Walking Basketball takes off in Ballarat | Video

MOVES: Actives member Loran Gercovitch effectively blocks a shot from Gwen Austin in a spot of scrimmage on Wednesday. Picture: Kate Healy

MOVES: Actives member Loran Gercovitch effectively blocks a shot from Gwen Austin in a spot of scrimmage on Wednesday. Picture: Kate Healy

MINERDOME Actives member Gwen Austin has started playing closer attention to Ballarat Miners and Rush when game highlights flash up on her television. Gwen is keen to improve her game.

Two weeks into a Walking Basketball pilot program, Gwen’s shooting has improved immensely. She quipped she felt a little like a professional player.

“This is wonderful, a great idea. You’ve got to keep moving and this is something a bit different,” Gwen said. “...I’m getting (shots) through the ring whereas last week it took me six times before I could get it in there.”

Walking basketball at the Minerdome. Video: Kate Healy

Walking Basketball is a non-contact, lower-energy form of the game developed by Basketball Victoria in partnership with VicHealth to combat the increasing inactivity in communities.

Gwen said the hardest part, for her, was having to walk when you wanted to run after the ball.

Minerdome Actives Club is taking part in a three-week trial before Basketball Ballarat looks to expand and open up the inclusive format.

Players work through a skills session before an optional, short scrimmage with waist high hoops – risk-management is the focus. 

Rush star Joy Burke, who has been helping coach the program, said there was still fun competitiveness and determination come through.

“You can tell they are having a fun time with it,” Ms Burke said. “There’s that social contact and a few laughs but also a sense of accomplishment.”

Basketball Ballarat is working to expand inclusion programs, building on success in its wheelchair dynamites, Prospectors for people with an intellectual disability, Midnight Basketball for at-risk youth and engagement with the Sudanese community and Chinese exchange students.

University of the Third Age, which has more than 1000 Ballarat members, is likely to be a key group in developing the Walking Basketball concept, primarily for seniors.

Basketball Victoria’s Kyle McMullan said Walking Basketball was a fun way to introduce or re-engage people with the game. Some just like to better understand what their grandchildren were playing.