What made you want to try and achieve the Basketball Ireland Club Mark?
“It simply made sense. We used the Club Mark process as an opportunity to review our own policies and structures and to ensure we have adopted a best practice approach to governance of all aspects of our club. The Mark itself validates that our procedures are of the highest standard and we are proud to be able to share that achievement with our members.”
How did you find the Basketball Ireland Club Mark process?
“Initially when we looked at what was required, we thought it would be relatively straightforward based on what we already had in place. We did review everything more thoroughly and we identified several areas that we could improve upon and took the time to prepare the submission and put those improvements in place as we went. Paul at BI was very supportive throughout, and their review process was quick to providing feedback to keep us moving.”
Can you tell us a bit about your club - how many teams do you have, when the club was founded and some achievements/highlights?
“Established in the 80s we have grown into one of the bigger clubs in the country. We cater for boys’ and girls’ teams from U9 through to senior men’s and ladies’ teams. In several age groups we have more than one team. Whenever possible we also run baby ballers for children 4-6 and social basketball for adults. We compete in all local and league and cup competitions and have had a high degree of success. We compete in all National Cup competitions from U18 up for both men and women. In terms of recent success, we entered a team in the Mens Division 1 National League 3 seasons ago. We won the Presidents Cup three years in a row and after narrowly missing out on our first two years we finally achieved promotion to the Super League at the end of the 2019 season where we still await our first game.”
What challenges do you face in the club if any?
“In any normal year our challenges are no different to many other clubs. With such a big club ensuring gym time for training and games to cater for all our teams is always a challenge. We are lucky to have some very experienced coaches who have been with the club since the start and they do fantastic work with the facilities we have, but we can always do with more gym time and volunteers whether that be helping with the teams, administration, fundraising, table officials or taking up coaching.
Player retention and club growth are also a challenge due to COVID. We’ve seen even more inquires of late about people wanting to join the club but current restrictions on training and games indoors mean we are limited in what we can offer relative to the pre-covid basketball experience. We’ve also seen the growing frustration with no clear path forward for indoor sports and we run the risk of not being able to attract new members and our existing players moving away to play other sports.”
What difference is the Basketball Ireland Club Mark going to make for your club?
“We are very proud of this achievement. The Club Mark is a nationally recognised quality mark and demonstrates to members and parents that we are looking to continually improve on how we operate. The process helped us look at how we manage the club and have updated our policies, health, and risk assessments to benefit the overall governance of the club. Signing up to the Cara disability charter as a direct result of the process is another area that we hope we can promote and do our best to support in the coming years.”
Do you think you will engage with the Club Mark system and achieve all the way up to Platinum Club Mark? If so, what do you need to do to get your club to this stage?
“Yes, we have already looked ahead at both Silver and Gold and hope to pursue those as soon as is practical. At first glance we probably have more work to do on Silver than we will once we get to look at Gold, but we will get there.”
What are the goals for the season ahead?
“Obviously with the Super League going ahead we look forward to our first season in the top tier and see if we can emulate the success we had in Div 1. We also have some other projects within the club that we’d like to progress but it’s difficult to look past COVID right now. We need to get all our teams back indoors training and playing in leagues safely at all age levels as a matter of priority.”
What would you say to other clubs thinking about getting involved in the Basketball Ireland Club Mark?
“Without question every club should engage in the process to ensure we have consistent standards across the entire basketball community. Take your time and with the support of BI you will find it very worthwhile.”