6 Traits of High-Performing Aussie Hoops Programs

Author: Darren Anderson, Community Basketball Manager (BA)

Every club and association wants their programs to “perform”: to grow participation/membership and develop a positive brand around their organisation. From a mixture of parent surveys and observation, we have developed a model of 6 common traits of Aussie Hoops Local Centres who perform at a high level across three areas:

A. Quality of Participant Experiences (the satisfaction of parents and kids);

B. Quantity of Participant Experiences (the number of participants at a Local Centre); and

C. Conversion of Participant Experiences (the number of participants joining club competitions)

Whether you are delivering a program in a regional town or major metropolitan area, we believe all of these traits are attainable for your Local Centre.

Many of these traits are applicable across other areas of your business such as State League game days, Sporting Schools and holiday camps.

Our model identifies 6 traits:

1. They Understand Fun Comes First

Coaches understand that the only child that develops their skills is the child that returns next week. They approach the session as an coach/entertainer and exclusively use activities that are FISH:

  • Fun
  • Inclusive
  • Safe
  • High Involvement

2. They Excel at Customer Service

If fun and enjoyment is the golden ticket for participants, for parents the same is true of your customer service. Some key examples we’ve observed include:

  • Emails are sent to parents at key program milestones – pre-program, mid-program and post-program as a minimum, along with any events or public holidays.
  • Welcome/sign-in tables are set-up at least 10-15 minutes prior to the session
  • Proper planning has ensured that the Participant Packs are lined up and ready to go for the first session – and is distributed with a smile and enthusiasm.
  • Parent email enquiries are responded to within 48 hours.
  • The use of social media as a tool to communicate and share the stories of your program.
  • Nothing is assumed – administrators do not assume that parents know stadiums are closed on Labour Day Weekend.

Basketball Australia estimates the average value of a converted Aussie Hooper to your organisation is $7,500. A simple conversation with parents discussing their child’s next steps in basketball is often all it takes.

3. They Thrive On Consistent Delivery

Delivering one great session or program is an important step, but what distinguishes the Local Centres with large programs and U8-10 competitions is that they have delivered consistently good experiences over weeks, months and years.

  • A core group of coaches are available for the entirety of the program.
  • Coaches are trained to start sessions on time, every time, with the same level of fanfare on each occasion.

4. They Allocate Coaches to Groups within Sessions

Groups are best compiled before the program starts, based on experience/age/gender of participants. These group sizes:

  • 5-6 year olds – 1 coach with 5-8 participants per group
  • 7-8 year olds – 1 coach with 7-10 participants per group
  • 9-10 year olds– 1 coach with 9-13 participants per group

Allocating coaches to specific, consistent groups of participants gives participants and coaches alike a sense of belonging and greater connection with the group. This greatly enhances the chance of participants continuing into club pathways.

5. They Utilise Theme Days Purposefully

Themed sessions add colour and character to your program, and make it more than just a skills development program. Examples

  • Bring a Friend Days are targeted early in newly established programs to grow numbers, or simultaneously with launching registrations for the new term.
  • Club Colours Weeks are used to graduate kids into Under 8 and Club programs
  • Kids vs Parents Days are used to engage parents and promote opportunities for home-based activities and recruit new coaches
  • Come and Try Days are over-allocated with coaches to maximise every family’s first experience with Basketball

6. They Have a Growth Mindset

The highest-performing associations don’t get stuck by statements like “we’ve only ever run programs on a Saturday morning” or “we don’t have any suitable coaches”. They always seek to be proactive and seek best principles, approaching their State/Territory manager for new insights on how they can further improve their program delivery.

Coaches and administrators praise the efforts of their colleagues whilst also reflecting and self-critiquing their sessions.

Questions you can ask post-session: “How did we present today?” “What could we try next time?”

Putting it all Together

Mastering these traits is no easy journey for an association, so break it down into manageable steps. Pick one or two behaviours covered in this article and implement them into your current program – make them clear to your staff and reinforce them regularly to make them habits.

Utilise other Associations and your State/Territory representative as well on this journey – there are some great minds in our sport and our aim through Aussie Hoops is to bridge those networks and connections for the benefit of all.