Coaching in these current times presents many challenges. Players ask more questions, challenge ideas, challenge coaches and other players. Coaches are constantly challenging themselves and their peers on coaching methods, concepts and techniques in an effort to improve their coaching expertise.
There is a much greater need now for coaches to be able to answer these challenges and develop a sound understanding of WHY is it that they coach particular skills and concepts in both individual and team play and WHAT is the logic and rationale behind their coaching techniques.
There is no doubt that formal coach education provided through coaching accreditation courses, licensing systems, universities and colleges on the theory of coaching plays an important role in the development of coaches. Clearly though, for coaches to be effective teachers of our fine game of basketball there needs to be a greater emphasis placed on coaches exposure to the informal coaching experiences such as coaching clinics, conventions, study tours and coaching exchange programs to complement the more formal coach education courses.
At the last World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC) Executive Board meeting in Geneva it was decided to embark on a program of creating consistency in coach education world wide. Discussion was also held on developing coaches through formal coach education courses and informal coaching development experiences. This of course will take some time, but it is a most worthwhile challenge.
In FIBA Oceania the process of standardising coaching courses and coach development programs has begun with a pilot project.
Development programs for coaches and players have been delivered consistently by using the model of the Basketball Australia (BA) Intensive Training Centre Program (ITCP). Teaching coaches how to apply coaching theory is a priority of this program.
FIBA Oceania have recently conducted a Coaching Presenters course for coaches of young players at the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), based on the excellent FIBA publication “Basketball for Young Players”.
Application of coaching theory was the emphasis of the course taking into consideration cultural, population, geographic, basketball standards and understanding characteristics within and between countries. FIBA Oceania has also regularly conducted Coaching Clinics for players and coaches competing at the FIBA Oceania Youth Tournaments.
Every two years coaches from the BAITCP, the AIS and coaches from Oceania embark on an international study tour to USA and Europe. Funding assistance for the study tour is provided by BA and FIBA Oceania with each participating coach making a personal contribution.
Exchange and sharing of information is vital and underpins many coaching programs in Australia and Oceania. BA requires that, where funding assistance is provided by BA, the participating coach is required to write a coaching article and conduct a coaching clinic to share coaching information gained.
FIBA Assist magazine has proved to be another valuable method of sharing information, and is read with great interest by everybody involved in basketball.
Provision of both formal coach education courses and informal coaching experiences should provide coaches with high quality opportunities to develop and grow as a coach. The teaching of the application of coaching theory holds the key to answering some of the many challenges before us in coaching.
The formula is simple - The better the coach, the better the quality of opportunities they will be able to provide players to grow and develop as players and as good people.
These challenges are exciting. We do not hold all the answers, far from it, but we are continually looking forward to striving to meet the challenges and wish all coaches success in also striving to meet them.
President of the Association of Basketball Coaches