Wednesday – Sonny Sweetman – Eastbourne Kia

The launch of a new academy in any sport is a huge deal, but in wheelchair basketball it has vast community, social and health impacts… On April 22nd the biggest shake up to wheelchair basketball in Southern England kicks off and it is Sussex Wheelchair Basketball leading the way with its core sponsors Birchwood. Today’s player is a brand new lad (19) called Sonny!

​​Sonny’s mum drives the new Ford WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicle). A ford Tourneo Connect with a posterior ramp​, just before the pandemic Sussex Wheelchair Basketball did a school session at Sonny’s school so today’s blog will tell you about Sonny, his mums Ford WAV and also why an academy style of disability sports is so important to firstly help the ambassador program in yesterdays blog and also how that feeds into the league competition in Monday's blog. Sussex Wheelchair Basketball Academy is all about having a long training session that is divided up into ability driven sections, so a setup that allows new people to turn up at the early part of the training session, then as the evening progresses the higher level players attend, this creates a pathway environment where those newer players are fed into the higher levels of training as they improve.

Our experienced coaching team can then allocate certain times and sections of the double-sized basketball facility at BACA targeted on either younger players, newer players, recreational players, and league players. If the first team has a tough game on the weekend ahead the coaches can prioritise that game, if there is a women’s league weekend coming up they may allocate the training time aimed at upcoming women’s league games, and the beauty of this system is it already a working system in other parts of the country… and by having this on a Friday night it means the younger players do not have school or university the following day… (so the coaches can make them work really hard and get really tired).

Sonny who we mentioned above, has attended the BACA sessions since the end of lockdown 3, his wheelchair basketball skills are coming along every week, ball movement, passing, chair control, and all the rules that take a long time to learn are the foundations for being active and living a healthy life.