The Final Whistle


A good news story this week, something that has taken my eye and simply must be shared amongst the basketball fraternity immediately.

Such is the world these days, high tech, fast paced and all, that I caught glimpse of a video posted on Facebook last week by our very own favourite retiree, Jodi Impey. It instantly attracted my attention and got me to thinking!

Sharing her time these days between her own senior career and the burgeoning junior careers of her two children, Jodi posted a video from her daughter’s game played out at Melton. Always fun to watch kids ply their craft as they set out on their basketball journey, but this video was very different.

As I watched this video of young six and seven year olds scrambling from one end of the court to the other, looking over at their mum and dad every so often to seek out a smile or a cheer, I noticed two extra people on the court, and they were big people!

The penny soon dropped that the two extras were in fact the coaches, one for each team, and they were out on court encouraging their players, helping them to understand the rules, make decisions, showing them where to run and in general, guiding them through the game.

Obviously it’s an initiative out at Melton within this age group, and I’m not so silly as to think that it doesn’t happen elsewhere also, but given Melton is the first place I had witnessed it in practice I’m happy to give them the kudos.

Everything about having the two coaches out on court with the Under 8 age group is right. I could instantly see positive interaction. I stopped and thought …. I wish we had that when I was first starting to play basketball.

Having the coaches on court helps deliver consistent and encouraging messages throughout the whole game, rather than just at time-outs and the half-time break. It provides the players with direction and explanation of rules and positioning, plus it keeps the coaches active in a positive way rather than questioning calls.

Teaching is key in a young person’s development and this video clearly highlighted what the motive was by having the coaches out in the thick of the action. Teaching!

Also, I really like the fact that the coach isn’t screaming out at players from the sideline, whether it be positive or negative comments. Rather, the coach can communicate one-on-one, out on the court and establish the motivation each player needs to try their best in different areas of the game.

Given players that age aren’t generally super quick in transition and can’t pass any further than a handful of metres, the coaches generally don’t get caught up in the play. They keep their distance, yet are close enough to converse and help the youngsters increase their awareness of the game, develop their skills and learn to work together.

When you consider we have great programs like Aussie Hoops in place, and now having seen this video, I think there is great merit in Basketball Australia looking to adopt a national approach to doing a similar thing to Melton across all competitions, Australia wide.

Coaches are role models for these youngsters, the kids idolise them, and what better way for a coach to participate than to do it actively and positively out on court with them. We all know the attention span of a six or seven year old is fleeting at best, especially when they are trying to learn something new, so how is having the coach out on court not a positive?

It has positive written all over it!

Well done Melton. Fantastic initiative and one that Basketball Australia should share with everyone, immediately.

The Final Whistle has blown!


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