For some time now, all local sporting competitions have been restricted due to Covid-19 and the lockdown precautions now applied. However today Basketball Australia has set out the ground rules for the return of Community Basketball post lockdown.
Community basketball due to resume under set guidelines
No side-by-side games, constant hand sanitising and as few supporters as possible are among the suggested practices for the return of community basketball.
Basketball Australia will release its ‘Return to Basketball’ guidelines on Wednesday and the information will inform what each state and local association do when trying to put thousands of local basketballers back on court.
Federal and state regulations will still dictate when indoor sports can start again, this is why there is no resumption date listed, but the guidelines do paint a picture for how community basketball will look.
The guidelines make it clear that in smaller stadiums only some courts will able to be used and a strict stadium capacity be maintained at all venues.
All state and territory bodies worked with Basketball Australia on the guidelines, which were based on the federal government’s national principles for the resumption of sport and the Australian Institute of Sport framework for re-booting sport.
AIS chief medical officer Dr David Hughes and Basketball Australia chief medical officer Dr Peter Harcourt offered their expert advice for the guidelines.
“We can all see how we are adapting quickly at the local level and we imagine it will be the same for basketball,” BA chief executive Jerril Rechter said.
“The way people walk into the venue, the way they leave the venue, the way they need to be on court and the practices we need to put in place will become natural and our basketball sector is ready to show we have done a huge [amount] of work for the rebound of the sport.”
For junior basketball the guidelines suggest a small number of parents can watch and only from a separated, socially distanced location like an upper grandstand. There will need to be distance between each active court.
Players will be advised to not arrive more than 10 minutes before their game while stadiums will be asked to have separate entry and exit points plus extra time between games to allow players to leave and new teams to enter.
Balls will need to be sanitised and changed each game while all unnecessary contact including “high fives” will be outlawed.
Stadiums will also need their own penalties for teams or people who do not follow the rules.
Players and referees will also be asked to wash with soap and water at home pre-game and be changed into their playing gear before arrival.
Opening jump balls will likely be replaced with “rock, paper, scissors” for the first possession.
Rechter said people were adapting in everyday life and would do so at local basketball.
“People are quite buoyant about the fact junior basketball will be able to return,” Rechter said.
“There are different ways we will need to think about junior basketball but a lot of the facilities have that capacity where parents and guardians can be removed [seated at a distance] and can still [have] oversight of their kids.”
It’s exciting to contemplate returning to ‘tread the boards’ in the not too distant future. But the question for many who operate stadiums and courts is ‘will we be ready?’
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