Meet Colchester’s pro-basketball player getting girls into the game

Sadler is one of Basketball England's All Girls Ambassadors, who are committed to increasing partici

Sadler is one of Basketball England's All Girls Ambassadors, who are committed to increasing participation numbers and tackling the lack of representation of young women in the sport Picture: NICK WINTER - Credit: Archant

One basketball player in Colchester is inspiring girls in Essex to get involved in her sport.

Sadler is using her skills on the court to encourage schoolgirls in Colchester to take up the sport

Sadler is using her skills on the court to encourage schoolgirls in Colchester to take up the sport Picture: NICK WINTER - Credit: Archant

Cat Sadler, a third-year PHD student at the University of Essex, plays for the Colchester-based Essex Rebels, both for the university team and in the professional Women's British Basketball League (WBBL).

Between training and studying the 30-year-old shooting guard, originally from Pennsylvania, is also showing a generation of girls they can take part in the game she loves.

Sadler said: "We run a weekly session in Colchester just for girls, they come from all over Essex and we can have up to 30 girls at one session now.

"When we started about two years ago, just two showed up, but we knew it was something we had to grow in the community, there wasn't any basketball in the area before.

Cat Sadler plays for the Essex Rebels basketball team Picture: NICK WINTER

Cat Sadler plays for the Essex Rebels basketball team Picture: NICK WINTER - Credit: Archant


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"The girls come from as far as Clacton and Brightlingsea and the ones that come then bring their friends.

"We see maybe half of them at our weekend games as well, it's great to see them cheer us on and they come and speak to us after the games too."

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As well as weekly sessions, Sadler also visits secondary schools around Colchester to speak to PE teachers about how to incorporate basketball into their curriculums.

She is one of a clutch of WBBL players to be announced as All Girls Ambassadors for Basketball England - players picked to promote their sport in their local communities.

She said: "By being an ambassador for the All Girls campaign, I hope I can bring the sport of basketball to all those who have not had the opportunity to try it.

"It's important to encourage young women and girls to become involved in sport and live a healthy lifestyle."

Sadler has been playing basketball since she was seven years old and followed in her fathers footsteps, himself a player for Plymouth Raiders in his youth.

He met Cat's mother while playing in the UK and they moved back to the US where he stopped playing and started coaching teams of all ages.

"It's exciting to be doing the same thing as my father and teaching these girls about the game," added Sadler.

England Basketball CEO Stuart Kellett said: "We know there's a lack of awareness of basketball among women and young girls.

"We hope this ground-breaking programme will not only highlight the great work of the basketball community but showcase the numerous ways that all women and girls can be part of this amazing sport."

Want to get involved in girls basketball? Cat and the All Girls Ambassadors run sessions Thursday nights, 5-6pm, at Thomas Lord Audley School, Monkwick Avenue, Colchester. Email sdaviec@essex.ac.uk for more info.

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