“Freedom of the Baskets” – Moment of Responsibility and Decision.
The adventure with COVID-19 interrupted the athletic journeys of young athletes around the world. The developmental ages in team sports and their coaches were called upon to deal with the suspension of any team training. It was also decided to stop the championships and tournaments, where they had started.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in our country and in other European countries, amateur team sports and the teaching of sports at developmental ages have been partially or totally suspended more than any other activity.
Due to my coaching specialty and as the person in charge of ESKANA basketball developmental ages, I will speak more about basketball in the following lines of this text. With the full support and cooperation of the coaching development team, with good intentions and with responsibility towards the sport we love, I will refer to the necessity for the “Freedom of the Baskets”.
DEVELOPMENTS IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
For “Eleftheria ton Kalathion” I exchanged views with basketball officials and friends coaches outside Greece, so that I can provide you with information about what is happening there. I thank them for their kindness in sharing views and information on basketball in the academy and development departments.
In the United Kingdom the situation varies by geographical area (Scotland, Wales, etc.). The developmental age championships have been suspended and may never start again for the current season. Where the epidemiological data and the weather conditions allow it, the athletes of the team sports, play in open spaces up to 6 participants and with strict geographical criteria, ie something like a sports “bubble” of the neighborhood. The coordinator of the basketball championships for the developmental ages, Rob Fairly, pointed out to me that the year is now considered lost in terms of championships. They are aiming to start the developmental ages in September with the same categories that did not take place this year, hoping that the pandemic will be reduced and there will be no more breaks.
In France, Goran Radonjic, director of international relations for the French Basketball Federation, which works with development age coordinators in the country, told me: “So far, we have not discussed the issue of ‘lost age’ for We hope that the international European Games will take place this summer.We are waiting for the relevant decisions from FIBA.Therefore, we have organized national basketball camps in the age categories and we organize games for these selected children only among themselves, as the state of health prevents international meetings and movements for friendly games outside France “.
In Germany, depending on the epidemic situation in each federal state, there are different decisions for children’s training. The developmental age coordinator, Uwe Albersmeyer, informed me that there is still no central direction for the full return of children to the coaching process. The lockdown is strict and they have no idea about the future of children’s basketball. There is a central online advocacy effort for children to work out individually.
They are looking for other solutions for the future, waiting for the final improvement of the situation. In some states, training has never been banned on the open field. Only from the winter weather the trainings were stopped and now with the spring improvement, there is a return to the training activity. Children who train in the open field, are engaged only in individual technique, there is no game of any kind with physical contact. In a one-hour workout, they engage in ball handling and improve executive ability and fitness. Up to 10 children up to the age of 12 can be found in the open field. Older people are only allowed 5 children and one coach at each training hour.
As of Monday, March 22, it was decided to permanently cancel all championships in the developmental ages. As for the ranks of the national teams, there is no decision on the future obligations. There is no stress in coaching, given the many different factors in relation to Greece. There, the kids who finish the junior have the U20 Youth Championship to play, plus the opportunity for playing i to another club in a different category.
In Italy, according to the presidential decree of November 2020, to date there is a suspension of all actions at developmental ages. With the situation remaining very difficult in cases and deaths from COVID-19, one does not know what will be born with the developmental ages.
In Belgium, training continues in open sports facilities.
We have already spent many months with the suspension of team training procedures. The possibility of a return to training, at the same time as the educational process, is characterized by the World Health Organization as a decision that will allow:
. To complete their studies and continue to the next level
⦁ To regain child well-being
⦁ To have social and psychological well-being again
. Have access to reliable information on how to keep themselves and others safe and healthy.
⦁ To have general benefits for society, such as the ability for parents to work smoothly, while they will have the pleasure of seeing their children play sports again, even outdoors.
“Basketball Freedom” is more necessary than ever for the people of developmental basketball. It is a decision that will return to resume training activity with a specific plan. A plan that will give the clubs the will to set the next sporting goals and to be properly guided to achieve them.
First we need to pay special attention to what our scientists have warned:
“The more the young athletes were forced to stay away and stay indoors, the more gradual and careful the return to training should be.”
Then in the second stage, decisions must be made for children who end adolescence without adequate coaching and competitive action in the last two seasons.
April is approaching. The weather conditions show a picture for spring days, preparing the way for another beautiful Greek summer.
There is a lot of discussion about the next few days, the gradual return to school life education, for older children first and then for younger ages. Best allies for this restart are the improved weather conditions and the weekly rapid tests that will be available for the next two months.
The “Freedom of the Baskets” proposes the planned return to the open fields.
With prudent coaching guidance for individual training, so that the next period (April – May – June and July) is the first step of an upward course in the post-quarantine season.
In order to be able to climb the next step in September, again in open fields, with a full return to the closed fields, if all goes well, from November 2021. Then the return to the field will take place.
ON THE PRACTICE
With good weather as an ally, open all the open courts for the basketball academies and the developmental age divisions, on the same day that each respective school level will open.
Τμήμα Each section will train for one hour. This will make more training hours available.
Τμήμα Each department will train with a maximum of 12 children. In each basketball will always train the same 6 children, with content the basic elements of individual ball handling technique and executive ability.
⦁ Elements of fitness, stretching and balance. will be part of the individual training program.
⦁ Each section will gradually return to training. In the first week there will be two workouts. From the second week the trainings will become three and will remain in this number until the end of the school year.
⦁ The results of the weekly rapid school tests will always be available to the club and the coach in each training session.
. The trainer will wear a protective mask throughout the training.
⦁ There will be individual attendance and departure. The next training session will start 15 minutes after the departure of the previous section.
Παιδί Each child will participate with their own personal ball. When this is not possible, the available balls of the club will be disinfected for their next use by other children. Any other material will be purely individual (eg ropes, dumbbells).
⦁ With the end of the school obligations and in connection with the positive development of the pandemic, the first contact trainings will start. In each basket the same 6 players will be able to play 3-on-3 games, without the use of a screen but with pass-movement and one-on-one play.
Camp Summer camps with individual technical contents, in daily practice, will be able to be organized during the summer holidays.
Again, however, individual training measures will be observed and the children who play in the doubles will be members of the same training group.
⦁ In case of time out in the training process, the children will keep their distance from each other and will drink water from their own exclusive bottle.
. If there is a positive result from the rapid tests, the trainings of the specific department will be postponed for 2 weeks.
. During August the children will follow an individual training program and will return to the open fields with the opening of the schools.
. At the beginning of the school year, the situation will be evaluated in order to start the coaching process of 5 against 5 in the older children and the championships of the developmental ages of the next period.
“Basketball Freedom” is part of social sports freedom. In order to be able to think again as a group, beyond ourselves, to act socially without being directed, from the compulsion of the no longer observed measures, to other situations: squares and sidewalks full of people, improvised trainings in parks and squares, or group trainings in open spaces covered by “veils of mystery”…
Sports leadership is facing a crucial decision. To give the “green light” to every young person, to return in parallel with his school and to the sports team activity. To allow him, through sports education, to be again a member of a team and a social person.
Athletic team action as a social freedom is not allowed to waste any more time.
Especially for young children, young athletes who need more than ever and the psychological freedom of sports.
The day of “Freedom of the Baskets” must come as soon as possible. To be able to reduce the negative effects of quarantine on young children. To be able to go on with their lives, minimizing the impact of their fears, insecurities, anxieties about the future, etc.
The “Freedom of the Baskets” will redefine the level of moral freedom of our state.
So let’s go, responsible people, let’s go together with responsibility and joint effort to compete in every open sports field, for every sport, for a proper restoration of the lives of our children and in general of all the people of sports.
With appreciation and in a spirit of cooperation.
Physical Education Teacher
Basketball and Special Basketball Coach