Club support: Panthers Basketball Club

basketballscotland’s ‘Club Support’ feature, which highlights the benefits of a successful partnership between basketballscotland and member clubs, launched last month with a case study on Fife Steel. This month looks at the work of Panthers Basketball Club and the support offered by basketballscotland.

Panthers Basketball Club provide basketball from South Aberdeenshire to Aberdeen City Centre. The club has a long history of providing exercise, fun and competition for members. Panthers have teams of all ages, from U8 through to Senior, competing both locally and nationally.

Panthers have a strong focus on junior and grassroots basketball within the club. The club aims to provide quality programmes to a host of schools and local community areas, with the ambition of attracting young players into their club pathway.

The club recognise the value of employing a member of staff to support these programmes and has employed a Club Development Officer for several years. The initial investment from funders for this post recently reduced, meaning basketballscotland was asked to work with the club to source and apply for new funding. In September 2019, Panthers received funding for the post from Hillhead of Auquhirie Wind Farm, which was enough provide the Development Officer with job security for the foreseeable future.

During the summer basketballscotland was also working to support a Regional Development League for U10 to U14 players in the Grampian Region. With issues around indoor facilities pricing arising across the country, which has required basketballscotland to support clubs in several cities including Dundee and Edinburgh, Panthers worked with other regional clubs to ensure accessible participation for all players. The strong relationships between the club and their local schools were fundamental in ensuring basketballscotland was able to significantly reduce entry prices for the competition.

The new competition also identified a shortage of trained officials within the Grampian region. basketballscotland supported an officiating course, having again utilised Panthers’ links with local schools. Following on from the course, basketballscotland has designed a programme that supports officials in a mentoring capacity, allowing them to grow in confidence and develop their skillset.

As the partnership between the club and governing body went from strength to strength, Panthers reached out to basketballscotland with the hope of introducing the new female-only PickUp Basketball programme to Grampian. Introducing the sessions is the latest step Panthers has taken, supported by basketballscotland’s Regional Development Officer, to increase female basketballers in their programmes.

Since their initial approach, Panthers has successfully launched two new sessions, both of which have been supported financially by basketballscotland. The sessions create an environment which is welcoming and friendly, providing an avenue for females to try the sport and stay active through basketball.

Club Champion for Panthers Basketball Club, Jackie Bruce, acknowledged the importance of Panthers working together with several stakeholders to provide better opportunities for players in their local area:

“Panthers Basketball Club will continue to develop and grow partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders in our local communities to provide opportunities for players, volunteers and officials. We believe that working in partnership is the best way to increase basketball participation within Panthers and other clubs in the region. We are very pleased to see our new basketballscotland Regional Development Officer supporting basketball in the region and we are always happy to help and support individuals, teams and clubs to achieve their aims wherever we can.”

Adam Szymoszowskyj, National Development Officer for basketballscotland, was proud to see the relationship between both organisation provide benefits to both parties:

“Following the recruitment of our Regional Development Officer for Grampian, we took the opportunity to sit down with Panthers. It was fantastic to learn that the club wanted our support to overcome key challenges and both parties took a proactive approach to working together in order to take positive steps forward. This has been the foundation for the success we have had together over the last six months and it’s great that Panthers have been able to help basketballscotland benefit from the partnership work as well. We are happy to have added value to what the club are aiming to achieve, and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship.”

Information on Panthers’ PickUp sessions can be found here.