Case Study: Meet Jon
Aged twelve, Jon* was permanently excluded from school and spent a term at a Pupil Referral Unit. “I was badly behaved,” says Jon. “I had some older friends who were a bad influence. They smoked and drank and I used to join in with them. Sometimes I would bunk off school with my friends and we used to go to my friend’s house or go to the park.”
In 2013, Jon joined a school which hosts a Greenhouse Sports basketball programme. The Greenhouse Head Coach helped Jon to channel his energy positively into sport and as his love for the game grew.
“Basketball made me want to come to school,” says Jon. “If I didn’t play basketball I think I’d still be with my older friends. I’d still be smoking and maybe bunking school still. My mentality has got a lot better. I’m more of an individual than I was before. I used to just follow my friends, but now I’ve changed and I’m more interested in basketball and education.”
Jon has become the most committed participant on his programme and has won both Highest Attender and Player of the Year awards for the last two years in a row. He has been selected to play for a club in the national league and due to his ability to motivate others, Jon’s coach made him captain of the school team.
Now fourteen, Jon is applying his improved confidence and communication skills in the classroom. As a result, he was chosen by his school to represent them in a speaking competition, where he won his regional round and went on to represent his London borough in the finals.
Jon explains how the skills he learned on the basketball court helped him to stand up in front of hundreds of people and give a speech about his dream of becoming a professional basketball player. “I was very confident, which I got from basketball. As a leader of the team, I always communicate with people and it helped me with my speech.”
“My mum is really proud of me and really happy that my behaviour has changed, and that I’m a different person now. I want to be a professional player and play for a team in the Euro League, or I’d like to be an actor. It’s similar to basketball because you have to help others, be a leader of a group, have confidence to talk to others, and commitment. If you’re committed and you have passion, that will allow you to do anything you want to do.”
Jon’s Head Coach highlights how basketball has helped him to turn things around: “The fact that Jon loves basketball has made all the difference. In terms of his behaviour; I continually hold him to a high standard. I want him to understand that if you have high expectations of yourself, you will succeed in anything you choose to do.”
“I want every participant to leave the programme a better person than when they started, and to take with them the values that they have learned on the court. That’s the same, regardless of whether they are going to be academy players or just play for fun.”
*To protect our participants privacy, names have been changed and photos do not relate to this case study.