All About Leadonites Basketball
Dozens of young people enjoy weekly training sessions and matches with Leadonites Basketball. Training at Ledbury Leisure Centre, the club has grown quickly in the two years since it was formed. Matthew Chalkley is the club’s founder and tells us more.
How did the club start?
My son had started playing for a team in Gloucester when they changed the training requirements that effectively excluded him from team selection. So, with my family’s help, I took the coaching award and I set up a club in Ledbury so that he could play matches again. We registered with Basketball England in April 2015, starting training in May 2017 and quickly grew to having three different age group training sessions per week.
Who plays and why?
Anybody and everybody, but we seem to have picked up a lot of kids for whom traditional sports such as football and rugby didn’t seem to work out for them. But with time and effort they have advanced to the point where they represent the town with pride and passion. Their skill level and knowledge of the sport are now quite impressive; certainly many of them are very quick to help me with the rules when I referee them during end of training session scrimmage matches! Though the sport is not for all, many parents comment that the club has had a very positive effect upon their child’s life.
What’s a typical week at the club?
We currently run four training session age groups from Under 12 through to Under 17s; though in reality many players train twice a week by also attending the next age group, up or down. The Cubs (U12s) and Seniors (U17s) train on Tuesday nights. The Juniors (U13s) and Inter (U15s) train on Thursday nights with an extra session on Wednesday night used as a more skills based session. Then we have teams playing matches most weekends with the U13s and U15s playing in the Birmingham based TBL and all other teams either playing friendlies or central venue tournaments where a team may play as many as four short duration matches in one day.
How do you rate the success of your teams?
We play teams from much bigger places than Ledbury, including Bristol, Gloucester and the suburbs of Birmingham. Overall we lose more than we win, but for a small town we often punch above our weight. Last season’s Under 16s were our first team to have a winning season, beating the likes of Gloucester, Worcester and Newport. We have high hopes this season for our Under 15s, who are coached by Ian Robb, who comes with a good background in basketball; as opposed to my background which is mainly football.
Is there space for new players?
We’re still on the lookout for more players for the U14s (year 9) and at the moment we’re on the lookout for Under 11 and Under 12 players. Being tall helps, being athletic is better, but best of all is being enthusiastic. If a new recruit is enthusiastic then they will want to learn and coaching them is much easier.
It costs £12 a month to train with us.