This week we chatted with three-time female basketball coach of the year, Janelle Bressow about her defining career moments and where she gets her inspiration from as a basketball coach. Janelle is the current coach for the Australian Deaf Women’s basketball team, the Gekos and has been successful in leading them to a gold medal in the 2015 U16 National Championships.
What was the defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in basketball?
I don’t think there was necessarily a defining moment as such, I have a teaching background and so I really enjoy seeing kids develop and learn, and get excited when they see their improvements. I believe basketball is a life skill, so I get a lot of satisfaction from that.
What is your proudest achievement in your basketball career?
I have a couple, the first was being given the head coaching job for the Australian Deaf women’s team going to Deaflympics, and the second was winning the gold medal for U16 National Championships at Australian Championship last year, which hadn’t been achieved in 35 years!
How did you deal with disappointment on your journey as a developing coach?
I try not to dwell on things and just put it in perspective so that I can learn from the experience and continue to develop myself and my team. I take in and acknowledge it and then realise and work on what I need to improve. Coaching is all about listening and continual development, and the day you stop doing that is the day you need to stop coaching.
What is it like to coach as a female in male orientated sport?
It can be difficult at times; it depends on how much determination you have and what you really want to achieve out of the sport. It’s a shame there aren’t more female coaches but I think a lot of it is due to the amount of time you need to invest into coaching. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of.
Do you think there are any barriers for females getting more involved in basketball in Australia?
Yes, the lack of money including payment in female sport is a lot less than male sport. Whilst it is getting better, the lack of media coverage and the focus on male dominated sports always makes it tough.
How do you motivate your players?
Motivation is very different for every player; you need to learn what puts the fire in every different player by learning and observing. I also give players ownership and responsibility of team achievements and games so they know they’re playing for themselves and the team. I think giving credit where credit is due is exceptionally important, and don’t get angry at them when they make a mistake, encourage them to do better and be better.
What’s your core philosophy for developing elite basketball players?
They need to show commitment first, and want to improve themselves, not be pushed by other people. There needs to be a determination within themselves, athletic ability and they must have the physical attributes and fundamental ball skills of a basketball player and practice when they think they’ve practiced enough, developing their own skills on and off the court.
Where do you find inspiration and continued development as a coach?
I get my inspiration and drive from the players in the team. They all motivate me to do better and improve how I deliver things and this is amplified when they achieve something, no matter how big or small. I also gain a lot from talking and learning from fellow coaches.
Basketball Queensland would like to congratulate and thank Janelle on her continued commitment to basketball, we can’t wait to hear about your future endeavours!