A new basketball academy is looking to make it easier for Macedon Ranges children to get high level skills and training.
The Central Victoria Basketball Academy, which was formed two months ago, has been set up to fill a void in the area.
While the local towns all have their own clubs and there are local associations, children currently have to travel to Bendigo or Sunbury to go to that next level.
The Academy’s Simon Liebelt said they were keen to set up something for the children of the area, to make it easier for parents and children.
“We’re currently putting it all together,” he said.
“A lot of people are travelling at least 40 minutes each way to get to basketball and there is a lack of a rep environment.
“We’d been thinking how can we increase the skills of local players?
“We want to fill a void in the area and [it’s]about developing that pathway.”
The academy has several different elements, catering from the beginners to those who want something extra.
Liebelt said they had been running training sessions before school twice a week for players of all ages at Woodend.
He said several of those children will attend a tryout day to get selected for the Jamboree.
“We’ve had no drop off,” he said.
“We’ve had new kids joining through word of mouth and getting some good results.
“Anyone can be a part of it. We’ve got some brand new kids and others who have been a part of [Sunbury] Jets.”
For children who haven’t played basketball, the association is working with local clubs to try and get children into club’s in their home towns.
“The next Kyneton competition starts in October, but their president Nathan Thompson has been really good and already seeing if we can get them playing now,” Liebelt said.
The academy has run three school holiday clinics across the area as well, to get more children on the court.
He said the clinics had been well received.
The next stage of the academy will be having try-outs for representative squads, which will play at tournaments. This is expected to happen next month.
As well as looking to build the skills of the children, the academy is also working with coaches.
The academy has run a coaching session with local coaches at the Kyneton association, to help them give back to local children.
Liebelt, Patrick Veitch and Michael Ryan are the academy’s coaches.
Nick Grantham, who has previously represented Vic Country at the national championships, is also helping out before he heads to college.
For more information, contact Simon on 0409 164 564.