Every year, an increasing number of volunteers, staff and players contribute to the development of basketball in Scotland. It is important to us at basketballscotland that these individuals are recognised for their contribution to the development and diversity of the sport in Scottish schools.
The “Champion of School Basketball” programme recognises the valuable contribution that school staff, Active Schools coordinators, parents and volunteers make to organising, coaching and supporting basketball in schools across Scotland, helping basketballscotland to grow the game in local communities across the country.
We received a number of nominations for your Champions of School Basketball. These were individuals that showed incredible dedication to the growth of the game and we would now like to showcase some of our winners who have made an impact on basketball’s development in Scotland in the last year.
The winners are as follows:
Tom Griffin - Tynecastle High School, Edinburgh
Tom coaches 3 cluster primary schools around Edinburgh as well as committing to around 10 hours a week volunteering at Tynecastle High School, where he has improved the programme from near nothing to an extremely strong basketball program in Edinburgh.
'The main thing is giving kids the opportunity to play basketball. Growing up in this area myself I would've loved to play basketball from an early age, so I'm doing my best to give the kids that chance I never got. It's really enjoyable and rewarding to coach basketball, when you see players learn something new, it really does make you happy.' – Tom Griffin
Jackie Bruce - Portlethen
Jackie has coached multiple primary and secondary schools, coordinated the Portlethen Panther Community basketball programme and has been instrumental in establishing a strong pathway from schools to clubs.
‘I love giving back to the sport that has given me so much! I always recall back to my first experience of basketball, which was at secondary school. I have great memories of my coaches who gave up their time to coach a sport that they clearly loved. My best memories were of travelling to other schools to play games, playing basketball with your friends and making new friends - that is still the case today! Basketball is a sport for life, and although it may not be for everyone; basketball will keep you active, work out your brain, will give you opportunities to make and meet new friends, is a true team sport and it makes me very happy to be able to share and pass on my enthusiasm and passion for basketball.’ – Jackie Bruce
Steven Valentine – Victoria Primary School, Falkirk
Steven gave up his own lunchtime to start a lunchtime development club as a pathway to the school team.
'Initially I just thought about it as getting the kids more involved in sport. But now its about helping these kids learn how the game works and then getting them into the school team which is ran by one of my colleagues at the school. I love seeing the kids develop and get better at something they enjoy and many of them have gotten so much better, from just learning the basics of the game to becoming some really skilled basketball players.' – Steven Valentine
Duncan Jarvie – Beath High School, Fife
Duncan started up a basketball club at his Secondary school. Since then, it has grown to feature all age groups, on a variety of lunchtimes and after school times. Has also organised tournaments for a number of schools across Fife.
‘I believe that basketball is a fantastic opportunity to provide young people who often haven’t ever represented the school before to improve their overall confidence while also competing for their school. I enjoy working with these pupils as they gain a lot from their time with the basketball club and seeing them progress and achieve is a real personal highlight. Seeing young people enjoy basketball and sport in general is my main motivation. If I am able to inspire a few pupils to continue with the game beyond their time at school then I will be very happy. For me it’s all about watching the pupils achieve in an area which for many of them is new and can provide many fantastic opportunities.’ – Duncan Jarvie
Emma Heaney was also recognized as a Champion of School Basketball for her commitment to developing the game in schools. Unfortunately, we could not reach Emma for comment. If Emma or anyone who knows Emma is reading this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with basketballscotland.