Coaches to gather in Hamilton for annual National conference

Basketball coaches from both Aotearoa and abroad will assemble in Hamilton this weekend to attend Basketball New Zealand’s National coaches conference.

The annual event, running from Friday 22 January to Sunday 24 January at Hamilton Boys’ High School, presents the invited coaches with the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills through observation and collaboration.

Basketball New Zealand General Manager of High Performance Leonard Kings says the gathering will set the tone for what shapes to be a big year for basketball.

“The National coaches conference is a great way to start the year; it’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow coaches, learning from world-class presenters and finding new ways to grow and expand your knowledge.

“This is the fourth annual National coaches conference. We started offering this activity three years ago and the conference has grown each year and is now considered the most impactful coach development activity in New Zealand.

“We are committed to raising the coaching standards at all levels and have found that our national coaches conference provides a gateway to a weekend of inspired learning, an opportunity to grow your network and sets an important platform in decision making for our national concepts of play.”

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Positively Powering Forward in 2021’, with the pillars relating to team unity, leadership during uncertainty, player development in elite sporting environments, and the integration of sports science and mindfulness to the High Performance program.

A wide range of mentors will make up the coaches in attendance, ranging from full-time professionals, senior and junior national coaches and junior development coaches who work for clubs and associations.

Tall Blacks Assistant Coach Mike Fitchett is one of the notable invitees who also turned out for last year’s conference. The Nelson local says the gathering is a great opportunity for coaches to interact and talk about the game away from the hardwood.

“Being able to have conversations with people from around the country and see what they were doing with their teams is something we don’t do a lot, and so to be able to do that away from a competitive environment that we usually occupy is a nice change.

“Everyone there is trying to get better and is willing to share, and then on top of that we’re able to sit back and learn from experienced individuals both in and out of basketball. Nothing beats getting on the floor, but gatherings like this [the National coaches conference] are also beneficial.”

Among the arranged cast of presenters helping lead this weekend’s proceedings is former Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers Coach Kevin Eastman. The American spent over 13 years working in the NBA and is now a corporate speaker focusing on teamwork, culture and leadership.

King added he was delighted with having the likes of Eastman and the other speakers on hand to upskill the inquisitive coaches.

“We are super excited to announce that we have secured a great line-up of presenters for this year’s coaches conference; former NBA coaches, Australian NBL coaches, New Zealand NBL coaches, Australian WNBL coaches, New Zealand NBLW coaches, Senior National team coaches and Junior National team coaches who’re all ready to share their knowledge and expertise.”

The three-day event gets underway tomorrow at midday before ending with a collective lunch on Sunday.