Two Queensland Coaches and Their Experience at the 2018 Australian Development Camp
The Australian Development Camp (ADC) is a four-day camp where selected athletes participate in intensive on-court practice under the guidance of Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence Coaches and identified network coaches from around Australia. Queensland had two identified coaches attend; Mike St Maurice (Townsville) and Luke Cann (Logan). We chatted with both coaches about their coaching experience at ADC and the key learnings they took away from the experience.
What was the ADC experience like?
Mike: It was a highlight of my junior coaching career. I had coached against many of the kids in attendance over the past two U16 AJCS as well as at the U14 club championships. To get the opportunity to work with these young elite athletes was extremely rewarding. The days were jam-packed with sessions for athletes and coaches. I’ve certainly returned from this experience as a more confident coach.
Luke: Being my first ADC and coinciding with the Centre of Excellence’s youngest ever group, it was a great experiencing everything that came with a High-Performance setting. Being able to work with athletes that were being exposed to that level for the first time and going through the process with them was something that I will always remember. There was a whole lot of young talent there and future Boomers and Opals so to be able to be a part of the beginning of their journeys was very cool.
What learning did you bring back to Queensland that you can share with your fellow coaches?
Mike: Many of the QLD athletes that didn’t get selected would be very close to selection. It reminds me that we have many great young basketball players here in the state. I think we’ve done an excellent job as a state integrating the national style of play at the state level and this is being reflected in the number of selections (5) in the girl’s group. I would encourage my fellow coaches to look for opportunities to learn about styles of play and see how they can be integrated into club and association level teams.
From a technical standpoint, I was able to learn about the terminology that our CoE coaches are using and will look to share that within our coaching network.
Luke: Just knowing that as a young coach and leader of the state program in Queensland we are on the right path and progressively giving our kids the tools to be recognised on a national level. I think that whenever you are in those settings you are all eyes and ears and I would say just the pursuit of excellence and the ability to always want to learn and grow would be the biggest things.
Was there something technically that stood out to you working with prospective future Boomers or Opals?
Mike: There is a ton of information that athletes and coaches are asked to assimilate in very short periods of time. The best of those are constantly taking notes after training, drawing up diagrams of plays and sets, and putting remarks in their handouts. They are then able to translate that into on-court production.
Luke: Not really anything specifically, Just the attitude and ability to pursue excellence and push yourself to your limits. I think Adam (Caporn) and his coaching staff do a great job of keeping the teachings and technical aspects of the game simplified and easy for young athletes to learn. With it being the youngest group ever at ADC, it was good to see the basics of the game being taught which will help me and all Queensland coaches at those base levels and moving through state and national programs. As far as talent, it was a great group and I was more impressed with the overall coachability and respect that was shown by the athletes. They were all about learning and getting better. Very refreshing and no doubt why they have been identified as future Boomers or Opals.
Any key tactical learning you can share with your fellow coaches in Queensland?
Mike: The ability of our young bigs to be able to play in aggressive ball screen schemes and up the floor is really important. It’s no longer good enough to be able to just clog the keyway. Teams are looking to generate extra possessions for their teams through steals and deflections in the quarter and full court.
Luke: Just the reinforcement that Basketball in Queensland is heading in the right direction and what you will be exposed to at our level will be what you need to focus and improve on at the next level. Defensively, we need to be better in Queensland and a coach’s ability to both teach the technical aspects but also learn different disruption techniques through differing tactical schemes is important.
Any highlights for you personally?
Mike: Working alongside and getting to know coaches from the other states that I’ve faced off against or admired at other junior nationals that I’ve attended was really pleasing.
The ultimate highlight for me was being able to Head Coach in the Green and Gold game. The athletes were drafted into two teams and played a fully timed game to finish off the camp.
Luke: Just being there. In the environment and around coaches, athletes and support staff that are all there to pursue excellence and learn. I love learning about Basketball and expanding my knowledge so an opportunity like this was amazing for that.
Do you have any advice for prospective athletes wanting to go down to ADC in regards to what coaches are looking for?
Mike: Coaches are looking for a certain skills package at the various positions, but most importantly, they are looking for young leaders. The BEST advice I could give to any young player looking for this type of opportunity is to become a vocal leader. Coaches are looking for extensions of themselves on the floor and seeing players being guided by players on the floor is certainly inspiring. Don’t be afraid to use your voice confidently; you will stand out for all the RIGHT reasons.
Despite these being the 20 best basketball players for their age group, they are also just teenagers who enjoy having fun playing the game. It was a pleasing reminder that they are afforded these types of opportunities by playing a game. At the heart of things, everyone wants to have some fun!
Luke: Be coachable!! Be one of the athletes that are listening with your eyes and do not be afraid to ask questions. If you can show that you are genuinely hungry to learn and get better than that’s all that coaches can ask. Throw into this an ability to do the extra work and look after your body and you will on the right track. Its all about habits and you need to identify what excellence looks like and pursue that at all costs. A lot of kids get trapped in “their bubbles” and do not have a progressive or learning mentality which can hold them back. Set your goals, work hard and believe.