Ongoing dialogue is vital to growing basketball in Scotland

Next month sees a key date in the basketballscotland calendar: our Annual General Meeting. As the date approaches, it’s a perfect time to state publicly what most people will think in private: that such meetings are in reality a hollow and unsatisfying experience for all concerned.

Yes, you heard me right. Traditionally, AGMs are necessary in terms of accountability and corporate governance, but what do they really achieve to help grow the game for either the representatives of the basketball clubs who attend, or the Board and the Senior Management Team of the organisation that runs the sport in Scotland? In truth, probably very little.

For this reason, clubs in Scotland will notice something different over the next few weeks: opportunities for every club in every region to meet with basketballscotland’s Senior Management Team to voice how they think and feel about the game. For us, we want this to be about real engagement, and not about clubs possibly getting the chance to voice one question during one formal annual meeting jam-packed with agenda items.

The dialogue has already started

In fact, in our minds the AGM started around six weeks ago when our Board and Chief Executive decided to hold face-to-face meetings with all the clubs in Scotland who have historically provided players to GB teams, in order to understand how they felt the GB system was working for them and for Scotland, and to gauge how they felt about a potential financial levy on members to prop up GB’s finances. Our reasoning behind the meetings was clear: why wait to have a 10-minute conversation on such an important subject at the AGM, when we can have constructive and meaningful conversations with no time limit? These meetings with clubs continue, and they have been hugely beneficial in helping us ensure that we are representing Scotland’s interests in ongoing discussions on both GB finances and the important subject of equality of opportunity for Scottish players and coaches.

As members, you may have noticed other areas over the last couple of months where there has been increased engagement between you and basketballscotland. Our campaign to overturn the planned price hike for Edinburgh City Council sports facilities took place because of concerns expressed by the membership. In addition, we’ve had a really positive response from clubs willing to work together in order to establish Regional Academies for our young players that will see our best coaches sharing their learning with other coaches across the country to benefit those players who show real potential.

Working together starts with dialogue

All of these endeavours have been driven by one core belief: that the more we work together, the more successful we will be as a sport. And working together starts with dialogue.

But it shouldn’t just be dialogue that takes place within one afternoon every year, but regular and open dialogue where we freely exchange views and find ways to work together for the good of the sport, and where are actions then come to be guided by shared beliefs in what works. We all have knowledge and experience and perspectives on the game that are important and meaningful, and by sharing them we can learn from each other.

Now, we probably won’t always agree and we maybe won’t always get the engagement right, but our belief that this is the foundation for growing the sport we love is genuine.

Our sport is extraordinary. Our sport embraces all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of abilities. Our sport grows communities and gives people hope, a sense of belonging and a sense of worth. In the year ahead, let’s not lose sight of these truths as we build a community that drives the sport to greater success.

So please take the opportunity to engage with us. Let’s make dialogue an everyday part of what we do to build the sport we love and not what we do one afternoon every year.

This year’s AGM

The 72nd of basketballscotland will take place at Caledonia House on Sunday 26th August at 3pm. More details can be found HERE.