Where would we be without adopting the Australian early start culture? This has enabled us to fit in so much more. This morning we met up with Kyle from Basketball Victoria. Ben, Acting CEO of Hockey Australia had connected us to Kyle as Basketball Victoria are ‘running’ a Walking Basketball programme. It was really interesting to exchange views and ideas with Kyle, the more so as we had almost identical approaches despite our sports evolving on different sides of the planet. Where we differ significantly is that Walking Basketball are working very closely with VicHealth, the health care provider in the state of Victoria, and targeting over 70 year olds. Through VicHealth and other similar organisations there are already many organised health and fitness clubs for the elderly so Basketball Victoria have ready made target audiences. Indeed VicHealth actively fund these and have provided grants to Basketball Victoria for their Walking programmes.
The other area where they differ is in how the sessions are run. They don’t have to be led by coaches, but can be led by facilitators who may have little or no basketball experience but are provided with training and resources so that they can deliver sessions. Also venues can purchase a Walking Basketball pack containing a venue guide, a facilitator guide, hoops, bibs and balls.
This seems to be a common approach over here as Hockey Australia’s Hook Into Hockey programme for juniors does the same with the additional offer of a heavily subsidised rucksack, stick, ball, shinpads and bib.
One area of mutual concern is that of keeping the product (Walking Hockey or Walking Basketball) under an element of control so that it is played to the same basic rules and in the same inclusive spirit everywhere.
So all in all an excellent meeting and we’ve agreed to keep in touch in the future.
After this we checked out of the hotel and headed downtown for a few hours walking along the impressive River Yarra. They’ve really done a great job turning this area into a lovely place to stroll, eat and drink, so we had lunch there before taking the express lift up to the 88th floor viewing platform of the Eureka Tower with its sky deck. 88 floors in 37 seconds is quite an experience!
We were very lucky as the atmosphere was clear and we could see all around for miles.
Then back to earth, an ice cream and sit in the sun for an hour before heading to the airport for our fourteen hour flight to Dubai, nine hour stop over, then onwards to Birmingham and home.