Presidents report from AGM July 2022
I was expecting this past 12 months to have been a year of recovery - at best a year of consolidation - for our basketball club. Instead, I'm delighted to say that it's been a year of growth for Ballan Brumbies.
This time last year we were struggling to fill out teams due to COVID whilst preparing for a finals series that ultimately would be cancelled. Personally, I was coaching 5 teams on Saturdays. As much as I love coaching, it was exhausting!
Now, we sit with a club record 17 junior teams and four senior teams with overall player numbers pushing the 160 mark. We did lose a few players post COVID, but we've also attracted close to 30 players new to the club post lockdowns, the overwhelming majority having never played the sport prior. We have a bunch of new committee members building immeasurably on the incredible work of those who have come before them. Lots of credit for what we do here comes my way. As much as in know basketball, I'm pretty useless when it comes to the logistics of running a sports club. It's the committee that keep things moving. Seriously, give them a hug. They deserve it.
I'd like to focus on coaching for a moment. We've a raft of new junior coaches coming through and, frankly, making huge strides. Amy O'Brien has developed into an outstanding coach, as has Riley Dart. The fact that I let them coach my youngest (a talented baller, but he can be a handful) hopefully shows the trust I have in them. Jye Mullane won a championship in his first season and I've had multiple parents come to me to talk about the positive impact that Max Farrell and Oscar Marion are having on their kids. We now have new coaches coming through in Finn Solterbeck, Joe Seketa and Harrison Clark. The future of our coaching ranks - and by extension your kids playing futures - gets stronger each and every season.
A separate word for Heath Cooper. I can't say enough about this young man. He coaches our quite brilliant under 12 girls team - a team that has 3 kids who are still under 10's - and most importantly looks after our talent pipeline: Aussie Hoops. Given our relatively tiny catchment population, the Aussie Hoops program is so vitally important in bringing children into the club. Heath does fantastic work getting his Aussie Hoops kids hooked on the sport and developing their skills to the point where they can join the club proper. As well as doing all of that, despite being just 17 years old, he develops the coaches who have worked alongside him at Aussie Hoops. Max, Finn and Joe have all benefitted greatly from working with Heath.
Moving to seniors, I'm thrilled that we have players transitioning through from the junior to senior ranks. We've got a really good mix of veterans and younger adults playing in our teams, helping those kids that are playing senior basketball in their development. A note that whilst we have good numbers in our men's teams, we do need more players on the women's side. Ladies, if you're keen to try out the sport that your kids are loving so much, or if you're a former baller thinking about getting back into it, please contact the club and we'll put you onto the right people.
Financially, we're in good shape, despite the pandemic. That's thanks to a mixture of solid financial management (again, thank you to the committee) and generous sponsorship from WQM Maintenance and Rogers Performance Transmissions.
Possibly the only issue we have at the moment is a lack of training space. A second court at Ballan primary would be a Godsend. If anybody has a spare half a million burning a hole in their pocket, feel free to reach out!
Finally, the end of this season marks our 5th birthday as a club. When Renee & I founded this club back in 2017, we thought we'd have three teams in our first season (we had nine) and could, with a little luck, grow it to perhaps 10 junior teams and a couple of senior teams by this stage. Clearly, we sold it all a bit short! I'm so proud of what we have achieved as a club. We've developed players and coaches through to representative level. We've taken kids that had no interest in sport, or didn't like the 'tranditional' options and given them an athletic passion. That, in turn, gives kids a confidence that they might not otherwise have. Make no mistake: what we do here makes a difference.
On a personal note, this club has become - next to family - everything to me. I bleed for these kids and love that they're so passionate about playing for us. Also, as somebody that isn't from the area, the club has been wonderful for me personally on a social level. I've made friends here that I'll have for life.
We've got a great thing going here & I thank you all for supporting us.