are a bit more normal but for now, the chance to at least practice is very exciting.”

The easing of lockdown measures also presents further opportunities, with Derby and many others planning sessions to attract new players to the sport.

“We’re getting ready for a big eight-week project to get more girls into or back into basketball,” said Shaw.

“These will be free sessions including free t-shirts and other giveaways, and we’re really hoping this will capture the attention of local girls and help build on the excellent work our coaches have done over the last five years developing a strong female presence from top to bottom within the club.” 

Safety focus

The ongoing lockdown measures haven’t just impacted clubs of course, but the players that populate them. With basketball providing a social outlet as much as a physical one, it’s something that simply can’t be replaced.

“Lockdown has been extremely tough, what with the inability to play basketball and perform effective workouts at home,” said Hasib Roshad, an U18 player for HTS Storm.

“I’m extremely thankful to be able to get back into the gym at Holy Trinity School where we play and get back to work resuming my growth as a player.

“I’m counting down the days for when we can get back onto the court and compete again.”

Getting back on court is one thing but doing so safely is another. As always, clubs are quick to stress that player safety will always be the most important factor.

“We’re of course aware that a lot of our members haven’t touched a basketball in months,” added Shaw.

“The coaches will be ensuring it’s not too much too soon. Sessions are likely to be 90 minutes rather than the usual two hours to start with.”

Hildreth stressed a similar message: “As a club, we’ll continue to follow the strict screening procedures.

“The last thing we want is to have to shut down a team now, after we finally get a chance to play again. The safety of our players and community is of utmost importance.”

Derby's Matt Shaw (Luke Simcock)

With lockdown measures finally easing, if you want to get back involved with basketball, the time is now.

There’s a court finder on our website that can help you find a local place to play, just click the button below.

If you’re looking for a great way to enjoy basketball outdoors, why not try 3x3? There’s a reason the smaller format is the number one urban team sport in the world.

Finally, if you do want to pick up a ball and get back to playing, we have lots of information and resources on doing it safely through our Return to Play guidance.



Main image credit - Storm Basketball