Tyler Baines made his Commonwealth Games debut this summer in Birmingham representing England in 3×3 wheelchair basketball, winning the Bronze Medal Match against Malaysia, which saw him win Bronze alongside his England teammates Lee Manning, Charlie McIntyre and Abderrahim Taghrest. In 2021, Tyler made his professional wheelchair basketball debut when he signed a contract with the Spanish team Amivel, and he has recently returned from representing Great Britain for the first time in a senior tournament, with the team coming 2nd in Madrid. We caught up with Tyler, who chatted about his Commonwealth Games debut in 3×3 wheelchair basketball at Birmingham this year, winning the Bronze Medal Match against Malaysia and his time with Spanish team Amivel.
At this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, you represented Team England in 3×3 wheelchair basketball, how did you find the experience making your Commonwealth Games debut in front of a home crowd?
It was an amazing experience, I have never done anything like it before. It was the best feeling ever coming out in front of the home crowd and seeing my family and friends.
You won Bronze with your teammates Lee Manning, Charlie McIntyre and Abderrahim Taghrest, how was it competing with the rest of the team and what was it like winning the Bronze after competing in the Bronze Medal Match against Malaysia?
They were the best teammates, we had such a good group going throughout the tournament and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch. When we won the medal I was so happy and every emotion was running through my body, it was amazing!!
What was it like staying in the athletes village and how did you stay focused during the competition and your matches?
The athletes village was something special to be a part of, just going around the village seeing all the other athletes and all the things to see and do was something incredible.
How was it finding out you’d been selected for Team England and that you’d be part of 3×3 wheelchair basketball’s first appearance at the Commonwealth Games?
When I first found out I had been selected, I was speechless and had the best feeling in the world. Being a part of the first wheelchair basketball team to be there and winning at our first Games was something I will never forget.
How different was it competing in 3×3 wheelchair basketball in Birmingham opposed to your previous competitions?
3×3 is a very different game to 5v5 full court basketball but it is really enjoyable and so fast-paced. It’s so fun to play.
Last year, you made your professional wheelchair basketball debut for Spanish team Amivel, what was it like joining them and signing your contract?
Amivel are an amazing club and they were so good to me. Signing my first professional contract was a dream I had since I was a kid.
Can you tell us about your time in Spain and about some of the competitions you were involved in whilst there?
My time in Spain was fun. I lived in a place called Torre Del Mar, which was such a nice place, it was always hot and had things to do. We played in a few tournaments around the local area that we won and then the league games were so competitive and amazing to play in.
Do you have any stand-out memories from being on the Amivel team that you can share?
Playing against world class players every week was an amazing opportunity for me to develop in basketball and making lifelong friends.
Having also competed at junior level, what do you remember most from being a junior wheelchair basketball player and how was it transitioning to senior?
Juniors allowed me to develop skills that I still use to this day and the atmosphere at the junior competitions were amazing and inspired me to turn from something I loved participating in to competing at the Commonwealth Games.
What are some of your favourite highlights from being a wheelchair basketball player so far?
I have so many memories from playing in juniors to now the seniors, but the main stand-out one now has to be winning a Bronze at the Commonwealth Games!
How did you get into wheelchair basketball and is it something you always wanted to do?
I never really knew about wheelchair basketball until I went to a multi-sport event and tried basketball and fell in love with it ever since that day!
What is a typical training day for you and how does it change in the lead-up to a competition?
Training two times a day, usually shooting session in the morning and team session at night, and in the lead-up to a tournament – slow down training a bit and a few shooting session and team sessions.
Is there anything you enjoy most about competing as a wheelchair basketball player and being involved with sports?
The best thing I enjoy about it is always being with my mates and being around the best people. I love it.
How do you like to spend your time away from basketball?
I spend my time away from basketball with my girlfriend and being with my friends or playing Xbox.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
I have just got back from a friendly tournament in Madrid where we came 2nd place representing GB at my first GB senior tournament.
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