We sat down with one of Basketball Queensland’s very own, Peter Pollock, our Club Coach Development Manager to talk about his lifelong involvement in basketball, and what makes him so passionate about the game. Having grown up watching his older brother’s games, to then going on to play in the NBL for the St Kilda Saints and the Townsville Suns, coaching his children’s teams, building clubs from scratch (South West in 1997, and Logan in 1998) as well as his continual work organising Basketball Queensland’s Aussie Hoops program, Peter’s commitment to the game is inspiring. We find out what he loves so much about the game, and how he has passed his passion through to his three children whom are also all involved in basketball.
1. What started you playing basketball and what do you love about the game to keep you so involved?
My older brothers Graham and John both played at a high level in North Queensland, and I often went to John play. I think I was around 10 years old at the time, and had always looked up to him. I remember being in Townsville the day they announced the Queensland Men’s team (in the days before the NBL).
I started playing in the Burdekin after years of playing soccer and John became my first coach on the bitumen courts in Ayr. I liked that the game provided more engagement and time with the ball than soccer, and that each player had a greater effect on the outcome. Plus, the complexities of the game were more challenging than other sports, there was more to learn. When I was younger, I was always introduced as John’s brother In basketball circles in the North. When I moved south to Melbourne to play in the NBL, I remember John being introduced as Peter’s brother.
2. What are some of your most memorable basketball career highlights?
Winning championships at different levels as a player, QBL, VIC Championships, NBL preseason tournament, World Masters. Winning the State Championships across different age groups and genders as a coach. I love to compete! I love the scenarios that the game can throw up in a contest and that you can never stop learning about the game. Receiving the Australian Sports Medal for services to sport, building clubs from scratch. The more I think about it the more great memories I can draw on. This game has given me so much and still does. I am still learning new skills and new ways to contribute.
3. How did you get your kids involved with basketball?
All three of my children have been around basketball since they were born so it was easy/convenient for them to fall into a competition somewhere. Jackson played soccer and basketball, Samantha was mainly basketball and some touch, Georgia did some dance as well as basketball. My wife Robyn and I both coached club teams they were involved in. I coached both Jackson and Samantha in Rep, Jackson up to under 14 and Samantha in under 16. I am still trying recruit Georgia to play rep. All three have given back to the sport through coaching or roles within their clubs.
4. As head of the Aussie Hoops program at Basketball Queensland, what are some of the most important skills kids can learn from playing basketball from a young age?
Having fun is clearly the reason why kids play. Making new friends and learning the skills and of the game. All the lessons that are learnt from participating in sport and competing, working as a unit towards a common goal, overcoming obstacles and setbacks, resilience, persistence and commitment are things that come with more involvement in the game. At Aussie Hoops level though it’s more about having fun with the game.
5. What are your proudest moments as a Basketball Dad?
All three of my children have had their moments and levels of success in the game and it is nice to see that, but I just love watching them play; how their personalities fit within the team, how they compete, I love the fact they all play hard and compete on the court. I value the friendships they have built through their basketball. It’s nice to have medals that recognise a successful season or being selected to represent a team at any level, they are moments of reward for effort, but the friendships are long lasting, and more substantial than a medal that gathers dust on a shelf or a singlet that hangs in the back of a closet.
6. What would you recommend to families wanting to get their kids involved with basketball?
Learn to love and respect the game, enjoy the process of your children trying to master the game and support them through the highs and lows. Respect and support the volunteers that allow us to enjoy the game. Put your hand up to help out in some way. In the process, you will develop lifelong friendships for yourself and your children!
We love celebrating and acknowledging people’s commitment and passion for basketball, so if you’d like to feature in our Basketball Families series, please send us an email at [email protected]