London to Texas: High School Basketball

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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After relocating to Dallas, Texas last year I have had the opportunity to become involved in the American youth basketball system by establishing networks within public and primary schools.

I am in awe of the sports culture in the USA and have now fully comprehended how far the U.K is behind this country in its sports development. Despite attending college here in the USA, my most recent relocation has been an extremely eye opening journey for me and given a very clear picture of the improvements needed in my home country.

In writing this article I hope that it will give players from the U.K a better insight into the US High School system, and share some of the off-court advantages that the players are given (On-court article will follow).

US High Schools are home to state of the art gymnasiums with high seating capacities (min. 500), glass backboards, breakaway rims and wooden sprung floors that are used only for select indoor sports. These gymnasium traits are flaunted by even the lowest-level programs. In contrast I have played in BBL games in the UK which are hosted in very poor facilities, despite being the highest level of professional basketball in this country!

The professionalism of High School basketball in the USA is second to none; the entertainment factor of one of these games goes over and above professional sporting events back home. US High School games feature announcers, live music, performances and of course, cheerleaders! The game is seen as a grand event that is prepared and organised in a classy fashion, including the player’s attire with every team dressed in matching uniforms, warm-ups and trainers.

The stands are packed with roaring students who exhibit a die-hard passion for their team from start to finish. High School games also attract parents, family friends, teachers and many members of the local community who embrace the atmosphere and competition on the court. Games are always scheduled in the evening to accommodate as many fans as possible, who turn up wearing their schools’ colours, logos and emblems.

I have been watching regular season basketball games that could have easily been mistaken for championship games. It is inspiring and refreshing to see the level of support and passion shared by both home and away teams.

A number of local companies invest in the school and its sports teams and in return they are advertised through game brochures, banners and signs. These companies feel it is their duty and role to support the local school and community.

Every team has a highly valued and respected coaching staff that has been hand-picked by the school to deliver the best team coaching possible for the players involved. These are paid roles and the Head Coach is an esteemed member of the local community.

High School basketball in the USA is a great night out that is enjoyed by students, family members, friends and members of the local community and I’ve been very privileged to be a part of it. I hope that we in the UK can learn a thing or two about high-quality basketball from our American friends!