5”1 in a giants world: In conversation with Amrisha Kudhail
The Manchester Giants are a basketball team here in Manchester competing in the British Basketball league. In the 1990s, the Giants acquired the status of the biggest UK basketball club. The team would attract crowds of up to 15,000 to each game. However, they disappeared from the BBL in 2001, only to return 11 years later to the league for the 2012/2013 season.
After a takeover in 2020, the team has started to reach new heights, recently reaching the play-off final for the first time in 10 years. The sleeping giants have awoken. This is all much to the delight of the loyal fans from the 90’s. A new generation of fans are also emerging as anticipation around this new and improved team rises.
From playing in small sport venues to the National Basketball centre in Manchester, the Giants are back. After so many years in the dark, fans, players and all staff involved are beginning to see the light again. It also seems the Giants have returned at an exciting time for the sport. Basketball is the second most popular team sport after football for children in school. Despite this, it seems within this city, any sport which isn’t football can be pushed aside. Yet, with quick-paced drama on the court and the stop clock deciding pivotal moments of a game, it may be time to turn our attention to basketball.
I spoke to Amrisha Kudhail, a personal trainer focusing on injury prevention, flexibility and mobility for the Manchester Giants. We discussed the excitement building around basketball, her transition from a dance background and advice for those wanting to become involved within the sports industry.
At 5”1, Amrisha was unsurprisingly intimidated on her first day being surrounded by players who are a minimum of six-foot towering over her. Yet she told me it’s all about “confidence and self-belief” to overcome any negative feelings. “I came prepared with all the facts and statistics for the advice I was giving”. As a result, Amrisha quickly gained respect from all the players she worked with. “Don’t tip toe around” she told me. It’s all about feeling like you deserve to be there as a result of hard work and that this is where the confidence should come from. “If you do not believe in what you are saying, why should anyone else?”. I nodded in agreement.
I asked Amrisha if she ever faced any challenges when working in such a male-dominated industry. “I have never felt uncomfortable” she told me, “coaches these days want those who are good at their jobs, no matter if they are male or female”. This is a huge sign that things are going in the right direction. It is reassurance for any woman who may feel apprehensive about working within the sports industry. “I set the standard,” she said, if you are organised and good at your job, you can thrive in the industry. It is that simple.
Coming from a dance background, Amrisha was able to bring a whole different perspective when coaching players about flexibility and mobility. “Dancers are more in tune with their bodies than basketball players,” she said. Through this knowledge, Amrisha could offer advice which a personal trainer who had only ever worked within the basketball industry, could not. “Dancers and basketball players jump just as high,” Amrisha reminded me.
Amrisha has set out her plans for the future, saying “I want to work in the NBA by the time I’m 30”. Life under the Giants has been an “amazing experience” for Amrisha, inspiring her to go ahead with a career within the basketball world. “Helping people to perform better, seeing the benefits of my work and educating players on the importance of stretching” are all reasons why Amrisha is so set on this profession.
Amrisha’s dedication to improving the flexibility and mobility of the players she works with, is a credit to the hard-working team behind the Giants. It seems the UK basketball scene is one to watch. Whilst you are here in the city of Manchester, the Giants are an obvious choice of who to start following.