More than 400 people attended the first day of the Final Four International Coaches Clinic on Friday at Maroussi Sports Hall. Some of Europe's finest coaches lectured at the annual clinic, organized this season by the Greek Basketball Coaches Association. The clinic gave many local coaches a chance to learn from the best. "I am more than satisfied with the quality of the event," Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. "I think that these technical initiatives are very useful for the improvement of the level of our clubs. Euroleague Basketball is determined to always support this kind of program. Putting the emphasis on the teaching process is what makes our basketball so special. We are the best in the world as far as the skills of players and the concept of the game are concerned. This is part of the culture of our basketball."
One of the biggest names in attendance was the legendary Panagiotis Gannakis, coach of the European champion Greek national team and chairman of the Greek Basketball Coaches Association."I would like to thank ULEB and Mr. Bertomeu for the great collaboration regarding the organization of the event," Giannikis said. "The coaches who are lecturing are all among the 'crème de la crème' and their trophy shelves are far from empty. I am sure that their experience will be valuable for everyone."
Greek coach Elias Zouros opened the event on the topic of how to attack zone defense. He presented a number of useful drills to help the players learn how to react against it. Winterthur FC Barcelona coach Dusko Ivanovic followed, talking about the pick-and-roll. "The way a coach attempts to nullify the pick-and-roll depends on the quality of both teams," explained Ivanovic, who added that "a team should not implement only one way of dealing with pick-and-rolls throughout a season."
Spain NT head coach Pepu HernandezItalian national team coach, Carlo Recalcati, said during his session that "a coach is interested in the improvement of his team, yet he also has to focus on the improvement of his players as individuals." Recalcati displayed a series of practical drills for both defense and offense, which incited a round of applause from the participants. Pepu Hernandez, coach of the world champion Spanish national team, emphasized the advantages of playing without excessive dribbling, and Benetton Treviso and Russian national team coach David Blatt dealt with "playing without plays."
Among those in attendance were Maroussi BC coach Darko Russo and legendary theoretician of Greek basketball Theodoros Rodopoulos.
"This is for sure the most important and best clinic that has taken place in Europe this year, a high-quality clinic that coaches can learn a lot of interesting things from," Russo said. "It's an excellent opportunity for every participant to see something new, something different."
"I think it's a very important event and I hope that there is more to follow," Rodopoulos said. "I am a keen supporter of these seminars. The fact that it has more than 400 participants indicates that coaches have a thirst for knowledge and want to become better. I am positive that the coaches clinic will contribute to the improvement of European coaching."
The clinic concludes Sunday with Ivanovic, Hernandez, Blatt and Recalcati all scheduled to lecture a second time.