We had a chance to catch up with former Olympian, Claudia Brassard and find out about her achievements and standout moments as an elite basketball player and coach of the JCU Townsville Fire team. Claudia spent five seasons playing for the Townsville Fire 2000/01 – 2006/07, including captaining for two of the seasons and being named MVP in her first season as skipper.
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 always been passionate about basketball, but it was probably when I first made the national team was when I knew that I wanted to be the best, I could and play at the best level and represent my country at an Olympic level.
What is your proudest achievement in your basketball career?
I have two, the first one was being the team captain for my team at the Olympic World Championships in 2006 and the second was winning back to back WNBL Championships.
How did you deal with disappointment on your journey as a developing coach?
I prefer to focus on the process rather than the outcome, that way I make sure I always learn from my mistakes and am able to get something out of it.
What is it like to coach as a female in male orientated sport?
There are always challenges, mainly to do with balancing everything – my male counterparts are able to coach or play full time, whereas for females there’s only a capacity to coach/ play part time. I’m still hopeful that there will soon be the same opportunities in the female competition.
Do you think there are any barriers for females getting more involved in basketball in Australia?
The hardest part would probably be the lack of money in female sport and funding, which makes it more challenging to stay involved and the commitment it takes at higher levels to stay involved.
How do you motivate your players?
At a WNBL level, I make sure everyone is focused on the same thing, and are putting the team goals ahead of any personal goals. I always make sure people get personal recognition for their efforts, but also make sure they’re helping the team get where they need to be.
What’s your core philosophy for developing elite basketball players?
I believe there are three parts that go into making an elite player; one must have the right physical attributes (be athletic, height, etc), be mentally fit (basketball iQ, be resilient) and show commitment (time for training, games, drills and be willing to do the hard work when no one Is watching).
Where do you find inspiration and continued development as a coach?
I get my inspiration from my team and players, they come in looking to be challenged and with the right attitude. Coaching is all about networking, and getting inspiration from other coaches and players.
Basketball Queensland would like to acknowledge and thank Claudia for her huge contribution to the sport, and we look forward to hearing about your future endeavours!