Elite basketball players graduate to career beyond the court

TASS’s Lynda Dunn meets some of the graduates (Credit: FIBA)

A cohort of elite basketball players from across the globe are celebrating as they graduated from the FIBA Europe TIME-OUT project last week. The initiative, in partnership with TASS, has provided the former players with training to make the tricky transition from sport into work.

A graduation event was hosted at the House of Basketball near Geneva, where the students were joined by an illustrious list of sporting officials and academic mentors – including representatives from FIBA, FIBA Europe, Northumbria University and TASS – to recognise their achievement.

Speaking at the beginning of the project, former Great Britain international and Olympian, Stef Collins admitted: “One of the biggest challenges basketball players face is adapting to a life that doesn’t create the same buzz, adrenaline rush and competitive challenge of playing in games.

“A rigorous routine and methodology have been ingrained in basketball players from an early age and that can make things very challenging as they try to explore a different outlet. For many players who go straight into the workplace the daily Monday-Friday schedule can be daunting in terms of working normal office hours.

“However, most basketball players who have succeeded at an elite level are already well equipped with the mental skills needed to cope with demands placed on them.

“The real challenge is away from the court in building that knowledge and understanding of how to put that into practice and shift their focus.”

Collins is one of 29 players who have successfully completed a number of key modules from the Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support (TALS) qualification, delivered by TASS, covering topics as diverse as ‘the role of a lifestyle advisor’, ‘support networks’ and ‘anti-doping’.

Graduates from the course are now equipped with the skills and knowledge to use their experiences on the court to advise and inspire the next generation of talented basketball players about how to manage the challenges of a dual career.

In addition to those who took the TALS qualification, 50 participants graduated from a Newcastle Business School course in Leadership and Management from Northumbria University and all 75 students completed the FIBA Manager Qualification course, empowering and preparing the players for life after basketball.

FIBA Europe President and FIBA Vice-President Turgay Demirel, said: “With this unique degree, we believe you have in your hands the tools for you to make your transition into your next professions.

“We hope that for the majority of you it will be in the field of basketball, as you work with us at FIBA and your federations to contribute to the growth and health of basketball in Europe and further abroad. Congratulations to all of you and good luck as you take on this next exciting step in your professional careers.”

TIME-OUT project graduates at the celebration event (Credit: FIBA)