The BNI Development Academy aims to provide a performance pathway (linking club junior teams with governing body performance squads). It was established by Basketball NI for the 2012- 2013 season. The Basketball NI Academy working group have developed policies and procedures surrounding player and coach recruitment and selection.
It is important for young performers to have an opportunity to make the most of their abilities and potentials. The academy programme provides clubs with an outlet for their talented players. Basketball NI has a responsibility for talent identification and performance development in partnership with local clubs. Basketball NI is in the unique position that it can, through its affiliation to Basketball Ireland, have players participate in international FIBA age-group competitions and also participate in high performance opportunities provided by ‘home-countries’ and Commonwealth structures. The Academy supports high performance development and aims to maximise the opportunities for both boys and girls to participate in high performance competition.
It should also be noted that the Basketball NI Academy still exists as being unique within Basketball Ireland’s governance. No other region currently operates an Academy that caters for so many players of both gender.
Overall Academy Performance Objective
The overall objective of the Academy programme is to increase the numbers of Basketball NI under-age players selected for Basketball Ireland under-age squads and teams (FIBA U16 and U18) and for Basketball NI age-group teams to participate in other appropriate competitive opportunities.
A £90 academy fee is levied on all Academy players payable in 3 instalments. Any players who are part of Ireland development squads are not asked to pay for the Academy given the cost of international programmes and the fact that they miss a number of sessions due to clash of commitments. Any player who needs assistance (on free school meals) is accommodated so finances are not a barrier.
The Academy’s financial outgoings are centred on the following areas:
- Facility hire
- Girls Strength and Conditioning
- Referee and table officials for competitions
- Management expenses for Summer Slam
The annual academy programme runs from August/September through to June and consists of monthly training sessions, development camps and competitive opportunities. The programme operates with the following age-group squads:
Squads range in size from 29 to 16 players.
Academy Selection and Talent Identification Policy
Clubs are invited to nominate up to 3 players for consideration in each of the above age-group squads. Clubs are asked to take into account the following when making their nominations: current performance level; and developmental potential (nominations are particularly welcome from players of 179cms and above). Where clubs have been able to demonstrate dominance in age categories in Basketball NI leagues they may put forward more than 3 nominations in the relevant age category. Equally where teams have struggled to be competitive in league games less than 3 nominees would be expected. Every effort is made by the BNI Academy to make sure each club is represented in each age category.
Clubs are asked to note that the Academy is a high performance opportunity and does not focus on fundamental player development. All players nominated will be subject to a performance assessment by Academy coaches and will either be offered a place on an age-group monthly squad programme. If funds allow those not selected are invited to attend an age-group development camp programme. Club coaches are welcome to attend all Academy sessions.