Basketball New Zealand’s Girls Got Game initiative has proven to have played a key role in the increase of young girls playing basketball.
The have-a-go programme was launched in May and in such a short space of time has already translated to a rise in participation levels for female youth across the country.
The Otago, Capital and Hawke’s Bay associations have shown the greatest progress, with the latter hosting 200 players at their Girls Got Game festival at Pettigrew Arena in June.
Basketball Hawke’s Bay General Manager Chris McIvor said the interest in basketball from young girls has spiked since the launch of the programme.
“Since the launch of Girls Got Game we’ve seen an encouraging increase in the number of girls playing basketball.
“The high levels of participation meant we were able to set-up a girls-only mini ball league, which by the looks of it everyone has loved. Even little things like the Girls Got Game basketballs have been well received.
“What we’ve also seen is an increase in female coaches, which also bodes well for the progression of the women’s game going forward.
Girls Got Game was designed by women and has a focus on being active, having fun and participating with friends. The six-week introductory course fosters a non-competitive environment and is run by female coaches.
The programme was rolled out by regional basketball associations across the country, with WBC teams partnering with their provinces to help with the delivery of the course.
Otago had a 45% spike in the number of young girls taking part in basketball from late last year to midway through 2019.
Otago Basketball General Manager Justin Ludlow said his community has shown real interest in the programme and bought into its message.
“There is a real vibe around the community at present relating to female basketball, highlighted by the community engagement of the AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush.
“We’ve had a lot of success at both the National and age-group level in our catchment and Girls Got Game will only build on our strong foundations.”
Other associations to have already rolled out the initiative are Harbour, ABSL, Capital and Canterbury, with Tauranga and Southland to launch later in the year.
Capital Basketball’s sole program is run in Lower Hutt and has already worked with close to 50 girls.
Capital Basketball Community Development Officer Scott Richardson said Girls Got Game gave participants an added confidence when working on their skills.
“When we started our programme we put a big emphasis on making sure the girls felt safe and comfortable in the course.
“What we’ve noticed in the past is that girls can be prone to crawling back into their shells when they make mistakes when grouped with boys, whereas now, they’re a lot more care-free and keen to give things a go.
“The girls taking part are flourishing and it’s awesome to see.”
Girls Got Game is based on Basketball New Zealand’s junior programme called Kiwi Hoops, which had 19,190 Kiwi Kids participating in 2018. The Girls Got Game course can be modified to suit the needs and resources of participants, schools and providers.
Basketball New Zealand says this programme is now an important foundation into the playing pathway for girls.
The Girls Got Game resources are available for free at www.nz.basketball/girlsgotgame. To find out if there is a Girls Got Game programme near you, contact your local association. Association details can be found at http://www.nz.basketball/The-Huddle.