Giving Their Game an Edge: 2022 Mainland Eagles Induction Camp

The Mainland Eagles Academy coaching team, powered by R&B Builders, hosted a unique development opportunity for promising basketballers from across the South Island this month.

The ninth annual Mainland Eagles Induction Camp was held from 5-7 February at MainPower Stadium in Rangiora.

With a focus on basketball and beyond, the Mainland Eagles Academy invited 60 remarkable athletes along with 18 of the South Island’s top coaches, to gather insights and share learnings that will give their game an edge.

The South Island’s best basketballers participating in the camp were under the guidance of Adam Morgan, with a fantastic supporting team including: Helen Williamson, Liam Connelly, Ed Book, Greg Brockbank, Matt Lacey, Dave Harrison, Fraser Costley, Leighton Ngawaka, Carlo Varricchio, Jacob Martin, Fletcher Arnold, Tom Higgins, Dilshan Erakil, Maia Williamson, Walter Brown, Sam Watkins and Jamie Bradley.

On-court sessions featured:

National Offensive Style of Play – by Matt Lacey

National Full Court Defensive Style of Play – by Helen Williamson

National Half Court Defensive Style of Play – by Greg Brockbank

Micro Skill Foundations for National Style of Play – Adam Morgan

National Style of Play Shooting – Adam Morgan and Matt Lacey

Camp participant and Mainland Eagles Academy member Hunter Adam is involved with U18 New Zealand team that plays in the FIBA Asian Championships in Iran in June, aiming to qualify for the U19 2023 World Cup in 2023 in Hungary.

Adam says he enjoyed being around the best basketballers from across the South Island, “being able to meet new people and get an idea of what their basketball associations are like.”

“There was an environment where everyone wanted to get better. Everyone was pushing each other, which was very rewarding.”

The aim of the Mainland Eagles Academy is to support the development of young people and coaches throughout the South Island.

According to Canterbury Regional Basketball Foundation General Manager Caleb Harrison, “Basketball becomes the medium to open up education, leadership and life experiences. As a result, basketball can be utilised to develop well-rounded, educated and community service-focused individuals who make a positive contribution to society.”

Mainland Eagles Induction Camp supports the athletes and coaches involved for their school, club and representative seasons ahead, which includes preparing participants for the upcoming Basketball New Zealand High-Performance Junior National team camps and events.

Beyond skills and drills that bring together the best in the South Island game, a series of off-court sessions emphasise the impact of wellbeing on player performance.

The camp included Mainland Eagles Health & Wellbeing Coach, Moses Bygate-Smith delivering on warmup, prehab & recovery to support the athlete’s wellbeing, The Physiosouth team educating the athletes on the importance of recovery, Eagles Performance Analyst Jacob Martin leading the athletes through video performance analyst sessions, Rico Gomez speaking on detoxing negative emotions, and a pathways discussion from Eagles Coach Adam Morgan and General Manager Caleb Harrison.

Participant Lauren Whittaker saw value in the balance between wellbeing and physical skills sessions.

“It’s a great development programme run by coaches of high calibre. It targets athletes who want to maximise their opportunities through basketball.”

Whittaker is part of the U16 New Zealand team competing in the U16 Asian Championships in Jordan, aiming to qualify for the U17 FIBA World Cup in Spain later this year.

The Year 12 St Andrews College standout commended the sessions on mental skills and taking responsibility for one’s emotions, on and off the court.

“Mental skills is growing and becoming vital for athletes. By giving us the opportunity to learn those skills, we have more of an opportunity to make New Zealand teams and play basketball at a higher level.

“It’s great to make new connections with players, but also with coaches who can help you get to where you want to be.”

The Mainland Eagles Academy has created a fund to support junior players who make junior national teams from throughout the South Island. Young people who are selected for junior national teams that have FIBA Asia Championships and World Cups can face costs of over $15k per participant.

The Mainland Eagles Academy would like to acknowledge all supporters of the first annual Mainland Eagles Academy dinner, which was held prior to Eagles Summer Camp in February and raised over $5k.

As well as this the Mainland Eagles Academy would like to especially thank and recognise Raewyn Britt and Mel Isitt for their extensive help with camp coordination and for feeding all 80 athletes and coaches.

The next Mainland Eagles Summer Camp is scheduled for December 2022 and will include the Annual South Island Residential Coaches Workshop for 30 coaches from throughout the South Island.

Share this post

Send a message now