Shepparton News



- By Zac Standish

Basketball Victoria announced last week all under-12 competitio­ns across the state would introduce size 5 basketball­s for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

This comes after months of indepth research and recommenda­tions from Basketball Victoria’s high performanc­es head coaches concluded that the smaller ball would help younger players develop the fundamenta­l skills of the game such as shooting and dribbling.

Shepparton Gators under-12 girls coach Troy Lundberg said he was excited by this change.

“I think it is a great initiative, anything that will help the kids to develop the skills quicker, especially the important ones like shooting and dribbling is fantastic, so I am really excited to see how it goes,” Lundberg said.

“The ball is significan­tly smaller, which will help the kids work out where the correct place to put their hands is — while the lighter weight will also have an impact on their ability to make the distance to the ring, especially later on in games.”

He said the initiative would also go a long way to developing the confidence of youngsters, making them more likely to pursue the game into their teenage years.

“The whole plan behind this is to get more kids active in the game and, sometimes, at this age they aren’t strong enough to shoot the ball the right height or distance to the hoop, so this smaller ball should certainly be more inclusive for all the kids,” he said.

Basketball Victoria high performanc­e and pathway general manager Grant Wallace said this modificati­on would have a positive impact on developing young players.

“We want to enable Victorian players to develop exceptiona­l shooting skills so they can take their talents to the highest level across Australia and the world,” Wallace said.

“A size 5 basketball for under-12 competitio­ns will enable players to hone their technique and become better shooters throughout the rest of their time in basketball.

“We also believe the policy will enhance enjoyment of the game and in turn allow for better player retention.”

Although the current COVID-19 situation has put a halt on Lundberg introducin­g the new ball to his girls, he expects there will be no issues in adapting to the change once training is allowed to resume.

“We only had the Gators tryouts before everything was cancelled, so I have only just gone down to the stadium and picked up the balls for my team this year and had a bit of a bounce around with them at home and they feel good,” he said.

“It wouldn’t really matter if you gave the kids a ball with dimples or bubbles all over it they will always find a way to make it work, I think it will be more the parents and coaches that take a bit of time to adapt.”

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