After a five hour journey that took the best part of 32 hours and resulted in the loss of my luggage, I finally arrived at the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (FECC) venue. The room is filled with coaches from across the 50 member states of Europe, representing every level, context and phase of the game. How could I not learn?
We are given the obligatory orientation, including expectations, successes and our logistical responsibilities for the week. As I scan the sky blue vista (the colour of the FECC Coach t-shirt) I see coaches busily making notes, some more so than others, one or two taking pictures, and most generally engaged in the process. Personally, I consider myself to be a perennial student, of both the game and life, as such, I find myself scribbling furiously, eager to capture every nugget of the gold mine I have been granted access to.
At our first break I attempt to meet, greet and network with coaches as a means of supporting my learning. I sit and talk to a Saudi Arabian coach, a female coach from Serbia and a number of young coaches from Italy, Spain and Armenia. Our coaching conversations go well, somewhat rudimentary in breadth and depth, but we share coaching context, some background information and a level of courtesy that will serve us well as we progress through the programme. All in all, I feel comfortable and confident in my new found surroundings, and as student coach I am keen to demonstrate my coaching competence whilst embracing every opportunity to learn.
Listening to Coach Pesic this morning presented me with a number of cues, things to think about within my own practice, but also, a number of clarification points. In other words, things that I had considered, even included within my thinking and had positioned as important within my own practice. Indeed, it was reassuring to hear a coach of Pesic’s standing highlight detail, simplicity and responsibility as key components to success at his level of delivery.
Our first task of the week was to observe and scout a game, this was somewhat interesting as it included very little instruction or guidance. My initial thoughts wondered towards the available literature, for example, in the US there is a considerable amount of work on expectancy theory and coaches use of rating systems as a means of assessing ability and formulating a base for performance assessment. I wondered if an introduction to a rating system or assessment framework would have been a useful tool for this task? At this point I had missed the point of the exercise by some distance. As expected, the level of subjectivity was evident in the small group exercise that followed. We were tasked with producing a review of a particular player, unfortunately, our assessments were at odds and so we spent some time talking through each technical skill and what it was we were looking for. This proved to be a useful and very interesting exercise as it reflected the geographical context of each coach within the group. Unfortunately, it did distract us somewhat from the primary task.
All in all, I feel as though I have gotten off to a good start, the meet and greet process was insightful, networking with coaches from across Europe and listening and learning from the FECC staff has been all that I sought within my vision of the programme. This being said, to say that it is not a demanding programme of learning would be somewhat removed from the reality we faced over the next nine days. It has been both an enlightening and educational start to the programme, and I imagine that as we progress through the weeks, months and years, it will continue to challenge us all.
My early thoughts send me back to my practice, I see more holes within my knowledge, my understanding of the game, and the detail I employ within my teaching. Furthermore, from a very personal perspective, and has I scan the rooms and corridors that we occupy, I see a vast amount of coaching confidence on display, coaches steadfast and regimented in their approach to their practice. It leaves me wondering, am I still feel searching for mine, or perhaps, more specifically, do I need to progress my tactical identity and confidence further to become an effective basketball coach?