NEWS

APRIL 12TH 2018

Basketball in the Army Reserve

John at a tournamnet

Captain John Cvancra with one of his teammates at a recent tournament

Soldiers and sport go hand in hand because it’s a great way to improve fitness, build team spirit and boost morale but the opportunities and variety of sport on offer in the Army Reserve is often overlooked.

One of the lesser known sports is basketball, in America it is one of the biggest games in the country, with millions playing and watching it every week but in the UK the popularity of basketball is sporadic.

Early in the 80’s it had mainstream appeal with a number of US stars coming to play in Britain but has seen a steady decline in popularity since then.

A basketball team John was a part of in the 80s

A basketball team John was a part of in the 1980s

Despite this the Army have been playing basketball on a regular basis since World War Two.

In the 1960’s the Army team called the Army Warriors played in the National League and won it, meaning they were the first British team to play in the European Champions.

Nowadays the Army is not involved in the British Basketball League but they have continued to hold basketball tournaments for both regulars and reserves.

Captain John Cvancara, the Officer Commanding of B Squadron 212 Field Hospital and is a Research Nurse in his civilian career, is a long-time basketball enthusiast and explained how he first got involved: “I was at the Inter Battery Septathlon in Paderborn in 1981, my Battery Sergeant Major put me down for the basketball squad, I enjoyed it, and never looked back.  I’ve now been involved in Corps, Army and Combined Services basketball for nearly 37 years.

One of the recent teams John has been a part of

One of the recent teams John has been a part of

“When I first became involved in basketball, there was a wave of support but sadly this is not the case anymore. I am hoping to generate new interest and get more reserves playing on a regular basis.”

Basketball is very physically demanding but this is not the only reason it is beneficial for members of the Army.

John explained: “There is a commitment to a team spirit, learning drills and game plays enhances memory development, then having to think out secondary strategies when the game plan you have doesn’t work, improves your ability to problem solve.

“Fitness is paramount, as basketball is the fastest team sport.  The transition from attack to defence every few seconds, means that players have to be able to cope with a rapid change in situation, just like on the battlefield.”

"The transition from attack to defence every few seconds, means that players have to be able to cope with a rapid change in situation, just like on the battlefield.”