Inaugural Basketball in Regional Victoria Conference a huge success

The inaugural Basketball in Regional Victoria Conference, presented by Basketball Victoria Country, wrapped up on Sunday in Bendigo.

Over 120 delegates were in attendance at the inaugural Basketball in Regional Victoria Conference and were treated to two days of thought-provoking discussion and engaging, collaborative presentations by a range of guest speakers from both within the sport of basketball and beyond.

The conference provided attendees with a platform to discuss and address some of the key issues, challenges and opportunities that impact basketball in regional Victoria.

Basketball Victoria Country manager David Huxtable was thrilled with the response from regional associations,

“It was great to see such a cross section of associations and positions represented in the room,” Huxtable said. “From general managers and presidents of large associations, through to volunteers involved at smaller associations, it was great to see the diversity and collaboration amongst all sectors of the sport.”

“BVC had conducted a survey of associations prior to the conference on what they wanted delivered and we think we achieved it excellently.”

The key themes of the conference centered around social impact, participation, growth, high performance pathways, database management, commercialisation, governance and building capable and secure associations.

The event coincided with the launch of the next tier in Basketball Victoria Country’s Pathway Project with a series of small documentaries presented to the audience on referee, coaching and player basketball pathways within regional Victoria.

“The Pathways Project underpins a lot of the discussion around high performance and the various opportunities available to regional athletes, coaches and referee,” Huxtable said.

Watch the videos below for more on the Basketball Victoria Country Pathway Series

Keynote speaker professor Russell Hoye GAICD, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development) & Director, La Trobe Sport, La Trobe University opened the conference with an insightful presentation on the social value of community sport organisations.

Following that was a panel discussion featuring CEO Basketball Australia Anthony Moore,Basketball Australia General Manager Community and Stakeholder Relations Lisa Hasker, Basketball Australia General Manager High Performance Jan Stirling and Basketball Victoria CEONick Honey.

The panel discussion covered a range of topics ranging from the various pathways offered within the sport to the important roles local associations, state bodies and national programs play in the pathway.

Saturday’s presentation was rounded out with a very practical discussion focused around database management and the value and drivers behind local commercial partnerships.

Day 2 tipped off on Sunday morning with another full schedule of panel discussions on the agenda. Bendigo Spirit head coach Simon Pritchard continued MC duties and provided an interesting insight into his experiences from a long career within the sport.

“The Bendigo Bank Spirit WNBL program supported the event and it was great to have Spirit coach, Simon Pritchard MC the conference as well as athlete Kerryn Harrington involved in a athlete and parents panel discussion, providing all attendees with an insight into her pathway through the association, Vic Country elite programs and Australian High Performance pathways,” Huxtable said.

The first panel of day two consisted of both BVC elite athletes and their parents, discussing their pathway through the sport and opportunities extended to them.

Anita Harrington (Mother of Kerryn) spoke about improvements that could be put in place at every level.

“Providing parents with good information and education at various points along the pathway would assist parents understand the commitment required by the child,” Harrington said.

Kerryn was joined by another Victoria Country junior respresentative Alex Sheedy, who is currently playing professionally in Greece.  Alex spoke about the many opportunities afforded to athletes in Victoria, from Moe Basketball, Country Champs to her time at Dandenong in the Melbourne Utd. VJBL through to the Centre of Excellence.

Steve Bruce, father of Aaron and Shaun, spoke about the two different pathways his sons had taken to reach the NBL.

The panelists touched on the opportunities junior basketballers have to play in the college system in the US and spoke about the importance of preparing and doing your homework before making a decision.

Following on from the athlete and parents panel were members of Basketball Victoria’s senior management group who discussed the importance of good governance, strategic planning, communications and facility development.

In conclusion, Huxtable said the conference was a remarkable success.

“We peaked at 120 attendees and had a great buy in from associations, with good input, ideas and some very informed questions to our panels and presenters,” Huxtable said. “We will now critically review the event and look to raise the bar at the next conference.

“I would personally like to thank our members for their support and our presenters, all of whom did a great job in sharing information and learnings to ensure regional basketball in Victoria remains a leader in program delivery, association development and pathway opportunities.”

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