Abbey College partners with Manchester Giants

The independent college is teaming up with top-tier side Manchester Giants to offer students a course blending academic classes with intensive basketball training

Aspiring basketball stars at Abbey College Manchester will be given a considerable assist when the college joins forces with elite local team, Manchester Giants.

Students aged 14-19 at the college will be offered the chance to join a course taught in association with the long-established team in the top tier of the British Basketball League.

Set to begin in January, the course will blend morning academic classes – be they GCSE, A-level or combined studies – with intensive basketball training in the afternoon. The sessions will be led at the Giants’ facilities by performance coach, Jamie Edwards, whose 5’6 stature was no barrier to a long and successful basketball career, including playing for England.

“This collaboration with Abbey College is about a shared vision around education combined with sport as a tool for preparation for the game of life,” said Edwards, who led a takeover of the Manchester Giants in February, and whose performance coaching clients have included Gareth Bale, Joe Hart, Luke Shaw, Lee Westwood, and Andrew Flintoff.

This collaboration with Abbey College is about a shared vision around education combined with sport as a tool for preparation for the game of life – Jamie Edwards, performance coach

His words were echoed by the college’s principal, Liz Elam. “The programme offers a combined philosophy that has developed from bringing the benefits of elite sports training to both sport performance and academic studies,” she said.

“Our student athletes will develop beyond the game, focusing on integrating the development of basketball skills ‘on court’ with the development of life skills ‘off court’.”

Those taking the course can expect to benefit from a methodology Edwards outlined to the Guardian in May: “We talk about players being in different modes,” he said.

“Wait mode, watch mode, shrink mode, blame mode. These young players need to be in learning mode now. It’s about their curiosity: what they want to know about how to improve and succeed in their sport, in life. Use the time in the best way and choose how you react to the situation. I ask them: are you in boy mode or man mode?”

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