From the very start of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four International Coaches Clinic, it was clear that coaches of all levels and experience were eager to learn from and with fellow coaches from around the world. For the second year in a row, Euroleague Basketball partnered with Giorgio Gandolfi – Sport Marketing, Events and Communication to present the clinic, which was very well received. This season's edition was dedicated to the memory of former CAI Zaragoza coach José Luis Abós, who passed away last fall at the age of 53.
Some 200 coaches, from aspiring juniors to accomplished national team coaches, attended the clinic at the GO fit Vallehermoso in Madrid. This year's edition featured Terry Porter, a former two-time NBA all-star and head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns; Igor Kokoskov, the first European assistant coach on an NBA bench and NBA champion in 2004; EA7 Emporio Armani Milan head coach Luca Banchi; and former Euroleague head coaches Fotis Katsikaris and Sito Alonso.
The event organizer was pleased with how much pull the clinic has had in attracting attendees from near and far. "I am extremely happy with the coaches from around the world because we have coaches from Australia, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and so on," Mr. Gandolfi said. "We continue the tradition of organizing a top, top clinic and we are happy from this standpoint. Also because there are many coaches from the Gulf Area, from the Middle East."
One of those coaches who travels often for these clinics was very complimentary of the event. "I have been to a lot of clinics. A lot. Euroleague. Europe. Every place. United States,” Erez Edelstein, the Israel national team head coach, explained. "And now with the new generation of links and YouTube, you can watch everything. But, in every specific clinic, if you catch two things, that's enough. Just to refresh your thoughts, to see other opinions. That's important and that's the reason I'm here. From every coach, if you take one or two ideas, that's great."
One of those coaches whom Edelstein and others were able to learn from was Banchi, who opened Saturday's morning session. "I was very excited to see so many people here in the gym," Banchi said. "It's a nice time together to share basketball ideas. I hope [the visiting coaches] can enjoy talking basketball and sharing basketball because it's one of the secrets of our job."
Swiss coach Riet Lareida echoed several of his colleagues' sentiments. "It is very important to improve and to learn every year and to see new ideas, because if you don't improve, if you stay the same, you get worse," he said. "And it's very important to get to meet new coaches too."
Among the topics addressed by the four lecturers were offensive and defensive sets, defending the pick-and-roll, attacking a full-court press and building fundamentals in guards.
Hesham Shaaban Khalil of Egypt, who has been coaching in Qatar, arrived in Madrid for the clinic straight from the Unites States, where he attended another clinic. He believes that you can never learn too much. "We are looking at the new stuff and the philosophies of each coach. And we are looking for some new systems to work with. And this gives us a refresher on our knowledge of basketball and increases what we do from different cultures from different countries," Khalil said. "It's also very important to connect with other coaches and to exchange thoughts with each other."