Received a great email from North Adelaide Junior Coach Matt Heinrich detailing an unbelievable trip he had recently to the US, for a Convention, held by the North American Basketball Coaches Association. Matt and Sean Richards who Coach our Under 18 Div 1 Girls, attended the event over the Easter break.

If you are a basketball tragic like me, this will be something you need to put on the bucket list, it sounds fantastic!!!

But rather than me try to explain I have copied most of Matt's email and some background below, and thank you Matt for this insight -

"We were away for two and a half weeks driving from LA to San Antonio (along Route 66) and back, visiting places like the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque, Oklahoma, Dallas, El Paso, Tucson and Phoenix.

The convention itself is held in San Antonio at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Centre, in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four over the Easter weekend. It offers development and networking opportunities for basketball coaches. It includes an exhibitor marketplace along with practical and theory based professional development clinics run by NBA, College and High School Coaches. The convention also provides opportunity to attend awards ceremonies, discussion panels and group meetings.

The conference is open to all 5,000 North American Basketball Convention members including international coaches with current membership. Attending the convention gives you the opportunity to purchase tickets to the NCAA Men’s Semi-Final and Championships Games, an event attended by 70,000 spectators at the Alamo Dome.

I attended both the Semi-Finals and Final games of the Final Four weekend. I’d been to NBA games on previous trips and found with the College game the student sections, brass bands and chants brought a different type of excitement to what you experience at an NBA game.

In the Semi-Finals Michigan came from behind to beat Loyola and Villanova shot a record breaking 18 three pointers to beat Kansas. Aside from the unbelievable number of three pointers made, it was interesting watching Villanova hold all their time-outs in a huddle on the floor with the bench surrounding the on-court players and coach.

The standout in final game where Villanova beat Michigan comfortably was Donte DiVincenzo’s performance scoring 31 points off the bench.

On the Coaching front, of the 101 events over the weekend, one of the highlights was attending a session by Gregg Popovich, NBA head coach of the San Antonio Spurs (Patty Mills), themed on Building and Sustaining a Culture of Excellence. Gregg opened his presentation by modestly stating that coaching is just something he does, it isn’t who he is. His main points were the importance of coaches getting to know players at a personal level and realising there are things in life bigger than basketball. “My drills are the same as your drills, it’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about habits” Gregg said before opening his session for questions from the audience.

The exhibitor market place offered the opportunity to explore innovative technologies like ‘ShotTracker’, a player and ball tracking solution that uses ceiling mounted sensors above a basketball court to monitor coin sized devices worn by players and display their movements on a computer, tablet or phone. It was interesting to hear of an Australian installation at Kilsyth in Victoria.

Another pioneering technology was a shot improvement system called BB-Sys that focused on visual improvement by masking a player’s vision until the final moments of shooting. According to research, the system aims at improving players perceptive skills, an area that isn’t often developed in normal training and BB-Sys claim an average 8% improvement after training with the system once or twice a week for several weeks.

The NABC Convention concluded with a River Parade trophy presentation to Villanova for winning the Men’s NCAA Championship."

Matt Heinrich

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