Six Teams, Six Women's Head Coaches at Championships
GOLD COAST (Australia) – Every woman’s team at the FIBA Under 15 Oceania Championship had a female head-coach in a historic achievement for the region.
Women in Basketball is a FIBA Strategic Priority and in the region of Oceania, the results are shining through at a youth and open level with national federations appointing female head coaches.
At the FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022, 75 percent of female teams had female head coaches, with another three also coaching at the FIBA Polynesian Cup 2022 including one female as head coach of a men’s team. And then there is the 100 per cent who coached at the FIBA Under 15 Women’s Oceania Championship.
Jennifer Maroroa was the Papua New Guinea Women’s Head-Coach at the FIBA Under 15 Championship and highlighted the privilege of leading a national team and watching players develop.
“Seeing the young players grow in confidence in these events as they develop their skills, and find themselves fitting into the group, and understanding the role that they play as a member of a team and community, it is an honor,” Maroroa said
Maroroa has been coaching youth basketball since 2014 with roles national at Under 19 and Under 17 level and has seen the evolution of female basketball participation in PNG. “Seeing how much natural talent there is around me is a motivating factor,” Maroroa said. “To become a better coach, I can be a conduit for positive change, to guide, inspire and support the youth in our basketball circles to strive for their dreams”
Alongside Maroroa, New Zealand Women’s Under 15 Coach, Melanie Bennett, supports the importance of supporting young basketballers develop on and off the court.
“The most rewarding thing about coaching basketball at youth level, specifically the females, is seeing the growth and development,” Bennett said. “Our Under 15s campaign has been going for 16 months and being able to see how these girls have evolved and grown, not only physically, but mentally and their IQ has developed. Building a team culture is one of the most important things that I believe when framing a team together – that is the most important thing to me.”
With national federations being encouraged to recruit and develop more female coaches at all levels, FIBA Executive Director – Oceania, Amanda Jenkins said this is just the tip of the iceberg for the region.
“As a region this is a fantastic accomplishment after many years of dedicated interventions to see the results at our flagship events,” Jenkins said. “Several coaches have taken part in out dedicated female only course over the last two years. We know that there are talented female coaches across Oceania and providing these opportunities, encourages and enhances opportunities for them to coach at an international level.”
National federations in the region are leading the way with Basketball Australia recently launching She Hoops to support female basketball development with a focus on coaching, while Basketball New Zealand have been coordinating their Girls Got Game initiative with great success over a period of time.