As part of the latest Be Inspired email, spogo was asked to get involved in a spot of basketball. London School of Basketball (LSB) kindly invited us down to The Regal to take part in one of their training sessions. LSB is a Reach & Teach basketball programme that provides community basketball opportunities for young people of all abilities from newcomers to experienced ballers.
As the spogo team headed over to The Regal basketball centre for our under 18 session, it’s fair to say I was slightly concerned about humiliating myself in front a crowd of talented 17 year olds, passionate about their basketball and probably not overly keen on some ageing newbies invading their session. The last time I played basketball was approximately 22 years ago, and to be honest, I was pretty rubbish then!
Very quickly though, any concerns I had disappeared. Greeted by Jay Williams, basketball coordinator at The Regal, we slotted straight into the group of about 25 youngsters, of varying shapes and sizes, for our warm up session. Led by up and coming star Joel Ufele, we went through a series of limbering up movements before getting our hands on the ball.
Once sufficiently stretched Jay took over the session, going through a series of pass and shoot movements that were simple enough for the spogo team to follow – although to be fair, there was a bit of a spogo basket drought at this stage.
The drought continued as we were taken to one side by Jay to run through basic shooting techniques – elbow at right angles, right foot slightly in front of left (if you’re right handed), flick your hand and hold it up until the ball touches the floor (harder than it sounds).
We then moved onto a game of killer which basically involves taking a shot and if you miss the person behind you then also shoots. If he gets it in before you then you’re out (press ups and sit-ups as a forfeit follow). We suddenly started to get some baskets, which was a good feeling and I somehow managed to finish 3rd overall!
It was then down to the nitty gritty and games ensued, starting with a half court session. Luckily, we had Jimmy on the team which was largely the reason we managed to hold our own (some of the time). The game itself was a great workout, constantly changing direction, man marking and trying to make space to get the ball.
After about 15 minutes, we then moved onto the full court, doing 5 minute sessions and rotating the teams. Again, it was great fun and it was an impressive sight seeing one of the boys charging the full length of the field to land a slam dunk.
After a couple of hours, it was time to wrap up the session. To be honest, we were shattered and happy to call it a day, but the rest of the group were enjoying it so much Jay had a job on his hands to get them to go home – even shouts of ‘you’ve got homework to do!’ fell on deaf ears.
It was a real pleasure to see how much these youngsters loved the game, loved the session and obviously loved being coached by Jay.
We all had so much fun and would recommend anyone to go and give it a go. Basketball really is a sport for all and with programmes such as Ball Again it’s never been easier to give it a go. If you’re over the age of 15 then Ball Again provides a relaxed reintroduction to the sport catering for players who have played some basketball (a little or a lot) in the past and those trying the sport for the first time. With over 200 sessions running around the country, there’s bound to be one near you. We loved it and highly recommended you give it a try!
by Ashley Scott, for sposo.co.uk