About Our Program
The program has been structured as a building block process. The aim is to develop and provide players from a young age with fundamental skills and then gradually build on these as they progress through age groups including additional programs such as strength and conditioning,
academic support, resilience and mental health care, life skills, employment pathways and community participation.
Our program is unique amongst our peers as it is a reflection of our core values and is premised on our belief that the role of sport is not just about competition but helping equip the boys and girls with skills that are not only applicable to basketball but can be utilised in life, future
vocations and in the community.
Our coaching structure has been established as a Club wide approach to enable a philosophy to be developed and taught as a unified program across all age groups. This will be implemented by the Director Youth Development – Manny Hendrix Jr and Director of Coaching, Darren Perry and the Head Coaches for each age group.
Manny Hendrix – an experienced basketball player, coach and mentor for young men and women looking to develop their basketball, education and life skills through commitment and hard work. Manny has worked with and mentored athletes who have gone on to join NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 basketball programs across the United States.
Darren Perry – Darren has an extensive professional Basketball career, spanning more than 250 games over 10 years in the NBL, including with the 1987 Brisbane Bullets and 1992 South East Melbourne Magic championship teams. His extensive and enviable decade-long coaching track record includes stints as Head Coach of Australia’s U19 Emus in the FIBA World Cup and being named Basketball Victoria’s Coach of the Year in 2017. Darren most recently spent several years coaching the Dandenong Rangers NBL1 Senior Men’s team.
The program structure has been designed to build skills and participation on a scaled basis starting with Under 12s and then moving up through the age groups. This has been done so as to allow time at each age group for basic skills, theory, participation and commitment to be
introduced as building blocks one on top of the other. We have done this so that each age group builds on the foundations of the prior and gradually introduces the wider aspects of our program to not overwhelm players and parents alike.
Defensive and Offensive Programs
At an elite level we want our players to be challenged, work hard and learn fundamental skills that allow them to not only compete at a high level but get the best out of themselves.
Enjoyment and a sense of personal achievement should accompany this process. With this philosophical approach we have designed our program to teach players fundamental defensive and offensive skills, how to work within a structure, be able to make decisions and to replicate
some of the systems that they watch their favourite players operate in everyday in the NBA, WNBA, NBL, WNBL and NCAA. Our system will allow us to show our players that no matter what level you are, the fundamentals we are teaching are used not only by them but the professional players they watch on TV.
Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning will be a large contributing factor to our success as a club moving forward. With the increased training and playing workload of our players we want to ensure our players are taking care of their bodies and doing the necessary things to keep them on the
basketball court. We have hired trained professionals to make sure our players are restoring the strength that they lose after every practice and game. We will also be teaching them fundamental movements such as jumping and landing the correct way to prevent injuries. This program will not only benefit their basketball game but provide an underlying level of conditioning for other sports they play such as AFL, Soccer, Netball, Hockey etc.
We understand that parents will have questions around strength and conditioning for younger players so as this program is developed, parents and players will have access to the full details and we will be holding information sessions for parents and players who would like to understand
more about this part of the program.
We also encourage parents to attend some of the training sessions in the first few months to get to know our strength coaches and to ask any questions you might have.
Playing representative basketball is a serious commitment for players and their families. However we have designed an approach that scales up the level of commitment that as players get older, along with including the additional support so they have a well-rounded program as they mature.
In order to develop a high quality and competitive program, player commitment is of paramount importance, so we are outlining clear expectations on attendance to support the culture we want instilled in our elite program and to support the commitment of players who put in the work. Following consultation with many parents and benchmarking our program with other highly successful clubs it is evident that we need to increase our training in order to compete at the same level as other VJBL clubs. With this in mind, in 2023, training will include two sessions per
week which will be compulsory and players who do not attend both training sessions will see their playing time reduced.
Academic and Life Skills Program
Due to the success that we have had with our Academic and Life Skills program in our Boys 18s and Youth League program we have expanded this out to boys and girls programs from 16s up. Experience has highlighted that teams that play, learn and spend non-basketball time together
generate better outcomes both on and off the court. This part of the program is designed to give participants critical personal and academic skills to improve their prospects as they enter society as young adults and to leverage the different skill sets each individual player has for the benefit of their teammates, their team and program.
Homework club has now evolved to Study Hall and it is expected that secondary school players in u18’s and youth league will attend this part of the program. We will create a space for all team members to spend time completing homework, working on assignments, studying for tests and
helping each other. This time will be supervised by a combination of team coaches and volunteer tutors, who can also assist players with specific work if needed.
As an extension to our Study Hall program, Life Skills is designed to introduce additional training and development for our players across a variety of areas. These programs will be delivered during the school terms and the school holiday programs throughout the year. We have
developed a number of partnerships with external providers to support these initiatives with a focus in the 2023 year on:
• Financial Literacy
• Resilience Training
• Vocational Training – We will offer specific vocational training courses throughout the year, including referee and coaching courses and Barista training amongst others to give our players the necessary qualifications to participate in our community program or to assist in obtaining external part time or full time employment.
• Employment Pathways – We have partnered with the Retail Prodigy Group, which holds the master Retail Franchise license for Nike Stores across Australia and New Zealand, to develop opportunities and pathways for program players to complete work experience, training and
ultimately obtain employment in the groups Nike Stores in Melbourne. This partnership will allow us to work closely with program players and RPG’s HR team to identify employment opportunities, prepare players for job interviews, provide them with coaching and support and
real-life experience on applying for a job. This will help fill the gap for many players who have previously been unable to obtain part-time employment or work experience and will be an important stepping stone in supporting their confidence as they mature and move into the
employment world. As part of this partnership, RPG will also provide us with discounted access to team shoes and training apparel for our teams, setting us apart from our competitors with Nike products with Collingwood branding.
Our Community program has been designed to leverage the Basketball, Academic and Life Skills components and have our players working in and around the club to support activities and all members. It is intended that these activities will include the following:
• Assisting and running basketball clinics
• Volunteering in the canteen
• Participating in nominated club community projects
• Big V game day crew
A number of these activities are linked to the Club’s financial literacy programs along with the vocational training provided as part of our life skills program.
If you have any general enquiries about our Basketball Program please direct these to Manny Hendrix