Warriors BIG V stalwart Bill 'Window' Winder took some time to explain his take on player culture and the direction of the Pakenham program.

When I joined the Pakenham Warriors program in 2002, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted from basketball. I was 18 years old and a year off basketball had left a lot of open questions lingering. I wasn’t sure about what the Pakenham club would be like after having played in the large and successful Dandenong program throughout my junior career.

The coach at the time was Danny Adamson, an American coach who preached ‘basketball intelligence’ and the need to develop strong ‘club culture’ over time. He spoke of how enthusiasm and encouragement can win games. Get a deflection, he used to say, and the whole defence can be ignited. He used to harp on how communication is important in basketball for success. This club culture is built over time as the players get to know each other both on, and off, the court.

Pakenham has always had a decent club culture throughout the years playing in the MMBL and the Big V. The team had moderate success in the first two years we competed in the Big V, but we have had a constant flow of players in and out of the club, for whatever reason. The downfall to last season was the personnel turnover. It really hurts the playing group when players and coaches are in and out, here one day, then gone the next. You find it hard to relate to the player and the person. Mouths start to drop and the losses are hard. Practices are a struggle for the people who really bleed Blue and Gold when there are some who are just making up numbers.

This season is a different story to the last. We’ve seen the return of long standing personnel and new alike but there is a different feeling in the air.  Coach Rogers is a no-fuss leader who tells it like it is: You need to trust your teammates 1 through 12 to support you, pull your head in on the practice court and also at game time. If you don’t, you’re going to hear about it from everyone. When some clubs have barely even had tryouts yet, our club has already been gelling as a unit during practices over the last eight weeks. However, it’s not just practices. Social outings, fitness sessions and soon a team pre-season camp gives us the opportunity to understand the ways each of our teammates work on and off the court.

It seems we’re building a winning club culture at Pakenham and everyone is buying in. We know the fans will too because if we’re working as a unit within a structure, we will be having fun and winning. Players will stick around for the hard slog because they’ve been through it all together AND the games will be fun to watch. Pakenham is an exciting place to be for basketball.

Let’s go Blue and Gold 2013!


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