Elite Basketball

John Madejski Academy has a special relationship with basketball thanks to our close connection with Reading Rockets.

New in 2013, our elite basketball programme allows exceptional basketball players to refine their skills, benefiting from professional level coaching, while continuing with their academic studies. It offers promising basketball students the chance to improve technically, tactically, physically and mentally.

Our elite basketball programme is designed to provide extra support and opportunities to young basketball players who show promise and commitment to their sport. We ensure the students receive the very best coaching and training for their age and stage.

Our Elite Boys compete in the prestigious EABL (Elite Academies Basketball League) where only the top 16 Academies in the country are represented. Our Elite girls play in the National Schools u19 Premier competition and we have recently sent a number of elite males and females to Universities in the UK and USA, and are incredibly proud of the academic prowess of some of our finest student-athletes.

Aimed at students from Years 7–13, the programme allows them to develop their skills and techniques during and outside school hours, while making sure they continue to progress well academically. This gives them a great start on the road to becoming a dedicated and focused athlete.

John Madejski Academy is now the only school in Berkshire with an elite basketball programme for students across all year groups.

To be considered for the programme students must already be recognised as exceptional players within their own year group, with the potential to go to a high level. If they are already studying at JMA they will be members of the Rockets programme.

As a specialist sport Academy, we have very high expectations of our elite basketball students, in the classroom as well as on the court.

We review their all-round performance every six weeks. This includes a formal review from the players’ club and school coaches as well as seeking feedback from their teachers. When we spot that a student is slipping behind in any area we do our best to provide the additional support they need.

We also expect elite basketball students to have an exceptional attendance record and to display a positive attitude around the Academy, including towards staff and other students.

These high expectations have already shown positive results, with several of our top basketball students achieving far higher GCSE grades than predicted.

To reward them for their hard work and dedication, elite basketball students have the opportunity to go on all basketball related school trips.

The students receive personal mentoring from Matt Johnson, Director of Basketball, including help with career planning and personal development. They receive an updated timetable at the beginning of each term, which includes their personal development sessions.

Spending time with players from Reading Rockets also gives them an insight into the life of a full-time professional basketball player.

To join our Elite basketball programme players must demonstrate outstanding basketball skills and commitment to their academic studies as well as their sport.

Our experienced sports teachers aim to spot promising basketball players at the school as early as possible so we can provide the support they need to excel.

We also welcome exceptional basketball players to join us from other schools from as early as Year 6. To be considered players should be at club level, National League standard or be recognised at their own school as gifted and talented. Our coaches will go out to visit promising candidates at their current school or club to assess their ability and offer advice and guidance.

Players can join the Academy up to Year 10 or in Years 12, 13 or 14. We prefer not to accept new students during Year 11 to avoid disrupting their GCSE studies.

To find out more or arrange a trial, please contact Matt Johnson:

or Specialism Administrator Sarah Feast:


@JmaRockets Retweeted GoPerform @GoPerformUK, Jul 21
Our Scholar Support programme starts in September. Year round medical & performance support for school age athletes
@JmaRockets, Jul 16
We’re so proud of this young man! Great student, fantastic person and special talent too!
@JmaRockets, Jul 6
7.30am and no fewer than 10 players in this morning for the shooting session! 2 Year 10s and 8 Year 12s wanting to be better
@JmaRockets, Jul 5
Welcome to Reading! We look forward to seeing you at Academy too! !
@JmaRockets, Jul 4
Great to welcome back past students to talk to current students on life choices! !
@JmaRockets, Jul 3
Thanks for a great experience for many of our Performance students today, and thank you to the amazing Student Union for the special gift for our school too!
@JmaRockets, Jul 3
Some of our Academy players trying out Virtual reality
@JmaRockets, Jun 29
Wishing these guys all the best for tonight’s big game! Tune in people!
@JmaRockets, Jun 29
Seems like an odd system guys....have you had any joy yet?
@JmaRockets, Jun 29
One day basketball will also be your 4th screen Sir!
@JmaRockets, Jun 29
Great job ladies! Thank you for representing us all so well!
@JmaRockets, Jun 29
The present and the future. Academy captain Matthew Armstrong’s last ever day with one of the Year 9 pupils. a proud moment!
@JmaRockets, Jun 27
Coaches and new recruits had a great 2 days over the last 2 weeks at their welcome and testing camp. Exciting times ahead for our 6th form!
@JmaRockets, Jun 22
Great progress for our boys football programme!