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Development Programs and Participation soars at Cougars in 2023

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Whether it’s the Cougar Cubs, Aussie Hoops or Cougar Domestic Development Programs, what the Cockburn Basketball Association continues to do is making it one of the standout members of the West Australian basketball community.

There is a successful and well-rounded journey now available and with a proven track record throughout the Cockburn Basketball Association headed up by the devoted and passionate coaches who continue to do a standout job nurturing the next generation of young players.

The participation team at the Cockburn Basketball Association continued to see all programs for all the emerging young athletes go from strength to strength again in 2023 with the programs all designed to meet both performance and engagement needs to shape not just the players, but the future of the domestic competition.

Over the past year, the Cockburn Basketball Association has successfully promoted, administered and delivered one of the largest and most influential Aussie Hoops programs right across the country.

The participation growth over the past five years within the Cockburn Basketball Association has been remarkable and speaks for itself in terms of the success in bringing on board the next generation of athletes.

Back in 2019 and there were 497 participations throughout the junior programs at the Cockburn Basketball Association before that number grew to 722 in the COVID affected year of 2020.

The numbers have skyrocketed ever since and across the last three years, Cockburn has led the nation with participation numbers with 1470 in 2021, 1610 in 2022 and 1414 in 2023.

Participation Coordinators Mackenzie Stewart and Adrian Sgro have played a huge part in how successful all the programs they are, and their participation and commitment can’t be underestimated.

What better than finding out what being involved at the Cockburn Basketball Association means to them both than a quick question and answer session.


What do you enjoy about working with the Cougars and what makes it such a successful program in your eyes?

The community we have created over the past couple of years is such a fun and exciting place to be around, which makes work so enjoyable. Mackenzie and I both care about the development of our Aussie Hoopers and love seeing them rock up to each session with such a massive smile on their faces. The best part is eventually seeing them play their first domestic game knowing we had an impact on getting them to that point. Working alongside someone who is so passionate and dedicated like Mackenzie makes a massive difference too, and all of her hard work has paid off by her being named Aussie Hoops coach of the year in 2023.

How proud are you of the fact the participation numbers keep going through the roof and are the best in the country?

To be No. 1 in the country is pretty spectacular and not something we thought we would achieve so quickly but I guess it’s a bonus for all the hard work and dedication we have put into the program over the last couple of years.

What were your highlights of 2023?

Creating a fun and enthusiastic learning environment for our Aussie Hoopers, whilst continuing to build relationships with the schools in our surrounding local areas.

We have fantastic engagement from our NBL1 and WABL athletes which makes it possible to facilitate the number of programs that we have.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Hopefully to have continued growth within our programs particularly on the girls side. It is a priority for us to establish a clear development pathway to upskill our younger coaches to hopefully increase the quality of our Aussie Hoops programs even more. It will also be a bonus to once again be named No. 1 this year.



What do you enjoy about working with the Cougars and what makes it such a successful program in your eyes?

I enjoy the community relationships that are made through being involved in the club and I personally really enjoy connecting people – whether that be connecting juniors and families to our basketball pathways and community, connecting people with each other and connecting our programs/domestic community with our WABL and NBL1.

In my eyes I think the program is successful because we have a clear purpose with how we are trying to serve the community through basketball. I believe we have a team who understand basketball for the game it, is but see how it impacts people on a deeper level. We know people find social connection in the community, we know individuals have their own aspirations, goals or intentions with playing the sport and we also understand they come for a basketball product. Aussie Hoops and our introductory programs are the first impression many families have of basketball and our community – we know our purpose is to 1. Make that a great experience for them and 2. Have a solid product and pathway for them. But we also have people above us who are both passionate and efficient, our CEO (Tyrone) is always encouraging ways for more community engagement and continuously moving forward, and our operations manager (Mel Rainey) is very involved in and passionate about sport and development – it is empowering and fun to work with people like that.

How proud are you of the fact the participation numbers keep going through the roof and are the best in the country?

Yeh hahaha. It is nice to look back on an see how big it is and you have to be proud of it, we want people to be engaged and the numbers are a good reflection of that. But when you are running it and working the numbers aren’t the focus, they are a good reflection and indicative tool but the focus is the purpose and the people.

What were your highlights of 2023?

No standout highlights – Just the people and it’s so fun to watch the joy and excitement of kids playing/learning basketball. Especially the beginners – everything is new to them, it’s exciting, it’s the highlight of their week, they have so much energy for it and it’s fun to watch kids fall in love with the game.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Just looking forward to more community engagement.

Knowing that you’ve come through the pathways too and are still playing on top of it, how much does that help you and add to your connection?

It gives you a deeper understanding of the pathways and for me knowing what has come from being involved in these pathways (social/community engagement, self-discipline/goal setting, deeper understanding and enjoyment of the game) means you can really commit to the purpose. And to introduce/share that with people wanting to play basketball is something I am passionate about because of how basketball has impacted my life.

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