Friday, 16 May 2014
A new basketball programme is being launched at the University of Worcester Arena – for the over 60s.
Hot on the heels of the success of the University’s other basketball teams – including BBL trophy and play-off winners Worcester Wolves – the new initiative aims to get the more mature population enjoying the sport.
The programme is organised jointly by the University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, the Worcester Wolves and the Worcester branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A).
Currently, up to 20 men and women in their 60s to 80s attend a weekly, hour long class. Most attendees are U3A members, but the programme is open to all local people.
Most participants have not played basketball since they were at school, if at all, so the first sessions have focused on fitness and basic basketball skills such as dribbling, passing and shooting. As players build up their skills and fitness the rules of the game, tactics and competitive play are included.
While university staff supervise the sessions, the actual coaching is carried out by Worcester Wolves professional players, including team captain Alex Owumi.
The original idea for the programme came from Roger Prout, retired former Head of Student Services at the University of Worcester. “When coming up to retirement last year I was thinking of ways to keep active and fit whilst doing things I never seemed to have time for when working,” he said.
“While many retired people play sports like badminton or bowls, basketball seemed to offer the chance to get involved in a team sport which is fairly straightforward to pick up and has the advantage for people our age of being non-contact and one where the pace can be adjusted to suit different levels of mobility.
“The main aim is to be actively involved in a competitive sport and have fun and so far it has been a great success. We are really lucky to be able to use the magnificent University of Worcester Arena and to be coached by members of the Wolves team who are all great guys. They work us hard but make it great fun.”
Dr. Susie Hart, University of Worcester Director of Sport Partnerships and Community Engagement, added: “Senior Adapted Basketball is the latest addition to our thriving University Seniors (60+yrs) Programme which welcomes over 200 community participants onto campus each week. We are establishing a very proactive local support network, comprising the County Sport Partnership, U3A, Age UK, Worcester City and County Council Leisure staff. Our City must treasure its seniors.”
The current basketball programme is being run as a pilot to test the level of interest and identify areas for future development. Experience so far points to weekly sessions being offered from September with no shortage of enthusiastic players signing up. For more information please contact Chris Cox on 01905 542661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.