Plymouth Raiders’ Academy embarks on an exciting new venture with Plymouth Studio School this September.

“The educational situation at the Studio School is fantastic,” said Raiders’ Chief Executive Dave Briggs. “The school are able to offer students both A Levels and BTECs, which will allow us to attract and work with the full range of young players in the region. What’s more, there are opportunities for young players to move to the Studio School from the age of 14 years old to study GCSEs, meaning that they will be involved with the Academy for a lot longer than the typical 2 years that we normally have them for.”

Plymouth Studio School is based on the campus of Plymouth Marjon University, which is another significant benefit for young players attending the Academy. “We are aiming for our young players to make the transition to Marjon University and stay involved with the club after graduating from the Studio School,” confirmed Briggs. “We want to have an Under 23 team in place and will also be running the Marjon BUCS teams from this season, both of which will provide an important bridge between the Academy and the BBL team. They will also help significantly in attracting young basketball players to the area.”

Plymouth Studio School recently announced that former Raiders’ player Mark Cahill, has taken over as Principal, and has played a major role in the development of the Academy concept at the School. “Having Mark here made the decision a ‘no-brainer’ for us – his understanding of the sport, but also his passion for ensuring young people get a first class education made this the perfect situation for the Academy. He has been a huge help and wants to play a very active role in the Academy and its future here. The potential for the Academy here is immense, but initially, we need to make sure that we get off to a really good start in September.”

“I’m extremely excited about the Plymouth Raiders joining Studio School and creating an exciting balance of teaching and learning alongside the school’s unique sports performance and sport careers programmes,” said School Principal Mark Cahill. “Having played sport at national level, I know the importance of balancing academic studies with training and competition programmes, and how important it is to be in an environment where your needs as both a student and an athlete are understood.”
Both Raiders and the Studio School feel that it’s vital that Academy players understand that they are a key part of the Raiders club. As such, they will all wear the same playing kit as the BBL team, wear the same off court clothing, and often train right alongside professional players. They will also get the chance to immerse themselves in the club and develop themselves individually.  “We’re keen to involve them in learning experiences across all areas of the club,” added Briggs. “These include game nights, our coaching programmes in schools and the community and at the various tournaments that we run. It all helps enhance their employability skills and experience. Consequently, Raiders’ Academy players will have a very visible presence around the club.”

The Academy have also announced that Raiders’ Danny Stevens will take over as Head Coach of the Academy from September.

“The Academy offers a great opportunity for young student athletes,” said Stevens. “It gives young players the opportunity to get a great education and develop their basketball skills at the same time, all in one location. We’ve entered 3 or 4 different leagues and competitions next season, and players will get a lot of time on court – both as a team and individually. I’ll get to work with the players all through the week, but I’ll also draught in some of the senior players from the BBL team and Head Coach, to run some of the individual ‘skills development’ sessions each week.”

Those attending the Raiders Academy will also get access to a great athletic care package – nutritional advice, sports psychology, strength and conditioning sessions and sports therapy support.

“The package on offer here is fantastic,” added Stevens. “It goes way beyond what any other academy in the region is able to offer, but those interested must realise that their education has to be of primary importance. We want to help develop young people for a life after the Academy and Studio School – and their education is a huge part of this. I’m really excited to get started now, and over the summer, will be looking to run some taster events for those joining us in September 2017, together with those thinking about making the move here in September 2018.