March 2015, I got promoted to be FIBA-expert for the project “Development of National Sports Structure in Basketball” (DNSS), a collaboration between FIBA, the Basketball Federation of Albania (FSHB) and the National Olympic Committee of Albania (KOKSH), funded by Olympic Solidarity. More information on DNSS projects, which main goal is to raise the general sports level and coaching structure, can be found here.
Both in April as just now in July, I’ve spent one complete week in the basketball community of Albania.
During the 1st stage of the project, I’ve visited Albania to make some global observations and to determine what the next step is to improve the national basketball structure. I have visited several clubs, spread all over the country, in their infrastructure with their youth players and trainers in practice and game situations. I had meetings with the President and Secretary-General of the Basketball Federation, the President and Board of the National Olympic Committee and the responsible of the University of Sports in Tirana. Supplementary, I’ve attended several senior games at the highest level in Albania, both men and women.
During the 2nd stage in July, I conducted one week full of clinics clinics on the fundamentals of basketball to a group of 35 Albanian coaches. The participating coaches were challenged to write a report on the practices of the national youth teams wehave visited together. Furthermore, lectures on the FIBA rules, injury prevention, first aid, … were organized.
The two most commonly asked questions during my stay in Albania are:
1) Is there a future for the Albanian basketball?
Of course, it is no secret that the political and economical situation in Albanian is far from ideal, which results in very few resources for the federation and clubs. But during my visit I’ve met so many people enthousiastic about the game of basketball. This summer, Albania will participate to 5 European youth Championships of FIBA Europe. During my clinics, I had the chance to work with highly motivated coaches and players. As long as you have kids who play the game of basketball with passion, there is a future. Basketball is passion and passion is priceless!
2) Did you recognize some talent in Albania?
First one needs to define talent. Often you see it in the rythm and coordination of a player, the feeling with the basketball and the finishing touch. Sometimes it is accompagnied with a sparkle in the eyes, a sparkle that reveals passion and devotion for the game of basketball. During the 1st stage of the project, I was highly charmed by this little girl (see picture below) in the private club of Vlora, by her talent and her attitude. She had that sparkle in the eyes too, definitely. I guess she is now 13 years old. Every single kid like this, deserves the change to be guided by a coach that is as passionate as she is. She deserves every opportunity to progress as a player, but also as a person. Individually, and in the framework of a team or a nation. Basketball is passion and passion is priceless!
An impression of my work in Albania:
Coaches clinic in Tirana (2nd stage)