Young Indigenous Basketball Academy
The Young Indigenous Basketball Academy is a skills, mentoring and support program designed to assist in the development of basketball pathways while supporting improvements in educational engagement and outcomes and employment opportunities for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketballers. YIBA will provide access to elite coaching and playing pathways for its members, as well as supporting their school based academic and sporting outcomes through targeted coaching and mentoring. It will be comprised of two squads of 13-16 year old boys and girls with a minimum of 15 in each squad. Trials start in November 2017 in Brisbane with the aim of a full program start in January 2018. We are currently seeking interest from those who are interested in joining.
- Monthly 3-hour specialist basketball coaching and mentoring training sessions.
- Two-day elite camps run each school holidays.
- Trial games throughout the year.
- Support engaging with local basketball associations to join clubs with the goal of reaching representative junior and senior sides such as SBL & QBL teams and beyond.
health, fitness & well-being support
Monthly support on topics such as nutrition, health and fitness & mental health by leading local sporting, educational and health organisations.
Each player will have initial fitness testing and monitoring throughout the program. Other fitness and wellbeing activities will include yoga, boxing and strength & conditioning circuit work.
education & employment pathways
With the assistance of the College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research, University of Southern Queensland, academy members are mentored on higher education pathways.
Career pathway mentoring with companies who have active Indigenous Employment Recruitment Programs.
Brian Kerle Basketball Indigenous Clinic
Every school holidays for the last 3 years, Brian Kerle Basketball has held a free clinic for indigenous youth at Hibiscus Stadium at Klump Rd, Upper Mt Gravatt. The most recent program was held on Tuesday, April 10th, when 143 young athletes aged 7 – 17 attended. The clinic is committed to supporting players in reaching their potential both on and off the court. In addition to mastering basketball fundamentals, there are four important life skills that the clinics focus on:
Family: Respect and support for family and elders
Education: Stay in school so you can gain the skills to succeed
Career: Think about your future now – learn about available pathways
Looking after friends: Be on the lookout to help when you’re needed
In order to reinforce this message, Brian invites different well-known identities to talk about their life experiences. Special guests attending the April clinic include Petero Civoniceva, Steve Renouf and Yvonne O'Neill. Petero Civoniceva played over 300 NRL games; Steve Renouf was chosen as a member of the Rugby League Indigenous Team of the Century; and Yvonne O'Neill is a noted Aboriginal artist and Australian Rugby League representative.
They encouraged attendees to acknowledge the importance of showing respect, staying in school and eating healthy. Steve Renouf gave a particularly inspirational talk on how he overcame the difficulties of coming from Murgon and adjusting to life in Brisbane. There was also an emphasis placed on indigenous performing arts, with both music and dance performances (that had been included as part of the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games) as part of the program.
The basketball drills were led by Brian Kerle and Claude Williams, the first indigenous coach in the NBL and a member of the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame. After some warming up exercises, that included stretching and ball handling drills, the participants were split into 6 groups, based mainly on ability and size – with age also being taken into account. Each group then focused on 5 key skills – shooting, rebounding, passing, defence and agility.
Why did Brian Kerle Basketball start this program?
Brian is passionate about basketball but also about giving back to the community. He knows what it takes to build self-belief and a winning team culture, and wants to share this knowledge with young people so that they can reach their potential.
“We are about giving more opportunities to children and teenagers. Many of the young people that attend our clinics have been through traumatic experiences, which have led to a loss of motivation and hope. We look to empower by developing skills, offering career pathways and teaching respect, loyalty and discipline. Our goal is to provide the tools for success in life.”
YIBA: The Young Indigenous Community for the Basketball Elite
Maddie Allen 6/11/2017.
With the Indigenous population in South East Queensland soon to be the largest urban Indigenous population, there is a growing need for support for young Indigenous people. While many elite sporting programs scout Indigenous youth, the common model is one which plucks us from our culture, pops us in a boarding school with no cultural support and uses our struggles as a reason why Indigenous kids shouldn’t be picked on teams.
That’s where the Young Indigenous Basketball Academy does things differently. Run by Olympian and NBL championship winning head coach Brian Kerle, the Young Indigenous Basketball Academy (YIBA) aims to foster a community for talented kids as well as provide top tier basketball training. After working in the Indigenous Unit of the Sports and Recreation Department for over six years, Kerley (as he is affectionately known in the basketball world) gained a first-hand understanding for what Indigenous communities were really asking for. More than that, as he began to form connections with some of the Indigenous sporting legends, he realised that he was in the position to facilitate some of these desires.
Kerley began to throw some ideas around years before YIBA came to fruition. Through his work with the government and his affable nature, he formed friendships with Aunties across the region, seeking advice about the program.
A Success Story…
At his clinics, Brian always looks for mentoring opportunities. When he first noticed
Michael Fleming, at the first clinic in 2015, the young player was obviously very athletic and keen to improve. He was a good passer and shooter and had an above average basketball IQ – an ability to read the game.
However, he was sometimes erratic on the court and needed to develop more control by making better decisions, particularly with bringing his teammates into the game. Over time, Brian pulled him aside every now and then to council him. Brian asked him questions like, “How are you going? What do you think you need to work on? Where do you think you can improve?”
Through the discussions that ensued, and with much practice and dedication, Michael became more team-oriented, got better at finding mis-matches and developed excellent leadership qualities. After attending several clinics, Michael made the Queensland Under 16s team as a point guard and attended the State Championships in Perth, 2017.
Interested in attending?
If you are an indigenous young athlete, and interested in receiving the same kind of mentoring that Michael did, why not think about participating in an experience that can change your life for the better?
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Through his travels to rural and urban communities across Queensland and the Torres Strait, he began to form an idea for an holistic basketball academy – one that combined elite sport with employment and education opportunities, but most importantly, one that highlighted rather than suppressed the cultural needs and wants of a growing Indigenous population.
YIBA isn’t just about identifying Indigenous talent. YIBA is about fostering Indigenous culture through basketball. It is about empowering our Indigenous youth with the tools they need to succeed without sacrificing their connections to their community. YIBA is about connecting people – connecting like-minded Indigenous talent, connecting the young with the old, connecting our future with people in positions to help them achieve their goals.
Full disclosure, I work with Brian Kerle and with YIBA. As an Indigenous woman, I was hesitant at first to see what this white man had in store for Indigenous camps. But the thing about Brian and about YIBA is that he knows when to hand over the reigns. His basketball expertise is second to none, but it is the connections within communities and his ability to bring people together that really make YIBA a special place to be.
Maddie Allen is a semi-professional basketball player and elite basketball coach. Allen is an Awabakal woman living on Yugambeh land. With a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, Allen is currently undertaking a research project into Indigenous elite sportswomen and the gap between what they need, and what is currently provided. Allen has been a part of the Brian Kerle Basketball Academy team since March 2017.