With 22 schools playing across six courts at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester, Friday’s opening day of the Dynamik National Schools Championships was certainly a busy one.
With a focus on the Under 12 age group as part of a participation based celebration event, there were lots of baskets and even more smiles from the 175-plus children in attendance from all parts of the country. The Championships continue across the weekend with 2 further days of Finals for different age groups on Saturday and Sunday.
“Today’s event is a great opportunity for schools and players to come to this fantastic facility and it really shows the breadth of school’s basketball across the country,” said Basketball England’s Delivery Director David Butler. “With teams from as far away as Torquay and Devon, it’s great to see so many children playing the game and enjoying themselves.”
As the sponsor of the schools’ competition as well as official flooring supplier to Basketball England and suppliers of the courts at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Dynamik Sports Floors were in attendance and their Commercial Director Craig Jack expressed his enjoyment at the day’s play, “It’s great, we always need kids smiling on sports floors like ours and at facilities like this,” he said. “It’s really good to see not just the elite teams performing here but also grassroots sports like we have today. To be involved in bringing children into that is great to see.”
With six different pools, four for boys and two for girls, there were no winners or standings from the event which allowed for enjoyment and participation to be the central focus. Rotated line-ups to share playing minutes allowed every player the chance to be involved, and the adjustable baskets at the Performance Centre were lowered to 2.6m (8’5”) for use by younger players.
Hannah Wallace of Bristol Flyers in WNBL Division One Women was in Manchester with Bristol Metropolitan Academy and was impressed with what she saw, “This is a really great experience for the students. It’s certainly different, but incredible for them,” she said. “They know that GB train here and they’re buzzing to be in the same environment as pro athletes. Events like this give them a sense of playing the “real” game and it’s something they can use to build for future years.”
That was a sentiment echoed by The Holy Trinity School’s Coach Daniel Hildreth, “It’s amazing to be here. When the doors opened to the venue there was this gasp from the kids! The wow factor, to see all the courts active, it’s fantastic. Events and competitions like this expose these players to what is out there and what is available as they progress through the sport.”
The Dynamik National Schools Championships continue at the National Basketball Performance Centre throughout the weekend. The Finals of the Under 16 co-ed and Under 16 Girls conference are set to play out on Saturday and the Under 14 co-ed and Under 14 Girls conclude on Sunday. Play gets underway at 10:00am on both days and entry to the event in Manchester is free.