The allure of some big-name basketball players and coaches helped keep spirits high for the Seahawks and Mermaids juniors over recent weeks as Joe Ingles, Mitch Creek and Trevor Gleeson joined in a series of Zoom catch-ups.
For Warrnambool Basketball Association Development Officer Michael McGorm, it was the perfect way to engage the players and keep everyone excited in basketball while the association was preparing to return to sport.
“It was massive down here, been in the paper and on the radio leading up to it,” McGorm said. “We put out for questions for all members and kids and they submitted questions and the ones who got selected got to ask Joe Ingles, Mitch Creek and Trevor Gleeson their questions.
“They talked about their journey, adversities they’ve had and all of them had gone through difficult parts of their lives and that not everything is a smooth as it seems.
“They all said to enjoy the ride and not stress about things.
“Always enjoy the game – if you’re not enjoying it you need to walk away. They all pushed the fun aspect of it and don’t forget why we play.
“To hear that from the superstars is great as that’s what I like to see about the kids growing the love of the game.”
Gleeson, who grew up in Warrnambool, told the players about his extensive career in sport – not just in the NBL as a championship winning coach with the Perth Wildcats, but also in AFL and NRL.
“Trevor gave us great insights – he’s a local from Warrnambool – and he gave his insights into his life and how he got invovled and has had an amazing journey,” McGorm said.
Warrnambool has not returned to game play yet, but the town remains as eager as ever for basketball to get back as tryouts commence. McGorm said he’s never been so popular as his morning training spots are being snapped up instantly.
“We’re happy to take the slow approach, get the number one coaches for all kids in the age groups – they get to see all the kids they wouldn’t usually get to see and we’re currently in the middle of tryouts,” McGorm said. “We’ve got domestic training starting and we’re happy to give everyone a six-week block of training and then hopefully everything is going ok and we can get back to playing August 31.
“I’ve been running morning sessions and the most I’ve had in a term was 7 and now I’m at 20 and kids are screaming to get back on court and I’m sure that’s state-wide and we’re in a lucky situation and thoughts of our committee and myself is that we’ll keep staying on court until we can no longer.
“We’re following strict guidelines and regulations and keeping the kids safe – but as long as we can stay on the court, the kids are enjoying it so much.
McGorm’s advice for associations who are planning their return to sport in upcoming months is to take a cautious approach and let everyone get ready to play at their own pace.
“Take it slowly – when you do come back, don’t just come back and go full bore,” McGorm said. ”Go back and gradually build back up – these kids are a bit rusty and a bit unfit, so do as much training as you can before you get back on court.
“The fitness is down, skills are down and now our training programs are booming because the kids know how far behind they are from where they were.”
If you’d like to share your stories on your Victorian basketball club or association, send through your story ideas to Jarrod Potter – email@example.com.