Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interview: "Work Equals Success"

I've been interviewed by Mária Penciaková from the Slovak basketball web site BasketPortal. Here you have the link to the interview (if you want to work on your slovak) and below you can find the English translation.

1. Could you please describe yourself ( how old are you? Where are you from?hobby? etc.)

I'm 35 years old, from Guadalajara, a city near Madrid, Spain. I'm lucky as the thing I like the most is also my job, basketball. I also like reading and running "mens sana in corpore sano"!

2. Could you please briefly describe your coaching experience?

I've been a professional coach for the last 14 years, I started pretty young and I'm happy to say that I've coached in different places and always at a good profesional level, in Spain, Hungary and now in Slovakia. I've been assistant coach and head coach and I love being a coach, also working with young players or kids, which I think is where we need the best coaches. Unfortunately that's easy to say, but not that easy to do.

3.What is your basketball philosophy as basketball coach?

Work equals success.

Work hard every minute of every practice. Every day. There are no secrets here. I enjoy every minute I'm doing my job, on the court, or off the court. Practicing or watching videos, planning the practices, planning the weeks... Good moments and bad moments. You need to think about basketball 24/7. You need to love this job. If you don't, you'd better look for another way to live. Sometimes is not so easy to leave family and friends behind and not having a "personal" life. There are sacrifices to make.

4.What are your beginnings with basketball? Did you play professional basketball?

No, I didn't play pro. Not everyone can be a professional player. Also, I discovered coaching early in my life, and the decision for me was quite clear. I love coaching.

5. What do you think, what makes a team successful?

Working well every day. Even if you have a lot of talent, if you don't work hard every day... Sometimes success is winning a championship, sometimes avoiding relegation, sometimes to be a better team. No matter what your goals are, you need to put in the hard work.

Apart from that, the group of players, they are the artists, but they must understand their roles and always put the team first. The organization of the club is important too.

6. As a coach what goes through your head after a defeat?

I analyze the reasons, I look for the solutions, I learn from it and I keep working. What else can you do?

7.How do you handle criticism from fans?

My job is to take decisions. I understand sometimes fans, or players, may disagree. I can live with that. I feel a great respect for fans, and also I understand that they don't have all the information that we, as coaches, have about the team and our players. The most important thing in life is, in my opinion, respect. I feel that respect for the fans, the players, the coaches, the referees... We're all together in basketball.

8.How do you handle team discipline?

Talking face to face. Letting them know what I think they need to do to improve the team and themselves. Putting the team first. Understanding that sometimes mistakes happen on the court. And being sincere. We love this game, but this game is our job. We're professionals. There are some rules to follow. I can listen to the players' suggestions, I believe they can help in the decision making process, but they know I'm the one who will decide.

9.What is your preparation for game and practice?

We do a lot of work (my assistant coach Martin Blaho and me. I'd like to point that it is great to have a coach like him by my side) We do a post game study (after each one of our games) so we know exactly what happened during the game. Sometimes we run video meetings with our players (with things we want them to do, or to change, mistakes to fix, good things we want them to keep doing...) We scout our rivals, with a lot of attention on their players and the way they play as a team. We have at least two video reports to show to our team. We talk about our practices, so we know what are we going to focus in, the goals... We always talk about working as if we were an Eurochallenge or Eurocup team. That's our goal.

10. Now that you’ve been here two months, what are your impressions of the team?

We are on our way. We could say "under construction" yet. We're being competitive even with all the problems we've been through. We don't look for excuses and we work when we have 14 players and when we have 7. I'm proud of my players' attitude and the way they practice. We are a solid team longer and longer time on the court, but we still have a lot to do, we haven't reached our limit. We'll be ready for the key moments of the season if we keep working like this.

11. Are you still searching for new players for your team? Or is your team complete?

In professional sports the teams are never complete. You never know what is going to happen. Injuries, problems of any kind, opportunities... The only thing I know is that we will work exactly the same way with these players, with more, or less. Hard work every day, fighting to be better every day.

12. This is your first time coaching Slovak team, what would you like to prove with your team in this season 2012/ 2013?

Our goal is to be the best team we can. By the end of the season I want to feel we did our best. We'll see where is our limit.

13. How do you like Prievidza?

It's a nice place to live and work. The right size. With green areas to run, which is great if you like it.

14. How do you like Slovak food?

I really like it. It is tasty, very similar to the food we eat in Spain during the winter. I love your soups, for example.

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