Daughters & Dads Basketball

Despite the popularity of basketball in Australia, only 32% of Australian junior basketball players are girls. There are a number of physical, psychological, and environmental barriers that negatively impact on girls’ motivation and enjoyment in basketball. 

For example, many girls lack the basic skills or confidence necessary to participate in entry level junior basketball programs attended predominantly by boys. There are limited opportunities for quality coaching and skill practice in current junior program offerings. Additionally, many girls and parents consider basketball to be a rough, ‘boys’ sport resulting in girls receiving less encouragement and opportunity to play in the backyard and at school.  

To address these barriers, Daughters & Dads Basketball is being developed by The University of Newcastle, in partnership with the New South Wales Office of Sport and Basketball NSW. 

Daughters & Dads Basketball has been designed to address barriers to girls’ participation in basketball by providing: 

→Intensive coaching and skills practice for girls with dads as their ‘personal’ coaches. 

→Girls with the knowledge of the game. 

→Fathers with key parenting and coaching skills to improve their daughters’ skills and engagement in basketball. 

→An evidence-based program that targets girls’ social-emotional skills (e.g., resilience, persistence, bravery). 

→Strategies to empower girls to be aware of gender prejudice and overcome barriers using critical thinking and the support of their dads. 

→An innovative home program that targets social-emotional skills, father-daughter bonding, basketball skills practice and a host of engaging and educational basketball-related activities.

Daughters & Dads Basketball is a 9-week program connecting dads with their daughters as they learn about the game of basketball. The program consists of an initial 2-hour dads-only session, educating fathers about the unique and powerful influence of fathers on their daughters and providing positive parenting strategies and quality coaching skills to improve their daughters’ basketball knowledge, skills, and engagement.  Fathers also learn about the culture of gender prejudice that exists in many aspects of their daughters’ lives and how they can address this by becoming positive gender equity advocates and improve their daughters’ confidence to play. 

Fathers and daughters then attend 8 x 90-minute weekly sessions, made up of 30 minutes of education and 60 minutes of practical activity. Education sessions focus on developing daughters understanding of the game of basketball and basketball skills while also targeting key social-emotional skills. Practical sessions focus on key areas such as: rough and tumble play; ball handling, shooting and finishing skill development; offensive and defensive play; and modified games. A home program provides further opportunity to reinforce the program content and practice basketball skills at home.

Want to know more?

For general enquiries please contact Basketball NSW on (02) 8765 8555.  If your association, club or school would like to learn more about our Daughters and Dads program please contact Karen Irwin our I Am A Girl Program Coordinator karen.irwin@bnsw.com.au or call 8765 8555.


Daughters & Dads Basketball is based on the novel, world-first Daughters & Dads Active & Empowered program, which was developed by Professor Phil Morgan and colleagues at the University of Newcastle. This community based, multi-award-winning program targets fathers/father-figures and daughters to increase their physical activity levels and girls’ social-emotional wellbeing. Under rigorous randomised controlled trials, the program has demonstrated improvements in physical activity levels and screen-time behaviours for daughters and fathers; and brought fathers and daughters closer together. Significant improvements in daughters sport skills and social-emotional wellbeing and fathers’ parenting skills have also been achieved.

Due to the overwhelming success of the program, Daughters & Dads Active & Empowered is now being scaled up across NSW in a 4-year partnership with the Office of Sport-NSW and delivered in the UK in a 3-year collaboration with Women in Sport-UK, the Fatherhood Institute and English League Football Clubs. Since the first pilot program in 2015, over 991 daughters and 875 dads have participated in the program and over 260 educators have been trained to become program facilitators.

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