As part of the Giants’ forthcoming announcement of the club’s strategy, the Oldham Eagles Basketball Club, who have two national league teams, will become part of the wider Manchester Giants family.
The Giants are committed to the development of young players across the region and working with grassroots clubs is a central part of the “TEN X TEN” strategy for community engagement, despite the challenges presented to community clubs by COVID-19.
The Oldham Eagles Club have made very good strides in developing players locally with several in the past few seasons having opportunities to play at both Manchester Magic and the Giants.
“Players advancing onto academy programmes in other sports is encouraged. The problem comes when there isn’t a new influx of players and the coaching system to support the next wave of young players coming through at the community club.” Said Jamie Edwards.
The club has been based at the Oldham Ball Hall, which has helped 1000’s of players start their journey in the game across the region.
The current group of Oldham players will now have access to more coaches and an environment that will be focused on developing great fundamentals and a culture of growth both on and off the basketball floor.
Club coordinator Leanne Connolly of the Oldham Eagles said “We’re delighted to be joining the Giants, the benefits of being part of a larger organisation will be great for everyone involved with the club. The Giants name will help us attract players, and there will be a pathway for every player. This is a big move for the development of basketball in Oldham, we can’t wait to get started!”
Historically, junior players tend to fall out of the system and not continue at another club. This expansion gives capacity to develop more players. This now allows the club to become part of a wider plan that Jamie Edwards calls the “Ten x Ten”. Something that will be part of the identity of the club going forward.
“Whilst the focus is to improve what we are doing internally we have to remember there is a wider responsibility to the development of the game. Since February I have worked with the junior club, the administrators, the coaches to put things in place for us to move forward together. That’s the operative word. We have also committed to collaboration with external clubs in the region both elite and especially community clubs.” Jamie added.
“My initial consultation with the Giants junior club coaches was about the perception of the club. Our identity in the basketball community, and what they felt they wanted the club to be about. They understood that there was a gap in saying what they wanted to do and who as a group we had to become to make that happen.”
“It’s evident that there is a committed group of people who want to work together, who want to learn and develop even more to work towards something collective and contribute to the development of any young person whether they are associated with the club or not.”
“The biggest challenge here in the city isn’t the player, just like in the school system there will always be a new cohort of Yr7s. The biggest challenge for the game isn’t just ‘How the youngsters are developing’. The challenge is the development of coaches and officials, because without them, there isn’t a game.”
“What’s exciting about this isn’t just about developing the next BBL player and beyond but where will all of these players be in a decade? Will they be BBL referees and coaches? Everyone involved in the game today started somewhere. We are interested in where this age group will be in ten years.”
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