RGU link with Basketball Scotland targets winning formula

Robert Gordon University (RGU) has formed a new partnership with Basketball Scotland which will help players across the country maximise their performance on the court.

Donnie MacDonald, RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science subject lead.Students and staff from the university’s School of Health Sciences have been working Scotland teams at youth level in a bid to improve their training and development so each player can perform to the best of their ability.

Donnie MacDonald, RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science subject lead, has worked as a volunteer coach with Scotland’s youth teams for the last five years and recently led a series of performance workshops to put players through their paces.

The sessions marked the start of a reciprocal arrangement which will see RGU provide skills and expertise in exchange for course promotion support and student placement opportunities through Basketball Scotland.

Mr MacDonald travelled with the Scotland team to the Basketball European Championships in Bulgaria this summer where the team endured a difficult time against some very strong opposition in the competition.

He said: “We could see from the performance of the top teams that there was a physical fitness gap between our National Team players and those of the other European sides. The players had to compete in nine games over 11 days and found this schedule much tougher than what they were used to.

“After the tournament we looked at ways of addressing this and have identified a number of tests to set fitness parameters and standards for those who are aiming to compete for Scotland and the Great Britain Team.

“We also looked at literature which evaluated top European and American players on these same tests to set standards for each age group that we would expect to be achieved by players at international level.”

Fourth year Sport and Exercise Science students Kirsten McKay and Emily Geddes worked with Mr MacDonald on the player tests, gaining valuable experience and using skills which would be expected in the workplace.

The sessions took place at Dean’s Community High School in Livingston on Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, November 1.

The tests have been conducted on U15, U16 and U18 male and female players from last year’s Scotland youth teams. They looked at speed, agility, core strength and jumping.

The team also took a number of body measurements, including: height, arm-span and weight which can be used to predict adult height in order manage athletes appropriately to prevent injury.

Basketball Scotland will be able to use the data gathered to advise each player on what they need to do to maximise their potential.

The aim is for the players’ fitness to be improved and their risk of injury to be reduced before the European Championships next summer.

Barry Lang, Head of Basketball at Basketball Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Robert Gordon University. Our performance programme, and in particular our National Teams, will benefit greatly from the expertise and enthusiasm that Donnie and the RGU Staff and Students bring to the sessions.

"Testing and analysis is an area that we need to improve and our players and coaching staff have bought in to the new concepts and principles. I believe that these key interventions will ensure that our players are better educated and that they will become better athletes as a result.”

Mr MacDonald added: “The test sessions have provided us with performance baselines and development expectations for players at different levels. Our students will also be able to use the data for research project purposes.

“It has also been an opportunity for coaches from throughout Scotland to learn about the tests we have been using and how to deliver them too. The work will also help to develop a more professional culture within the sport.”

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Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport