• Andrew Jantke

Great coaching teams


First of all. Massive rookie mistake. In my last blog, what is Janx'Ball, I said:

When you are risk averse , you build supreme confidence in players, the players have a vision for their future and you teach them HOW to play, not WHAT to play that is JanxBall.

This was a typo, well poor understanding of the english langauge actually. I meant to say (and have now changed it to say):

When you are willing to take risks, allow risks, you build supreme confidence in players, the players have a vision for their future and you teach them HOW to play, not WHAT to play that is JanxBall.

Second of all: Don't forget to subscribe (see link in top right) to get updates on the athletes and also these blogs.

Onto Great Coaching Teams

I feel that one of the things I want to do on this site is to provide the opportunity to recognise my players, but also those coaches and supporters that have provided great value to the teams I have coached.

This blog is probably one of those that won't be much relevance for many reading it, unless you are in SA and close to these guys. It may provide some advice for those taking on an Assistant Coaching role. It is a bit self indulgent just to give some people thanks that have been great value for the teams I have coached recently.

I feel like I have been so lucky with some amazing Assistant Coaches and Supporters lately I needed to mention a few on this blog.

What does it take to be a good Assistant in my mind?:

1. Ability to build rapport with players. Coaches sometimes need to make tough decisions with selections, court time or player roles. They need to be able to push and drive players, sometimes to the edge, to higher levels. Assistants need to be the one players sometimes feel comfortable with going to with problems or issues. Players need to be happy, respected but respectful and I need an Assistant that fills these qualities, leading by example.

2. Work ethic. I work hard and demand that of those around me or you will be shoved aside. You will not have my respect if you don't have a work ethic as a coach.

3. Ability to understand other people's x's and o's and philosophies. It is easy to understand your own. It is often what you were bought up with and it has evolved for you. However, to rapidly analyse and process understand another coaches is not easy. They also have to add value to what we are doing which makes it even more challenging, to add value whilst still sticking to the basic philosophies we are putting in place.

4. Likeability. They have to be good to be around. You spend so much time together in challenging situations and you need to like being with each other, otherwise it becomes distraction from the tasks at hand.

I wanted to take a chance to thank a few men I have been very luck to work with over the past couple of years. Their value to the teams I have coached have been immense. Their basketball IQ is brilliant and they have been great relationship builders with the whole team players and fellow coaches alike, something that is a must for any Assistant in my opinion. I've enjoyed working with them all immensely.

2014/15 U18 Sturt Sabres Men

I'll start with Paul Rigoni and Todd Gower. These 2 men have phenomenal basketball minds. I still don't know how I snagged them BOTH to work with my Sturt group last year.

Paul Rigoni has put so much into Sturt, was an U20 State coach and long time State League/ABL/Premier League player. He has long coached junior teams at Sturt and anyone that knows SA Hoops knows how good Sturt's coaches are and the success/expertise that these coaches, like Rags, bought to the the table. His ability to scout opponents during and pre-game is up there with the best I have seen.

Toddy was a former NBL team member, State League/ABL/Premier League championship winner and won a national NCAA title with Metro State College of Denver. An amazing achievement and anyone that knows about College Hoops will understand. He was running trainings by the end of the year, and largely throughout, making most of our player rotations in games and just mentoring our guys in a lot of areas. He doesn't say alot in between drills, coaches on the run really well but when he speaks people listen because what he says is right on the money.

Both men I have known for decades and to coach with men that I have such a long history of respect for was just an honor.

Taylor Renshaw was our young, ambitious, passionated Div 2 coach. He also runs his own personal training business which many of my guys that year got involved with. Taylor understands elite athlete development and does not work them like your normal kids, he works them as elite athletes. The physical changes and athletic changes in the guys working with Taylor were outstanding and a large reason why they improved at such a substantial rate over that period. The guys loved lifting and getting fitter and faster and Taylor was a huge part of that.

Paul Mesecke was the other Div 2 Coach and also the Director of Coaching. His insights on the super detailed aspects of athlete needs and game structure is 2nd to none. His insights greatly added to certain philosophies I have on the game and gamestyle. He also ran small group workouts at 6.30 AM on Tuesday mornings which many guys in the U18 squad benefited from. Again his ability to develop player IQ and decision making through gameplay was up there with the best I have seen just a basketball genius when it comes to developing junior talent.

Like Renshaw, Tom McDonald, took the guys for weights on Wednesdays. He was tough and did not baby the guys. Those sessions were fun and I always enjoyed coming along and working out and talking crap with Tom and the boys. Tom would provide structured programs week to week and individualise them as required. His coaching and playing background meant he was able to offer basketball specific development.

2016 U18 SA Metro Coaching Group

This year at National Championships with the U18 SA Metro State side I was very lucky with the group and support team I had. David Ingham did a phenomenal job at sourcing these guys and identifying us as coaching team that could work well together.

Jason Joynes is a former NBL player, played college hoops and long time SEABL legend with Mt Gambier. I've known Jason since I was a kid at Norwood and followed his career closely when he left the Flames. His insights were unique and right on the money. He coached the team at East Coast Challenge and we utilised so much of his x's and o's for the Nationals tournament which worked great. He became the zone offense master too. In games at National Championships he was mostly calling the shots. I would not make a decision without checking with Jase first and 9 times out of 10 I went with what he said because he was right.

Helder Borges is the current Premier League ASsistant at Norwood and has been between Norwood and North Adelaide for many years. He played in ABL/State League Premier League squads, even did a stint a super-Euro club FC Porto, and was a great man to have around. He is just one of those nice guys in Hoops but also a tough coach when it comes to training and game time. Players respond to his passion because they know he is in it for them. He took charge of our defense, scouting opposition plays, players and also making defensive changeups as we needed. He made sure of player matchups in games.

Ryan Vivian is a great, young coach. His ability to build rapport with the guys was brilliant. This is a skillset I value first and foremost in Assistant Coaches. He took charge of our player well being where guys upset about anything could go to him. He took warmups at trainings, pre training routines. He picked up our x's and o's really, really well and was an awesome guy to have around. In the week of Nationals his work ethic was off the charts. He was on the video scout, cutting tape to 2 AM most days and making sure we were all over the opposition scouts.

These environments were sometimes conflict driven but we all would debate and argue points and then move on once decisions were made without holding a grudge. The mutual respect amongst the 2 groups of coaches was high too which made working together very enjoyable and rewarding.

I have been humbled to work with these guys, who I consider some of the best basketball people in South Australia.

Janx out!


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