My basketball career started at basketballpaisley all the way back in 2005 at the Erskine Eagles. Since then I have been lucky enough to represent both Scotland and GB as well as being a scholarship athlete for both my undergraduate and masters’ degrees. Furthermore, I played for Caledonia Pride during the first two seasons of their WBBL debut and played in Spain for half a season.
Basketball in Scotland has changed in a magnitude of ways over the 15 years I have been around. Participation levels have definitely increased, media coverage has broadened, and social media has allowed basketball to be broadcasted at all levels from grassroots to professional. However, the biggest changes I have seen in the country have been related to male sport. For example, Glasgow Rocks have really upped their game in terms of brand awareness, especially in Glasgow, and you could say there are three ‘big teams’ in the city now.
Media coverage and creating a strong brand of any sport team is key and I think this should be the main focus of female sports teams. From experience this could be described as a vicious circle as sport outlets tend to cover teams with a strong fan base and following however their support is needed to gain momentum. Having said this, many initiatives have been launched to show how great female sport is and clubs and organisations, at all levels, have really invested in boasting about their female athletes. This leads to a more consistent representation of female athletes and I think it’s very important to showcase your elite athletes. The GB women’s team have been much more visible and have given their players a platform to show basketball can be a career.
Women’s basketball may be years behind their male companions but it is definitely a growing area throughout the UK with the establishment of the WBBL and our first professional team in Caledonia Pride as well as the strong grassroot clubs such as basketballpaisley and the City of Edinburgh. The only way is up for us female basketballers.