BASKETBALL stakeholders in the south of Tasmania united for the launch of the Swisherr West End facility at the site of the old K&D building in Hobart.
Swisherr Hoops Academy was the brainchild of basketball fanatics David Bartlett, Anthony Stewart and Mark Nash who wanted to open up more opportunities and pathways around basketball in Tasmania.
The trio previously converted old squash courts in Warrane and Kingston into high-tech shooting rooms called Shot Labs.
After these proved successful, they established a long-term partnership with the University of Tasmania focused on student pathways, student experience, athlete development and delivery of a high quality university-based basketball program.
The end result was the Swisherr Hoops Academy.
“We’re passionate about a couple of things, one being basketball, but more particularly, using basketball and sport as a pathway for young Tasmanians, and clearly one of these opportunities is further education,” Mr Bartlett said.
Swisherr has already partnered with 12 high schools and senior secondary colleges around Hobart, with students able to use the venue for training and in their athlete development programs.
“These kids are passionate about basketball and we want to help them find something that follows that passion,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Maybe it’s sports journalism, sports marketing or working in health and physical education.
“Ninety-nine out of 100 kids are not going to be professional basketball players, but they can still follow their passion and that’s what this centre is about.”
The centre will be used for numerous purposes, including an open gym on Friday nights where the public can pay $5 to use the equipment, three on three competitions, dunk competitions, and training and skill development sessions.
“Many of the Basketball Tasmania athletes in the south will also be able to train here and use the equipment,” Mr Bartlett said.
“We think we’re onto something basketballers want, something that can build community and provide pathways for young people.
“We’re just really excited to be working with everybody in the basketball community.”
Swisherr is also providing pathways for young Tasmanians by providing employment opportunities in various roles, such as refereeing, coaching, working at reception and cleaning the equipment.
Rosny College year 11 student Harry Griffiths was informed of the opportunity to work at Swisherr by Anthony Stewart and said it was a great opportunity for him to follow his passion.
“Basketball is my passion, I love to play it, so to be given support and encouraged to do that is really great,” he said.
“It’s also a good opportunity to use the equipment and make the most of the facility when I have the chance.”
Rosny College assistant principal Anthony Coe said the facility and equipment, such as the shot labs, would provide the students with some goals and purpose around the sport.
“Once the other technology gets embedded here it will elevate their knowledge, understanding and performance,” he said.
“Basketball is more than just playing, there’s lots of other opportunities to get involved through a facility like this.”