The Aspire Programme sits at the base of the model and is for 11 to 15-year-old basketball players originally selected through the National Scouting, Talent Identification & Tracking Programme from a talent pool of 20,000 boys & girls in clubs & schools nationwide.
It’s important to reiterate that selection in this system will be based on a threshold approach rather than a quota system and will involve collaborative relationships with our clubs and schools network.
Participants within the Aspire Programme receive competition, education and training at one of our 10 Regional Talent Hubs (RTHs) located across the country. There are multiple entry points for basketball players within the Aspire Programme, affording coaches the opportunity to position certain individuals in higher or lower age groups depending upon the precise stage of their development at a particular time.
The next rung on the ladder above the Aspire Programme are the England Development Programmes (EDPs), which are based within educational institutions and cater for 16 to 19-year-old players. This stage will also benefit from the tactical and technical coaching and support that will be available at the RTHs and will aim to bridge the gap from the Aspire Programme to the England Talent Programmes (ETPs).
The pinnacle is naturally selection for GB at Under 16, Under 18, Under 20 and senior levels and that recognition will of course come as a consequence of players progressing successfully up through the Pathway.
Full details about the Aspire Programme, the EDPs, the ETPs and the Great Britain squad phases can be seen below:
To support the first tier of players who meet the Age & Stage requirements detailed in the Player Development Framework, they will receive enhanced coaching and player development in one of at least 10 Regional Talent Hubs across the country. This will transform the current programme for this age group, which comprises delivery of Regional Performance Centres (RPCs) and Regional Development Tournaments (RDTs). We have introduced better services to support players at this stage of their development, including competition, education, staff and parental resources and training. The club coach role and input will also be enhanced, with feedback and support on coaching practice, training etc., so there is an extension to the development impact.
As per our insight, we have taken the decision to offer this level of programme to 10-14-year olds (also in line with our Player Development Framework Ages & Stages).
The content of the Aspire Programme will be aligned to the Player Development Framework.
The EDP is the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) qualification, tailored to basketball. This is designed to meet the needs of players aged 16-19 that wish to continue their sporting career and gain appropriately levelled educational qualifications at the same time. The EDP is not a qualification for simply playing the game; this is a two-year programme whereby players receive additional support and guidance for their basketball development and education. The EDP is aimed at athletes who have the realistic potential to achieve excellence and are seeking to perform at the highest level as their main career goal.
Players are referred from the Aspire Programme and cross-referenced with the National Scouting, Talent Identification & Tracking Programme and will be selected to attend one of our educationally-based England Development Programmes (EDPs).
Students on the EDP will complete the below:
The EDP framework requires students to be following a ‘Full Time Learning Programme,’ which can be chosen from a wide range of academic or vocational qualifications. Options include: Functional Skills, AS, A-Levels, BTECs etc.
This is the standard level of coaching qualification for all club coaches working at local and junior national league level who wish to commit to coaching basketball.
Upon completion of the EDP framework, students will receive Basketball England certification.
Basketball England in conjunction with key stakeholders (Regional Talent Managers/Regional Talent Hubs/Sport England/TASS) has direct control of the programme and is responsible for:
Ensuring that all players within the Talent System (inclusively) have access to an EDP within their geographical location. The number of EDPs within each region is at the discretion of Basketball England, taking into consideration: the basketball playing market, talent pool and number of athletes that can be funded under our contract value with the Department of Education (DfE).
Regular auditing visits and remote assessments to ensure EDPs:
EDP annual re-accreditation is based on meeting the above points. Where discontinuation occurs, targeted tendering for new programmes may occur.
All athletes on the EDP will be approved directly through Basketball England using the EDP student nomination form. This form is to be completed by the parent/guardian of the athlete and sent directly to Basketball England.
EDP athlete approval is based on the below eligibility criteria:
Once approved, EDP athletes will be signposted to the programmes within their geographical location as a priority. If an athlete wishes to travel out of their catchment to attend another EDP, supporting evidence must be supplied and Basketball England authorisation granted.
Under our 'Duty of Care,' Basketball England strongly advises against any 16/17-year-old player moving away from home. Our EDPs are located throughout the country, which removes barriers such as accommodation/relocation costs and travel.
For further information on which institutions/clubs have EDP approval, their location and coach contact information, please click here.
Through the National Scouting, Talent Identification & Tracking programme, the top players within an age group will be invited to be part of the ETP programme which aims to prepare the players for potential England and GB selection. To ensure consistency and cross-pollination of culture, standards and technique, selected players will train and informally compete across age bands. As part of the ETP, representative teams may be formed and will be provided with competition, education and training (EG: to compete in the Under 15 Copenhagen Tournament).
Taking the learnings from a number of European countries, we will focus on Under 14 & Under 15 options as a priority. This doesn’t mean that we are dismissing other age groups. However, as considerable funds and support are already offered through the England Development Programme (EDP), we have the opportunity to focus on formative experiences which have proven to be a key part of other countries’ success in recent years.
Players selected from the ETP will then progress to Great Britain selection alongside players from Scotland and Wales. The British Basketball Federation (BBF) is a relatively new body and – with responsibilities to FIBA and to the three home nations for producing the GB teams – they fully endorse and support the England Talent Pathway as a vehicle that provides the best players on a yearly basis for GB selection. We continue to support GB basketball in the delivery of the teams for the European Championships.