Michael ‘Coach’ Dobson

gbr United Kingdom
Captain, Coach, Management
Current Team

What you are about to read is the evolution of a Plymouth basketball legend. Get yourself comfortable…

Michael Dobsons basketball journey
by Michael Dobson

It was Keith Mollard and Frank Pocock in 1958 that helped to form the P&D BB League.

I recall my brother David Dobson played Basketball at Public High School Cobourg Street Plymouth, which was opposite what was the recently demolished YMCA. He and others played Basketball in the school kind of playground with a short distance between each end of the basket-boards and nets. In 1967 he joined the Plymouth YMCA and played in what was just one league, but on a home and away fixtures in and around the city, Torpoint and South Devon and parts of Cornwall.

I started playing basketball at Barne Barton Secondary Modern School in September 1967. My PE Teacher is what others refer to now as the legendary Frank Pocock. As you can see from above Frank has been involved with basketball for a long time. He went on to be co-founder and coach of Plymouth Raiders for many years.

I use to do the table for Franks teams at Barne Barton SM School and that team had two players (brothers) who were bigger than our dear Freddie at above 6’ 9”. They were unbeatable under the basket.


I got the bug and loved playing at school and tried to show off when the girls were nearby. I had a few tricks, which they use to cheer me. So, I joined in the training at Plymouth YMCA in September 1969. It was during this that the famous actor Charles Dance played and I use to call him Charlie (of course).

Due to creaking and slippery floor as the gym was on the first floor the team moved to the YMCA Kitto Centre in 1974. It was in 1974 that the team name was changed to Kitto Nomads. I finally persuaded the captain (then not referred to as the coach) the late Dave Mason to play for the team. We use to play what is now the old court (later years the building extended to the court we train on now in 2018, (that’s now 44 years at Kitto (YMCA)).

Kitto Nomads had talented players and we won nearly all our games and in my first season.  We had an Intermediate Cup Final at the old Mayflower centre against HMS Raleigh (May 1975). I recall in that match I went in strong; against one of their players and it was none other than an x- USA player and he said to me “stop hitting me in the ribs”! I said “get use to it”.

In around 1976 we had a new player called David King and he use to drive a Volvo estate car with advertisement on the sides of Princess Yachts and he said to me “this company is going to be big and famous”. He of course he went on to become a senior  Director of a multi-international company.

In the early 1980’s we had two Kitto teams. One called Kitto Nomads and the other called Kitto Krypton’s. What a name!! We also had a junior feeder team. There were 30 teams in four leagues and the leagues were: Premier, Senior, Junior and Ladies.

Kitto Nomads was in the Premier and Kitto Krypton’s in the senior league. There were other players within our set-up who went on to play at high level and one for the Plymouth Raiders (his name – Whitehouse).

Over the next few years we continued to have two teams, but Kitto Krypton’s changed the name to Kitto Strollers and this team was run by Dave Bateson and I (not sure I spelled his surname correct). He later just wanted to play and handed the reins over to me. That was about 25 years ago.

During the 1980’s apart from the four leagues there also use to be a South-West League which I was part of. There were not many SW league games, but more cup games instead. These were played all over Devon and Cornwall.

In the 2000’s at first we still had two teams. However, the leagues teams started to reduce in numbers. What came to the fore was Tamar Valley Cannons a club with many different levels in age groups. All very well coached by George Hatchell and we always locked horns during fixtures. It was George who use to work at Sir John Hunt school that started a Central Venue League this was in addition to the P&D league. (Of course Central Venue League is not new at the first league in Birmingham in the 1800’s was this league.

Later our club still based at Kitto Centre changed names of both teams to Kitto Aces and Kitto Kings.

The P&D league folded in 2009/10 season due to lack of administration and refs. It soon reformed in 2010 and we entered as Kitto Aces. The teams went from two to one due to players leaving for various reasons.

In 2011/12 we were lucky to have been sponsored first by Blindology Blinds later called (Bears) and now Penny’s Panthers.

In the last 25 years or so I have mainly coached and if it wasn’t for medical reasons and my age I still would love to play league. In fact I played for very short time on court for the P&D Legends against Plymouth Raiders Legends and it was great – and the next game 12 Dec 15 at Tor School. – lots of people watched and see the action or in my case —- an old git. At that time I thought even though I was going towards my 60’s and have had a pacemaker fitted since May 2002 I would like to continue. Lucky enough the over 35’s started under the banner of Plymouth Raiders at Plympton Ridgeway School. Since then it is now Unity Through Basketball (UTB). And through UTB, I have coached many different people men and women and some children who has not played before for charity games.

I have coached people and from different countries and these are; Wales, Scotland, Germany, Greece, France, Iraq, Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Indian, Poland.

I coach Basketball to primary school Year 3 – Year 6 since Sept 2000 and the last 2 years to Year 2’s as well.

I have a passion for basketball and love the game even though I have been involved with other sports. Basketball is like a family of people all together; that either plays the game or has relatives who come along to support and have to have fun! I have catered for players over the years to join us and these have gone on to play for other clubs. I am sure if it wasn’t this then other teams may not be now established.

Currently; I am Coach of Penny’s Panthers and Chairman of the P&D BB CVL.

I am a Level 2 Basketball coach. I work as an Occupational Hygienist about workplace exposure however, it’s a requirement to know how the body works then this has given me more knowledge about how to keep fit.

I have coached young new Royal Navy recruits at HMS Raleigh to play in a Basketball tournament’s and have included myself into the team when needed.

I have coached at Tavistock AC since the year 2000 to date and I coach mainly sprints and throws. Lot of athletes I have coached has gone onto higher standards and they say they enjoy my coaching.

I have coached my second son’s DJM youth team from U11’s – U18’s until and when he played for Elburton Villa always either top or near the top of the league. I coached Gunnislake football teams and the second team of Lauceston FC. Since 2007 I have been a PAFC Youth scout. I did coach goalkeepers and outfield players at PAFC Youth Development centre at Stoke Climsland Cornwall until it closed in 2013. I have a number of football qualifications

I coach Speed Agility and Quickness (SAQ). I coach multi-skills to primary school Year 1 and 2.

In my humble opinion – if you want to improve at your sport then you have to consider other fitness activities.

My outlook is to look after your-self by eating good food, be careful how much alcohol you drink and to keep fit. Taking part in Basketball and fitness should not have any boundaries and open to all abilities. I coach Athelfit and there are many people with different circumstances such as a 12 year old disabled girl, a lady in her 60’s with one leg, an 81 year old and those who have arthritis. I say to them and others have a go and “do what you can and don’t do what you cannot do”. The feedback I strive for so I can learn, improve and ensure that all have enjoyment. I have had very good feedback which is lovely!