Coach Cann’s Thoughts on Basketball Coaching
Luke Cann was the Head Coach for the Under 18 Boys South at the Australian Junior Championships where his team won Silver. We wanted to find out what Luke’s key learnings were from his AJC experience and what he believes to be the keys to success in coaching.
1. How did you get involved with basketball and how long have you been played & coached?
I am from a Basketball family and basically came out dribbling a Basketball. Both my Mum and Dad were heavily involved in all aspects of Basketball and Dad is an accredited master coach, so I really didn’t have many options when it came to be around the sport. I did, however, start playing club Basketball as a 4-year-old though.
2. You represented Queensland at every age level so how did you make the transition from playing to coaching? Is there a different perspective to each?
I was very fortunate to represent this great state from primary school all the way up to my last year in U20. I knew my future laid in coaching and my overall experiences throughout the sport “both good and bad” allowed me to have a greater perspective and respect for the game and players. The knowledge and way I think of the game allow me to be a better coach, but the perspective is different in the fact that as a player you are more worried about what you do as an individual. As a coach, it is your job to manage those individual expectations to fit within the framework of a group or team. I made the transition like everyone else. Coached some rep teams, when to workshops and courses and embraced the inner Basketball geek in me 😊
3. How did you find the Nationals and the Queensland team this year compared to last year? Any key learnings?
Nationals is great for any coach. It is unlike anything you will deal with as a coach or athlete. The tensions are high, there is inner and outer pressure on you and your group to succeed and above all, you have a bunch of young athletes who are still figuring out their own paths in the sport. Teaching and managing all that over 10 days can be challenging. We were lucky to have a great group last year but ultimately lost one game in which put us out of medal contention. We ended up finishing 7-1 for the week but still came 5th. I think as far as key learnings I used was you must understand it is a long week and your job is to build cohesion and confidence throughout the tournament. Knowing that one game, one shot, one decision can change your result and still maintain a positive energy and belief within your group. We did a great job as a coaching staff and players of staying locked in to every challenge this year to make sure we gave ourselves the best opportunity for success.
4. What do you think was the main reason behind this year’s success in winning silver?
Winning silver was a great achievement. We had a group of boys who were willing to sacrifice and understood what we were trying to implement as coaches. I believe we had a great mix of personalities and athletes at differing stages in their development who all got along off the court. On the court, we picked a group that was untested and some guys that had never made a state team so there was an element of wanting to prove themselves as well as a bit of ignorance to some of the players and teams we were facing up against which I thought helped us as a team. Overall, we had 10 extremely talented athletes who had all been ultimately overlooked at certain stages in their development who wanted to succeed as much as I wanted them to prove how good they were. They made a pact and they stuck by each other every step of the way.
5. What do you believe are the keys to success in coaching?
I believe that every individual has their own recipe. My mix would be to be yourself and invest in the learnings of the sport. Understand the why and how of all things and use others around you to make you better. Show your players you have a genuine care for them and their success. Build relationships through compassion and communication and clearly define what you want out of everyone and make sure everyone is moving in a positive and progressive direction.
6. What are your future basketball coaching goals?
Just keep learning. I want to compete with and against the highest-level coaches and to represent my country at a junior or senior level would be amazing. Obviously, to coach and experience, different game styles around the world is something that I would love to achieve and learn from some of the great Basketball minds. At the junior level, I just want to continue to make a difference and help athletes get the most out of their bodies and minds whilst getting them to enjoy the experiences and lessons that this great sport has taught me.