On a foggy January morning in the north of England, 6 young basketball players and coaches from diverse backgrounds and origins found themselves in the Boardroom of the Etihad Campus, about to embark on a brand new journey.
Having successfully hosted numerous World, European and national sporting events and housing two of Europe’s most harrowed football clubs, Manchester is also a hotbed for basketball in the UK. It is the home to Basketball England and the National Basketball Performance Center and therefore was a natural fit for the FIBA 3x3 School Hoops Ambassador Program, which took place between January 22-23. The Manchester City Council participated in the course and continues to provide valuable support to the Program.
The team of Ambassadors, made up of three women and three men, participated in a spirited and intensive two-day session, which featured development and fostering of competencies in training room situations, in-depth training on the official rules of 3x3, regulations and competition format as well as several hours of on-court practical exercises and scenarios.
Delivered by Simon Jones, experienced Master Trainer and Aimilios and Eva Sampanis, two longtime 3x3 event organisers and life-long basketball players from Athens, Greece, this was the inaugural School Hoops 3x3 program, organised by FIBA Academy (a joint venture of FIBA and the World Academy of Sport), with more hopefully to follow as part of a global rollout of the initiative.
“It was extremely well-delivered” according to Paul Cantwell professional basketball coach and one of 6 Ambassadors, “Very impressive to see several organisations there all backing the project and so passionate about it. The course itself was engaging and unique, the best course I have personally been to.”
The School Hoops Project aims to drive 3x3 engagement from the grassroots level by giving the youth of Manchester knowledge of the fast-paced discipline and a working understanding of the great digital tools developed by FIBA. 12 schools of the greater Manchester area will be encouraged to include 3x3 in their programs. Over the course of the next few months the children will learn to play and hone their offensive, defensive and tactical skills at 3x3. By the end of the school year, all will be invited to participate in the Manchester 3x3 Festival, set to take place this summer.
"3x3 is such an exciting discipline of basketball!” Basketball England’s Delivery Manager, Alex Fothergill said after completion of the course. “It’s fast, fun and I imagine it will attract both regular basketball players and newer fans to the game.”
All participants were glowing and proud to be Ambassadors to the world’s most popular urban team discipline.