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We have tweaked the National Talent Programme (NTP) in light of the merge of the Oceania and Asia Zones – qualification to a Junior World Championships require us to qualify through Oceania, into Asia and then into the World Championships. This introduces a three year cycle for each of our age group teams and a four year cycle for the senior teams.
It can get a little confusing as the two age groups (under 17 and under 19) alternate each year – and also in New Zealand and Australia we define the ages differently from FIBA. Please note we have stuck to using the NZ based age definition for simplicity (so our pathway information sees our teams reaching FIBA under 18 and under 20 World Championships when in FIBA language they are the FIBA under 17 and under 19 World Championships).The below image shows the national talent pathway pyramid. Note: we are using the New Zealand definition of age to be consistent. This is one year different from FIBA e.g. we say under 18 but that translates to under 17 in FIBA terms.
The focus of the National Talent Programme is to introduce and expose participants to the national team philosophies, pathways preparation, and performance standards required at a national level. These camps act as the entry point to the overall national team programme, involving players who demonstrate the potential to reach that level. These camps will be continue to be held annually for the under 14, under 15, under 17 and under 19 age groups. We intend to select these players through a nomination of an association depth chart, observation at the National or Regional Championships and also through international identification of eligible Kiwis abroad. Activities involving the above age groups include:
A series of U13 Skill Days will be delivered around the country in partnership with our regional stakeholders and through engagement with our local Associations. These skill days will serve a number of purposes, but most importantly, they will provide us with an opportunity to expose our U13 athletes and coaches to the BBNZ new style of play; by way of familiarising the athletes with our concepts of play and by introducing games designed specifically to transform our players habits.
Talent ID and player selection has been aligned to the BBNZ player development pathway, providing opportunities for athletes to learn our Style of Play and the skills that underpin our Style of Play, critical to the success of the High Performance Program. The athletes and coaches attending will also be exposed to movement competencies, these are foundational skills (Accelerating, Decelerating, Jumping, Landing, Position Retention etc.) that are essential skills for the developing athletes to learn, understand and adopt.
The same players will be observed at the U13 Regional Championships where they may be identified to attend the U14 Talent Development Camp, the following year.
The inclusion of the U14 programme is to assist in the building of the depth and quality of our athletes coming through the pathway and feeding into our National teams programme which begins at the under 16 level. The camp will involve 80 identified girls and 80 identified boys in respective camps, held during the April school holidays. The players will be coached by coaches from all over New Zealand and will focus on skill development with games at the end of the week. Talent identification to select the athletes occur through observation at the previous year’s Regional Under 13 Championships and via consultation with the local associations and coaches.
The programme is based on developing the key fundamental skills required of the athletes at this age and stage starting with the April camp and followed up with fortnightly homework which the athletes are required to complete. The programme will continue with further camps at later stages to ensure continued development and contact is maintained.
Basketball New Zealand’s network of coaches including national junior team, regional and association coaches identify and select players for this programme based on their performance and potential demonstrated at camps, tournaments and during development activities.
This opportunity also involves all aspiring coaches, referees and support staff who are interested in continuing their professional development. Any coach, referee or interested support staff who want to be involved in the camps and associated development opportunities, should contact Basketball New Zealand.
It is about being a regular participant in international competitions and understanding the requirements and demands to not only compete – but win. At the younger age groups the goal is to increase their competencies on/off court based on targets in individual plans. For senior athletes the focus is to customize the athletes to the specific requirements of the respective national team coach (es).
Identification of athletes for this phase is flexible to allow athletes to re-enter the system from alternate programming channels (i.e. NCAA, professional leagues, etc.). Athletes must achieve targets and fully commit their training plans to remain involved in the phase.
Going forward our focus at the junior representative level will be the Under 17 (U17) and Under 19 (U19) age groups, and to continue to make our mark in 3X3. This recognises the decision by FIBA to move New Zealand into a new FIBA qualifying zone; from 2017 Oceania will be part of the Asia qualification Zone. The move to Asia opens up opportunities for New Zealand to qualify for the U17 and U19 World Championship events held every second year, based on a three year programme (assuming we qualify right through to World Championships) – World Championship qualification events (Oceania and Asia) and the World Championships will be the pinnacle events is where our focus will lie. Other events, such as the Australian State Championships will only be entered as preparation for these World Championship events with the exception of the U16 State Championships, which is considered the entry point for international basketball for the New Zealand talent development programme.
The following identifies the event year and age group in each year. To avoid confusion, we have used Basketball age group terminology.
Each year there will be a National Selection Squad of under 15 players chosen to participate in a series of camps with ultimately two under 16 teams per gender being selected – the New Zealand National Team and a New Zealand Select team (we implemented this during 2015/16). In the Oceania qualifying year the New Zealand team will represent us at the Oceania Championships (starting 2018) and the NZ Select team will represent us at the Australian State Champs. In the alternate year the NZ team will attend the State Champs and the NZ Select team will attend a high quality Australian tournament (as happened in 2016).
In the World Cup cycle every second year we will select a New Zealand under 17 team (each gender) to represent New Zealand at the Asian Championships (first up will be 2017). The Worlds are in the third year of the cycle (2018). In the non-world cup cycle year these players will continue on into the under 19 cycle.
The World Cup cycle commences with New Zealand teams competing for one of two spots available in Oceania – we will send ‘under 18’ teams (starting 2017). Successfully through this we will send under 19 teams to Asia the following year (first up being 2018) and then under 20 teams to the Fiba under 19 World Cup in 2019 (confusing because we use different age dates from Fiba – our under 20 is their under 19).
The first squads for this cycle will come from a process that includes the under 17 nationals in the appropriate year and the under 17 NTP process – similar to that described above for the under 17 World Cup process except we won’t have two teams per gender – likely a wider training squad only.