NZ’s top basketball coaches collaborate at the first National Coaches Conference

NZ’s top basketball coaches collaborate at the first National Coaches Conference
Over the weekend Basketball New Zealand held its first National Coaches Conference at the Bruce Pullman Lodge in Auckland from 19 to 21 January. 

Basketball New Zealand’s recently appointed High Performance General Manager, Leonard King led the conference. He said the theme of the conference was ‘Strength of System’, which is part of Basketball New Zealand’s High-Performance plan for the next four years. 

“When building a High-Performance Program, we need to establish a strong and robust and high achieving culture,” said King.

There were 32 coaches from throughout New Zealand that participated in the three-day conference, most of which coach within Basketball New Zealand’s National program or the NZ NBL.

There were a number of takeaways from the weekend, including: 
• Turning high-potential athletes into high-performing athletes 
• High Performance isn’t all about budget, the focus is ensuring that we utilise every available resource effectively 
• Achieving high performing and high wellbeing athletes and coaches 
• Providing a simple, clear and consistent player and coach pathway 
• Developing a national style of play for the country
• Creating regional systems of play that align with the national style of play 
• Establishing high-performing regional training centres 
• Junior national team programmes operating within a system of long-term development.

King said it was pleasing to bring in coaches from around New Zealand and see them working alongside one another.

“It was great to have some of New Zealand’s best coaches together over a three-day period to explore, discuss and debate global best practices and decide on what’s best for New Zealand. It was an exciting start in building a community of coaches, who are willing to share ideas, collaborate on programs and engage with each other in an effort to improve New Zealand’s best athletes.”

Two guest speakers also gave an insight into Basketball New Zealand’s High Performance plans and High Performance culture. The first was Robyn Clements, representing the Basketball New Zealand Board. She touched on some of the many highlights from our National team program from the 2017 year, she reiterated the important role coaches play in the High-Performance pathway, and she thanked everyone for their contributions to the program.”

High Performance Sport New Zealand’s Eddie Kohlhase followed, presenting a brief snapshot of New Zealand sport over the past 30 years and its evolution into the professional era.  He explained High Performance Sport New Zealand’s funding criteria and provided a quick synopsis of where Basketball fits in the eyes of High Performance Sport in New Zealand.

Bay Hawkes Coach and New Zealand age-group coach, Zico Coronel, said the weekend was valuable for all in attendance.

“The concept of getting many of New Zealand’s top basketball coaches together is a promising one. It was great to see experienced coaches like Jeff Green, Mark Dickel, Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker in the same room sharing their experiences with up and coming coaches like Josh Davis from as far north as Harbour, and Dan Peck, from Southland. It was especially valuable to have the perspective of Lindsay Tait, a current NBL player, Tall Black legend and now a coach. 

“It is good that the High Performance Manager role has been formalised by BBNZ after the position has been performed informally in an outstanding fashion in previous years by Natu Taufale,” said Coronel.

“The prospect of growing as a coach is an extremely exciting one, and hopefully, regular BBNZ coaches’ conferences will grow to become an important part of the development of coaches in New Zealand,” he added.

Coach Dave Mackay was also in attendance, who said the weekend helped support his current work in the Under 14 programme.

“The weekend conference gave an excellent platform for us all to not only work with the new GM of HP, Leonard King, but also a chance to review and reflect with others involved in the National programme in various capacities. 

“Personally for me and my role, leading the start of the pathway with the U14 programme, this opportunity helped further establish the teachings and concepts around the introduction of our National style of play. This will assist our athletes and coaches before progressing to our National Junior teams.”