Basketball England makes changes to Aspire Programme for 2020

Basketball England is pleased to announce the latest progressive alterations to the Talent System and Pathway, specifically changes to the way the competitive element of the Aspire programme will operate for 2020.

When Basketball England submitted its talent plans to Sport England in 2018, a need was identified to move competitive talent opportunities away from a ‘quota’ based system and instead ensure that players attended talent based events based on their current playing level in line with our Player Development Framework.

In previous years, each of our regions were tasked with bringing 12 players at U13 & U15 (Girls and Boys) to a National Tournament once a year. Selection didn’t take into consideration a standardised skill level checking process which resulted in some one sided games and a consistent pattern of final tournament placings year on year.

The new Aspire Select Tournament will ensure that:

  • The best players across the country get the opportunity to progress in the Talent Pathway.
  • A showpiece competition/event is created that all players within the Aspire programme want to play in.


2020 Aspire Select Tournament structure – How will it work?

Following the eight-monthly Aspire sessions, players at the U13/U15 age groups will be selected to attend one of four sub-regional tournaments as stated below:





North East

East Midlands

London North

South West

North West

West Midlands

London South

South East





Following the sub-regional tournaments, select teams will represent the North, Central, London & South at the Aspire Select Tournaments in July 2020.

Key dates

June 21 – Preparation sessions for sub-regional tournaments

June 28 – U13 sub-regional tournaments

July 5 – U15 sub-regional tournaments

July 18/19 – Aspire U13 Select Tournament in Manchester

July 25/26 – Aspire U15 Select Tournament in Manchester


Steve Bucknall, Technical & Performance Manager, said: “The new Aspire Tournament structure will give us the potential to streamline our talent pool identification process and counterbalance the differences between our regions to create a more equal playing level.

“Previously, trying to view and assess 200 plus players and 60 plus coaches over a weekend was a tall order. It involved an arduous task of trying to predict the future capacity of performers over many short games against opponents of varying standards and assessing coaches in a sometimes unbalanced environment.

“This new format will afford us the ability to screen both players and coaches in a more accurate way. After the sub regional exposure stage, we will have the best 48 players in the country playing in one national event, regardless of where they’re from in the country.”

The Aspire programme is the first step on our Talent Pathway with players progressing to our England Development, Talent and Great Britain programmes. To read more about our Talent Pathway please use the button below.