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Basketball participants STEP up a gear!

Basketball STEP event

Brendan King, Greenhouse Sports Impact and Evaluation Manager, talked to Conisborough College Basketball Coach Jenny Ridgway about the basketball STEP event at Brampton Manor Academy during the Easter holidays. This event brought together over 100 Greenhouse Sports participants from our 17 basketball programmes across London, introducing them to the Greenhouse Sports STEP skills framework. Coach Jenny oversaw a ‘Health and Wellbeing’ workshop designed to raise awareness of the impact of diet and nutrition on sports performance.

The workshop comprised three stations:

  • The ‘science’ behind calories (in both food and exercise)
  • The impact of sugary drinks
  • How to prepare a three week training diary or self-improvement plan

Young people in the Basketball Leadership Academy (BBLA) facilitated each station, with Greenhouse Sports participants from various school programmes attending. BBLA facilitators are participants who have demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm, and a willingness to give back and enthusiasm. They are required to volunteer at their school programmes, and assist with Greenhouse Sports events – such as the STEP event.

What will the BBLA facilitators learn from the workshop?

The facilitators were asked to take a leading role in the delivery of each station. Jenny saw this experience as extremely valuable for them:

“They are being taken massively out of their comfort zone, delivering at their first major event. They are expected to be smart, prepared, confident and well organised … it’s a great chance for them to apply their skills. The application of STEP skills off the court is a key aspect of the BBLA – increasing a young person’s employability status, social integration level and personal development, using sport as its main tool.”

What about the Greenhouse Sports participants?

While the workshop focused on health and wellbeing, Coach Jenny noted that many other STEP skills were displayed, and not just by the facilitators. The stations gave Greenhouse Sports participants an opportunity to think about their dietary habits, and the planning needed to maintain positive health and wellbeing.

Reflecting on the ongoing challenges Greenhouse Sports coaches have to overturn the bad eating habits of some young people, coaches designed the workshop to enable Greenhouse Sports participants to gain “a knowledge and understanding of what they are putting into their bodies”. Many Greenhouse Sports coaches use a ‘readiness for sport’ method to tackle bad eating habits – emphasising the importance of sport nutrition for performance. Participants left, as Jenny said, “with an understanding of what it takes to be a student athlete”, adding that young people should recognise “it’s not just turning up onto the court… their bodies have to be ready”.

Overall, Coach Jenny wanted the workshop to give all those involved the opportunity “to work in unfamiliar environments and situations”.  It worked, providing a stern test for young people in how to apply their skills across different scenarios – a key aspect of the transferability of STEP skills from ‘court to classroom’. Jenny also believed that the event provided young people a “deeper understanding of the STEP principles … a key part of their school life”. This understanding is crucial to making the STEP skills ‘stick’, while laying the foundations for Greenhouse Sports coaches to impact a young person’s holistic development.

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