With the news that up to 30 people can now play outdoors as part of organised sessions, clubs across the country are taking the opportunity to get players back on court and playing the sport they love.
Northants Basketball Club are no different, and they’ve wasted little time in getting some much-anticipated activity lined up for their members.
A four-day camp began on Monday, with each day this week split into three sessions for five to nine, nine to 13 and 13–18-year-olds.
“The kids are going to be absolutely dying to get back and go full pelt,” said club secretary Karen Goodrich.
“Our coaches are really making sure that players are doing an appropriate level of activity to avoid problems with injury.”
Next week, the club will be hosting an open camp for anyone in the county to attend, with All Girls specific sessions included throughout.
“We wanted to give an opportunity for kids whose clubs maybe can’t start back yet, or just kids at school who like basketball, to give them a chance to come and play,” added Goodrich, who is also an All Girls ambassador.
"The Basketball England All Girls Campaign had just gained some momentum when the first lockdown came last year so I thought it was really important to include it as soon as we were allowed to organise some basketball opportunities, especially for the girls.
“Our camp will be operated by a fully female staff with the coaches and young leaders from the Northants Basketball Club, who are renowned for their successful female basketball programme.
“I hope we are able to attract a large number of girls of all abilities to the camp so they can enjoy the sport of basketball and hopefully stay involved in one of the county's basketball clubs."
As always, the club have been working tirelessly to ensure all sessions remain as safe as possible, utilising the Basketball England Return to Play guidance and resources.
“Of course, we’re making sure we’re COVID safe, doing the correct screenings, temperature checks, sanitising, and we’re conscious of not having too long a session.
“Some of these kids haven’t done anything for three months, maybe even more, so shorter sessions and an appropriate level of activity, not too much, too soon.”
While both camps aim to get players new and old involved in the sport once more, Goodrich and the club hope that the sessions act as a touch point for something more familiar, and following the lengthy lockdown periods already endured, that’s something to be thankful for.
“With both camps, it’s trying to get back to some ‘normality’, even though there’s going to be a lot of restrictions in terms of numbers and how the sessions can work.
“We are grateful that we have an outdoor facility to give players this opportunity, especially the second week when we’re open to everyone, bringing people back together.
“But it has been three months now and we’ve had nothing at all, so the kids are desperate to get back, the parents are desperate to get their kids involved again, they’ve all missed it so much.
“Our volunteer coaches are desperate to get back as well. They want to help the kids enjoy the sport they love, they’ve missed the coaching!”
With lockdown measures finally easing, if you want to get back involved with basketball, the time is now.
There’s a court finder on the Basketball England 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.