Tyler Baines ready for new wheelchair basketball format at Commonwealth Games

·3-min read
Tyler Baines will compete as part of Team England at the Commonwealth Games

By Megan Armitage, Sportsbeat

Barrow's Tyler Baines is on a mission in Birmingham, hell-bent on delivering success as he embarks on the Commonwealth Games.

The 20-year-old will compete in Wheelchair Basketball and stated that although the new 3x3 format has been tough to get his head round, he's confident Team England will dominate on the court.

Baines expressed how deviating from the usual 5x5 format has brought new and intriguing challenges to the sport, as players are given added responsibilities of self-coaching and making substitutions.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Baines hopes sharing his story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

He said: "It's good, it's difficult because none of us have ever really done it before, being the coach or tactics but everyone's looking forward to it, it's something new.

"We've spent a few training sessions and a few camps doing it.

"There's new rules with it and they're totally different to 5v5, it's on a half court as well so there's a lot of stuff to get used to with the rules and how you play.

"It's just a fully different game."

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, and having secured his place on the squad, Baines is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in his home country.

Baines first picked up a basketball at a multi-sport event taster session when he was 10 years old and discovered he had a blossoming talent in the sport.

He then progressed quickly through international ranks and made his bow for GB Under-17s aged 13. Seven years later, he will make his Team England debut at a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

He said: "I'm excited and nervous obviously but it's home Games so I can't get to go there and get started.

"I got invited to go and play for the Northwest, went there and got selected and moved to my first club in Carlisle and loved it ever since.

"Sometimes I had to miss time off school, but it was good, and it was all enjoyable and fun. I just enjoyed basketball."

Baines made his professional wheelchair basketball debut for Spanish team Amivel last September in a dream opportunity but revealed that he will stay in England for the next season to pursue different opportunities.

He said: "Probably my biggest achievement was signing my first pro contract in Spain.

"I've won loads of junior medals at regional level but my biggest one is signing my first contract last year.

"It was more of a dream than a plan to go and play professionally.

"Then last August I got asked if I wanted to go and play and it was enjoyable and fun.

"That was from September until May and we're in the off-season now but I'm still training every day."

"Next season I'm going to stay in England and play in England. We've got selection for the World Championships at the end of August in Dubai so I'm looking forward to that and seeing if I get selected for that."

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.

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