by Justine Baynes, CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball
I am delighted to announce that British Wheelchair Basketball is launching a major review into our Junior programme, with the intention of creating an experience for our young athletes that will help them get the very best out of our sport. We recognise that the number of athletes under the age of 18 has declined by around 40% over the last five years and we need to take steps to reverse that. We want to grow the number of young people enjoying our sport, both at grassroots level and through our high performance pathways.
The review will be conducted by an independent organisation, Enlightful, and will be split into two parts. The first part is a consultation that we are launching at our National Junior Championships in Worcester this weekend (5th-6th August 2023). We will be running sessions for U18 and U14 players, coaches, officials, pathway staff from Home Nations and parents.
We will also be running focus groups with BWB staff, DiSE athletes and coaches, technical officials, Inspire A Generation delivery partners, current GB academy players throughout August. We will also talk to those who have left the sport to understand why they made that decision and what we could have done differently. All BWB members will also have the chance to contribute via an online questionnaire that will be sent to every member.
This insight will inform a greater understand of the current athlete experience, provide an informed view of what best practice might look like over the next ten years and create recommendations for how we can develop the experience at all levels for young athletes. It will also include recommendations for communication channels and styles.
To sum it up, this review will enable us to work with our U18 community to co-create a system where we can provide the right opportunities for those athletes, parents, coaches and everyone involved to get the most out of our sport. It is important to us that we don’t just impose a new system, but that we listen to what the community wants and needs. We want to create an experience together that will support all young athletes in our sport so that everyone has a positive experience from wheelchair basketball.
Please do engage with the team from Enlightful on this process – it will only work if you add your voice.
The second part of the process is that we will take the recommendations and implement them. We will share with you what these recommendations are and how and when they will be implemented.
This review has been made possible by a grant from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund and we are grateful to them for supporting the project.
National Junior Championships takes place 5th-6th August in Worcester – find out more: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/junior-championships-2023/