January 31, 2015

Hundreds join 'Indian Basketball Coaches Network' by Team India Head Coach Scott Flemming

Basketball knowledge is like osmosis: the right chemistry can truly bring about some positive change and help spread the science of the game from one coaching mind to another. And through this beautiful hoops osmosis, basketball techniques and philosophies can be exponentially passed on to greater and greater numbers.

But the sharing of the knowledge first needs organization and a network, and in India, this is exactly what Team India Head Coach Scott Flemming is setting out to achieve. Flemming was hired two and a half years ago by the Basketball Federation of India chiefly to serve as the Head Coach of the National Men's team, a job that he has performed so far by breaking several historic precedents. Flemming has helped the squad win gold medal at last year's Lusofonia Games and perform wonders at the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan by defeating China for the first time ever.

Flemming's work in India also diverts in another crucial direction: the training and teaching of Indian basketball coaches, who will in turn be responsible for helping to prepare the majority of India's young players and coaches for a career in the game. Over the last few years, Flemming has been conversing with several Indian coaches, answering their questions, and attending camps in various states and cities around the country. Now, to improve the conversation between himself and the state/city coaches around the country as well as to share expert knowledge between them, Flemming has introduced the Indian Basketball Coaches Network (IBCN). So far, the IBCN has close to 300 coaches and Flemming hopes that many more will join in the near future.

"After viewing many games I have some messages that I would like suggest to [coaches] to improve their teams and grow basketball in India," Flemming told me via email, "I also want the IBCN to be interactive where the coaches can respond and even make their own suggestions."

In 2012, Flemming came to India with 30 years of coaching experience, mostly at top college programmes in the US. He last served as an assistant coach to the NBA’s Development League side Texas Legends.

In his most recent correspondence, Flemming discussed the philosophies and approaches required to help foster a better 'Team-First' mentality to the game. "I want to make the point that that every player on the team is important and they all deserve our respect," he wrote, "Obviously there are your top players that merit more playing time and are given more freedom based on their abilities. However, each member should be valued the same." He also used some practical ideas from former NBA Coach Del Harris (who attended the Indian Senior Nationals last February) with the coaches.

"The feedback has been great so far," Flemming told me, "I have heard from many coaches expressing their appreciation for this new initiative."

Photo courtesy: Ekalavyas.com
Flemming added that he hopes to share about a variety of subjects in the future that he feel are important for coaches, such as, practice organization, motivating players, systems of play, etc. "I will also make sure to deal with the subjects that the coaches are asking for," he added.

However, communication barriers - such as language - can always be a challenge. "I am hoping that there will be people to translate on the other end if needed," said Flemming, "We may also explore someone else repeating my messages in Hindi or another language if needed for our coaches in different locations."

In the future, Flemming added, he is also hoping that the IBCN involves the views of Indian coaches more to become a basketball forum.

"My ultimate goal would be to improve basketball in India," said Flemming, "This is just another tool that could have an effect on this growth if coaches will allow it to. From the beginning I have expressed that I am here to help in anyway I can. I don’t have all the answers but I do have experience that I believe can assist in developing our teams and our individual players. It is more than just strategy. I am always looking for ways that we can help each other grow in our profession. One of our main responsibilities as coaches is to help our players reach their full potential in basketball and more importantly in their personal lives."

Interested coaches who wish to join the IBCN can email and request Flemming on: coachesnetwork@indiabasketball.org

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