Gallery: DiSE Progression Camp 2024

Last week (15 February) saw the first ever DiSE Progression Camp take place at the University of Loughborough, bringing together nearly 300 DiSE athletes from across the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL) and the Women’s Elite Academy Basketball League (WEABL) programmes.

The day comprised of an array of micro-teaching sessions and coaching workshops to engage and stimulate the athletes as they think about their future academic, professional and basketball careers.

“The focus was on progression,” said Basketball England’s Talent Programme and Pathway Manager Sam Messam.

“Whether it’s from first year to second, or from second year to the next destination, the theme throughout the camp was an opportunity to explore what’s on offer.”

Resilient spirit

Widely respected Leicester Riders’ guard Conner Washington, who has 14 pieces of silverware to his name, opened the camp with a heartfelt talk on his journey in basketball, telling the athletes that they will need a 'resilient spirit' to achieve their goals.  

“The main thing that propelled me into basketball was losing my mum when I was 10 years old," said the 31 year-old. 

"That was a massive changing point in my life, and I say that because obviously, you're young, you have your whole lives ahead of you. But there might be some things that happen that will take you off the path of where you want to be. I used [what happened] as a momentum boost to think maybe one day, I was going to do something with my life.”

Offensive and defensive progressions

Delegates were then split into groups to attend offensive and defensive workshops led by GB Youth team coaching staff, including GB U18 Head Coach Alan Keane and Newcastle Eagles U16 Girls Head Coach Marina Fernandez.

DiSE coaches were also in attendance with their own schedule, including sessions on a league and competitions review and GB Youth Team discussions with GB Basketball Performance Director Fiona Pimblett.

Debunking nutrition misinformation

Additional workshops included performance profiling with BE's Strength & Conditioning lead Mark Williams and academic research study into attrition in youth basketball athletes, ie why players leave the game and how they can be retained.

Team England 3x3 Commonwealth Games' nutritionist, Dr Tilly Spurr, also hosted seminars to athletes debunking misinformation about protein intake and injury nutrition.

“There has been some misinformation within basketball. Everybody's very keen on protein, and I'm trying to explain how having the right amount of protein, but having poor intake of other things can really affect performance," said Spurr, who is a senior lecturer at University of Chichester.

“Either you're going to put on weight if you're eating lots of protein, and you're having enough carbohydrate for performance, or if you're not putting on weight, or you're under eating, then your performance is going to be really affected.

“One of the big roles of a nutritionist is stopping the athletes getting injured or ill, and also allowing them to recover properly from an injury.

“A lot of of players believe that the minute they're injured they shouldn't eat anything, because they're not doing any activity. Whereas actually, you almost need to be eating the right things and in the right volume. Usually, often more if you're on crutches, because you can be doing more physical activity than when you were training.”

City of Birmingham Rockets pro and Royal Marine Commando Jordan Dawes was there to give a presentation on how the Royal Navy or the other armed forces could help DiSE athletes with their basketball aspirations, whilst in a full-time vocation.

A player's perspective

Nottingham Wildcats player Sammy Mullock welcomed the opportunity to talk to other players from across the DiSE institutions at the camp.

“There’s been a lot of opportunities to get involved in basketball and also see other perspective across the [DiSE Programme], talking to other players and see how they work in their clubs offensively, defensively compare and learn different ways of how people play.”

View photographs from the inaugural camp below.