Its axes new development program of the EEC analyzed the Kostas Tsartsaris. The person responsible for this part in the federation admitted that Greek basketball had stagnated for some years and is now trying to cover the lost ground, with a lot of activities and with many games in the small age categories, but also “hairdressing” of the entire territory, but and of Hellenism abroad, to discover talents. He spoke in detail:
For the development program: “At the moment, development is the main basis of Greek basketball. There we have the children who slowly start to get involved with sports and the area of basketball and after this process they come forward, where they are our showcase. If proper work is not done at our base, we will not have a good showcase. That is why we have paid great attention to the arrival of the president, Mr. Vangelis Lioliou, and the honor he did us to give us the baton in this very difficult project. We are slowly trying to build it from scratch. We used to have very good development, for some reason this whole process started to decline, the rest of the world moved on, we stagnated so we decided to put endless hours, pressure and stress on our backs to fix it. Nikos Stavropoulos and I tried to put in new things that we might have experienced before, which worked properly. Things that work well must be repeated, plus the “fresh” look that we can give”.
For contacts with unions: “These two years we started to make contacts with the academies, to tell us the positives and the negatives and through this process the Federation became more outgoing. We started listening to them, recording and starting to solve, which takes time, right structure, right handling time and right people. We built a network of coaches across the country who are responsible for each Union separately, they made these contacts and of course also made the choices of the children who will go further.
For us, it was very important to be able to have our own eyes and choose with our own criteria, that is, to give a meritocratic “touch” to this process. We worked extremely well, we found guys, we worked with them, we got some out, but the development is not only that. It is the attention to announcements at all ages, the institutionalization of some rules of behavior at all levels, it is the very young children who start playing in fan basketball.”
For mini basketball: “We tried to build it from scratch and it was done for the first time in our country. A mini basketball properly structured, with proper bases. From this year we have specific coaches for this process, we have gone to the market, we have approached clubs that were interested in developing this part from the beginning. If we get this mini basketball foundation right, meaning kids have the right tools to grow through it, the rest will be much easier. Since last year we built it and we continue this year, we approached many clubs, we saw where the right infrastructures are, we tried to help those infrastructures that are not trained properly and we gave the right tools, short basketballs, smaller balls and know-how. All this from this year is done in a very organized way. After all this started to be structured, I believe that in the coming years we will see results and beyond.”
For the Rising Stars tournament: “From his first year he was very successful. Along with the improvements we made, it was the top tournament along with the Panhellenic championships. We have chosen certain clubs in specific ways, we have put in two mixed teams with children from all over the country, so that we can also approach those children who do not have enough time participating in his teams, to give them extra motivation to work, to see them too in high competition and all this helped in the selection of the national teams. We also brought a foreign team to each competition, where we gave the children images of what is happening abroad to the children. This year we are going one step further. We started a very big qualifying phase, with 30 teams participating. We wanted to give clubs from all over the country the opportunity to compete for a place in the final stage, we also wanted to give the kids an incentive to stay at their clubs. We will again have a foreign team, but we also have a big addition. We also have the Children’s National Team, where we believe that the children will grow up faster through this process. It will be 11 very tough games for them too. For us, it will be very strong training sessions to see how these children develop through this and of course the coach of the National Children’s National Team, Yiannis Kalambokis, will be able to see for himself what material he will have in the summer. Don’t forget, too, that from this year there is also Rising Stars for girls. In general, we are in a great mood and we try to put in a lot of things.”
For training the coaches: “The Federation has put a lot of emphasis on this. Since last year, through a very long series of seminars that we held all over the country, we tried to approach them, to listen to them, to tell them some things that we have in mind according to the philosophy that we want to pass on to Greek basketball and to discuss things about how they should deal with development. This year we started with a seminar at ESKANA and showed the coaches how a training session should be structured, how a training session should be distributed, the behavior towards the children and of course our philosophy.”
For the philosophy and unified playbook: “It is a process that started from the first year. We used to have a Greek school, but European and world basketball has reached other levels and we are trying… struggling to get close to it. We have some very positive things as Greeks, but we lag behind in athleticism, in speed, in confidence in shooting and in general we do not try to convey to our coaches something special. 2 years ago we started a process with a questionnaire, which we distributed to all coaches and got some interesting answers. We listened to what they had to say, put it down on a piece of paper and started writing the new playbook that will come out this season. The directions we want to convey to all coaches and clubs were based on this, something we have been doing since last year with our ranks.
We want to put the training of athletes seriously in the clubs. Nikos Papavasileiou has been with us since last season and has established a program that we have been working with since last year. We do some measurements on selected children, of all ages, give feedback to their groups and monitor how they work.”
For the entry of Kostas Papadopoulos into the development program: “We try to talk to all the coaches, but this year we’ve thought about going a little deeper. So, we have Costas Papadopoulos on our side, where he has approached several unions throughout the country and discussed with them the way they will be able to walk with us. To have the same philosophy, to train and compete in the same way that the Federation has in mind, so that the children of the national teams can adapt more easily. 45-50 teams have been selected from all over the country and over time we will develop all of this universally. We want to go to all the unions and approach them.”
For the senior program: “Because we have a huge field problem, we haven’t started it yet. We also have a problem in the production of tall. I don’t know if it’s a matter of Greek DNA or demographics, in general there aren’t many tall kids like there used to be. Be that as it may, the children that exist should be helped to improve properly, not only by putting the ball in the basket, but by having their body type and their musculoskeletal system correct. So we have to start right, teach them how to walk, how to catch the ball and have a lot of patience. We went into that process, identified some kids, and I think we helped them a lot, judging by the progress they made in a year and a few months. It is something that we very much want to develop, we want to do it in more areas in the country, but always the field remains a very difficult… puzzle. But we will do it soon.”
For the “Greeks Abroad” program: “The aim of this program was to see and find children of the diaspora who are growing up outside the country’s walls and to see what situation they are in and if they could naturally be “absorbed” by some ethnic group. On a side note, let the Federation also show an extroversion, to “embrace” the many other Greeks abroad. Our first pilot trip was to New York last year, where we saw a lot of kids. Kids came from Florida, Chicago and other states. It was something difficult for them, but they and all the expats “embraced” it. We really felt like… rockstars there, so many people trying to come and help us, to congratulate us for the effort we are making. We saw deserving children. In the first phase, they may not have been ready for the national teams yet, but it is a program that many parts of the world should follow and we should keep our eyes and ears open.”
For the “Blue and White Stars”: “The peculiarity of this tournament is first of all that there is no winner. Children play for fun and their development, coaches do not have the pressure of the result and put the burden on the proper education of the children. Also, we are giving the possibility to all the apidias to have a jersey with the colors of blue and white and the badge of the Federation on it. They are not a National team, but we want to create a little bit of the feeling that they are wearing the National team jersey and identify with the players. Of course, through this process, when the colors are not there, we get rid of the fandom a bit. This year we are including the girls. We “touch” 15 thousand children, 7.5 thousand toys. The project is very big.”
For the League Championship: “This is something that used to be done and I’m a kid who came out of that process. It’s a really nice league, the whole country is involved, kids come from every corner of the country to other regions to be able to compete in unknown stadiums with unknown opponents and this whole process makes the kids grow. The difference compared to last year is that in the four committees of the Aegean islands we organize a separate championship for them. It again concerns the ages of teenagers and children. From this year on, the girls are also involved in the entire inter-Union tournament, so we are getting the whole country to be involved in big and nice tournaments, giving the motivation to even more children and the opportunity to compete against each other”.
Source: Sport Fm
I am currently a news writer for News Bulletin247 where I mostly cover sports news. I have always been interested in writing and it is something I am very passionate about. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.