Basketball Sport

Coaches want the best for country, select deserving players

LAST week I pointed out that the first quarter and part of the second quarter of this year dawns a congested period for the 2017 basketball calendar.
As things stand now, the senior men and women along with the under-16s are in full gear selecting players to represent the country.
Former Zambia Basketball Association vice-president Mayford Chikoya, reacting to a social media post by men’s team manager Oswald Kalamba, wondered why trials were being conducted at this stage when coaches had an entire season to assess players based on their performance during the league season.
It is a question that even I wondered but understanding from the coach’s perspective, the trials were not to pick players based on their two-day assessment but on how they would respond to coaching in terms of what strategy the coaches intend to apply.
From what Kalamba posted on social media, the coaches have criteria of attributes they were looking for and even if one had a chance to observe the players during the regular season, a point comes when a trainer has to put the pieces together and see how they gel.
As a former team manager with no coaching experience, from what I learnt sitting on the bench, some players are good individually but put them in a team and introduce a play or system, they fail to tick.
In 2015 Sue Phillips, head coach of Archbishop Mitty High School (California – USA.), when asked the purpose of try-outs, said when it comes to evaluating players, coachability is the first and foremost observation.
She explained: “Some view coachability as having a good attitude and working hard, but that’s the price of admission at the gym door. For us, coachability is a player’s capacity to quickly digest feedback and make the immediate correction.  Without coachability, a player’s skill set will remain static. We believe that coachability is paramount to a player’s potential for development.”
She emphasised that while coachability, skill, and talent are the bulk of the evaluation process, never ignore a player’s willingness and capability to fill a team role.
Teams are most successful when each player clearly understands and buys into their role.
I recall years back when the then senior national men’s coach dropped a player from the squad, he was asked by the media and he replied: “He is not responding to training.”
Another football coach was famously quoted for describing a player he dropped as being untrainable.
These are some issues that fans may not understand when he/she is doing his job because the best player may not be the best team player.
I guess it is response to training as a unit that coaches Cuthbert Tembo and his assistants are looking for in players that they have called to trials.
He obviously wants the best for his country and it must be according to his plan, and his plan must be one the players can execute without challenges in comprehending what it is all about.
Have a blessed week!

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