Rio Ferdinand helps launch second year of Greenhouse Sports’ partnership with NBA/BT Supporters Club
Greenhouse Sports was delighted to welcome footballer Rio Ferdinand and basketball legend Allison Feaster to Cumberland School to launch the second year of our partnership with the National Basketball Association and BT Sport’s charitable initiative The Supporters Club.
NBA coaching experts took the children – and Rio – through multiple stations and drills alongside Allison. When the hard work was over, young people and coaches from our programmes asked some great questions:
What’s it like playing in front of so many people?
Allison: It’s great but I’m sure Rio will agree that once you’re on the court you have such a high level of concentration you block all that out. You focus on your team mates and on the task ahead and that’s winning the game.
Rio: Yes, the problem is – especially when you’re younger – you’re looking around and seeing loads of people and even possibly thinking there might be talent scouts out there and getting nervous. The best thing to do is to keep that out of your mind. And maybe after the game you can think about how many people were there. If I thought about how many people were watching or who was watching it would breed nerves. Now I just don’t think about it – I just block it out.
When you got subbed, did you get angry?
Rio: I never got subbed (to laughter). Seriously, it’s different from basketball as that’s a game of lots of changes. That’s part of the game in basketball and it’s not necessarily about playing badly and Alison could explain a bit more about that. With football, it’s normally if you’re not playing well you’ll get pulled and it’s a pride thing. But there are times and situations where a manager will change the team and you have to accept that. Sometimes it’s hard and you get angry – it happened to me on one or two occasions. But you’ve got to remember you’re a team player. You’ve just got to go with it and go home and beat up your pillow or something like that.
Allison: That’s a really important point. Even though you’ve got a lot of pride and you feel you’re the best, you can’t show your team mates that you’re angry as it’s negative and that will impact the way they play the game.
Who or what inspired you to be in basketball and football?
Allison: I’d probably say my older brother. We used to have a makeshift cardboard goal with a wire which was something we made in our yard. I used to want to be like my brother and he used to play basketball with me.
Rio: Do you know Paul Gascoigne? People like him inspired me as they are from similar backgrounds to myself.
What are some of the things you have done to build up your own confidence so you believe in yourself?
Allison: I think the first thing is to tell yourself you are the best on the basketball court. It’s a mental game and you have to tell yourself that you’re the best whether it’s true or not. And then you have to back it up with practise, practise, practise. Passing drills, shooting drills. Just practise in everything you want to be good at.
Rio: I’ve got three kids and two of my boys play football. They want to play football in the house all the time and I think that’s OK because it means they’re always practising. When I was a kid – anywhere I was – I always kicked a ball. And you can do that too. When you’re walking to school you can kick a ball. All of it counts and then what happens is when you’re out playing properly you will have gained handling skills and be better from that practise.
Who was your idol in basketball or football?
Rio: Mine was Diego Maradona, he’s the best ever player. I remember watching the ’86 World Cup when I was at home on my couch and he just took out the whole England team. He scored the winning goal and I just wanted to be that guy.
Allison: My idol used to be Dominique Wilkins but you might not have heard of them. Nowadays, I’m a big Steph Curry fan.
BT Sport filmed the session. You can view it tonight as part of its exclusive live coverage of the 2016 Global Games from 7.45pm.