The Cockburn Basketball Association is excited to announce the engagement of Mark Clayden and Andy Stewart as lead talent development co-ordinators for the club’s elite level juniors, NBL1 talent and WABL coaches.

An review of the Association’s organisational structure was undertaken in January 2020, which identified the need for an investment in the space of athlete and coach development, with a focus on U16 and older WABL, pre-NBL1 and NBL1 athletes.

Cockburn Basketball Chief Executive Officer said this was an exciting step for the Association, providing greater exposure for athletes and coaches to develop their skillsets.

“This is a massive step forward for the Cougar Family, with top-end junior talent and coaches now provided an environment where they will get focussed attention where they need it most,” he said.

“It creates a more streamlined approach to getting our junior athletes ready for NBL1, and also starts that process earlier than we might have done in previous years.

“Having Mark and Andy involved makes complete sense, with a great familiarity and understanding of them already inside our NBL1 and WABL programs.

“In addition, they are two of the State’s most experienced and talented coaches already inside the walls of Wally Hagan Stadium, so we didn’t have to look far.”

The responsibility of the co-ordinators will extend to workload management, skills-work, co-ordination with NBL1 coaches, strength and conditioning, and well-rounded coach development.

It also marks the inception of the Cougar Pride program, designed for Cougars earmarked as future NBL1 athletes to get a taste of what the next level of basketball looks and feels like.

Invites for the new program, including athletes already inside the NBL1 program, will begin to go out in the coming weeks.

The coach development aspect of the role has already been active in 2020, but the commencement of talent development co-ordinators formalises this process and allows an active and engaging approach to coach development.

With the integration of significantly more domestic coaches into the WABL program as assistant coaches, this will serve as a two-pronged attack, serving the needs of domestic coach as well as our WABL head coaches.

This will be in full-swing immediately, in time for the 2020 State Championships.