Month: November 2017

BCH U16-1 game against DJK SB München

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” /Phil Jackson


This weekend I also got a chance to coach our U16-1 team while their Head Coach Sidney was absent. I have been following them from start of the season and was already familiar with some of the player from last season. Also co-Coach Sunny was there to help me as she has been with this roster from beginning of the season and knows the guys well. I never reject a good counsel.

The struggles of team were known to me (they were 0-5, almost all games lost in last seconds with minimal difference) and Head Coach gave me clear goals for the game. Develop the team spirit and encourage to play good, hard basketball. I knew what was going on and what had to be done – I had similar struggles in my team.

Before the game I prepared the Team for hard game by reminding them of good defense, a lot of running and hustling for every rebound and loose ball. Looked good. Off to game.

First Quarter

It is always hard to coach another team. Even if you’ve followed them and know some players it still is another coaches team. They have been put together in special way, they have developed a specific mentality and team spirit. Beginning was something that happens in a lot of teams – guys slept in. That’s something that happens with young guys – they can’t put themselves in focus from first second of the game. Offense was going okayish, I’d write it off due to being guests on another gym – always harder to score. Defense however had to be good, no excuses, but too many light baskets were let in due to bad focus and not properly closing out on distance shooters. Also rebounding was struggling as guys forgot” to box-out opponents. First quarter ended 27 to 11, Hellenen behind.

Second Quarter

After a short talk with the guys, they seemed to have woken up and starting to take control of the defensive situation. No more useless tries to steal the ball from dribble – defense switched to just controlling the man with the ball and directing it to sidelines and baseline. This approach confused opponents and let us keep our defense in check – getting some balls and making some points. Second quarter went to defensive end and Hellenen ended up with 14 to 8 win in this quarter. Great result driving down from 27 to 8! It allowed us to go into Half-time break with just -10, 35 to 25.

Third Quarter

Half-time break allowed opponents to figure out the confusion and make their home atmosphere work for them. Still, ball control in defense was working very good and baskets were lost now only due to new pick and roll strategy from opposing team. Their best players exploited our confusion now and got some quick baskets doing just that. In the end of quarter guys managed to take it under control, but oh boy – offense started to struggle. This quarter also went down for us losing it with 18 to 15. Only -3 thanks to good job in defense. -13, 53 to 40 off to fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Quarter started good – defense was still controlling ball really good, guys were communicating and switching better, that made it hard for opponents to make easy baskets and they had to struggle for every point in the start of fourth quarter. We needed points. This fact turned something in young ones heads and players started to get out of control in offensive. Too individual, rushed shots, losing nerves. This brought doom over the offensive game and while defense was still going good – lack of intelligent and rushed offense opened borders for some easy baskets for opponents. They gladly took the opportunity to keep the lead. Fourth quarter also lost with -1, 16 to 15 and game went down -14 for Hellenen, 69 to 55.


Overall good team with good fighting spirit and strong, focused defense. Faults lie as for many others in ability to be focused from second one. It leaves team in disadvantage and it’s harder to find the pace afterwards. Once this problem is solved – wins will start happening instantly! Also it would also help fix mentality of some players that lost their cool in last quarter thinking that they can fix the game 1 versus 5. It doesn’t work that way. It takes individuals to make up the team and it takes the team to put the ball inside basket and defend your zone from opponents on the other end. Everyone must keep himself in check and sacrifice his ego for the team. In return team will grow stronger and will be able to accent everyone individually for their skills. Doesn’t matter  if as scorer, play maker, rebounder, defense hustler or fast break runner. You give yourself for the team and team will give back. Keep the spirit strong. Keep hustling. Wins are just around the corner.

Coach Valts

BCH U16-2 game against Altenerding


“The fear of finding oneself alone – that is what they suffer from – and so they don’t find themselves at all.” /Andre Gide

Lost 51-57. We did win 2 out of 4 quarters which is a positive change comparing to previous games. Slowly, but steady we’re getting to know each other and work together as a team. Some of the guys still has individual troubles – it seems they don’t trust themselves. Still fighting with their inner-self over the confidence. Game of basketball (as many other sports) directly reflects this – if you’re not sure, if you don’t trust yourself then you suck out at the game. The more you suck out, the more depressed about it you become. Now, there are some guys who picked up the fierceness of combat and ability to lead, to trust teammates. They’re slowly changing the micro-climate within the team. My hope is that this change will influence everybody and till we hit middle of the season (approaching fast) we will have a mentally strong team who trust their learned skills in practices and will be able to hit back on teams we lost to in next round.

Next round is what I am going for.

First Quarter

Again inability to focus on the game from the start. Crucial mistakes were made and points which could’ve been spared. This also applies to confidence and mindset. Mental stability and capability to start strong from second one. We lost first quarter 17 to 8. A minus 11, but we could work around it if we picked up focus and managed to stop their number 9 (top-scorer in the league, avg 36pts) from diving and getting easy baskets. Also number 7 was fast and causing us trouble with his rebounding abilities. In first quarter team slept in defense way too much.

Second Quarter

Now, this quarter was better. Numbers 9 and 7 were dominating for opponents, but we managed to hold them in check and they got confused. We managed to use it in our advantage and make points. Defense picked up and closed middle for number 9 to dive. Some easy baskets missed in offense, which could’ve helped us to break the game, but can’t wish for everything in one go. We won this quarter with 16 to 9 and went in half-time break with just -2, 24-26. This was something we could keep working with!

Third Quarter

Mistakes started to happen again. Stupid mistakes. It was like someone turned the brains off for the guys. Not boxing out and letting opponents to stay in our zone for rebounds, lame passes which caused turnovers for easy baskets and lost points, lost focus in defense and offense. Again – easy layups missed. Small, unnecessary mistakes leading to loss in this quarter 16 to 11. Might seem just 5 points, but we had some luck on our side. Minus 7 after third, 35-42.

Fourth Quarter

Little things matter. Despite picking the game up, many fouls were made and our luck was opponents didn’t made free-throws. Number 9 dominated for opponents and inability to stop him cost us the game. We won this quarter with 16 to 15, but lost the game 51 to 57. Minus 6. This could’ve been a win. Just a little more focus and decision making. Use of mind. We will go for next one! Win is near!


I must admit that it’s harder than I thought to get guys trust themselves and achieve focus. Our society wants everybody to be successful and doing something, achieving this and that. Our society also goes away from themselves as never before. We have so many distractions in our lives that we forget who makes the change – every individual together in a team. We got distractions on every corner to keep us busy, but we don’t find time to work with ourselves. To develop our natural abilities – seeds are given us in birth, put inside us, we just need to stop and find the time to grow them.What I see are kids who learn many things in their young lives and get educated , which is good, but I also see that they’re confused as they spend 8 hours learning literature and mathematics, but spend none in learning how to work with themselves. To be alone, meditate, get to know inner self and find confidence in what they’re doing. Working and sorting their minds. Focus is lost due to need to be doing something all the time. This reflects on the field. This is troubling for me as a Coach and a Human being. I will do my best to teach them the skill of focusing and being in the present moment. As should everyone else. Kids must not be afraid in finding themselves alone, focused, not stressing, otherwise they won’t find themselves at all and become just as everybody else. Everybody will be everybody, but nobody will be himself…

Coach Valts






BCH U16-2 game against Höhenkirchen 1


“To run fast and shoot fast doesn’t matter anything. Mind over everything.”

/Pēteris Višņēvics (Basketball Coach)

Another game down, another loss, another lesson learned. We went down with 60 to 34. Opponents had a strong roster and advantage of the home court. One big guy my size (for that age – quite impressive!) and a really good diver with some crazy arc shot from mid-distance.

Goals for this game were:

  • Keep the big guy in check to our best efforts as we had no one to match him in size.  He had been playing also last year in this age group and had skill advantage. The secondary goal was to get him fouled out of the game.
  • Keep the Diver in the check with full-court press the whole game. He’s top-scorer for opponents and his best one was 37 points per game, in another going 26. Tough job for the guys.
  • Get better in offense. I can say that defensively this team has been doing okay, but offense was struggling. Goal was to take more shots in mid-range and free, non-contested shots from three-point line.
  • Break the mental block in team to make them work more together and play harder, better basketball.

First Quarter

Team went in knowing that very tough job awaits. I had been telling them that two of opponents are very hard to deal with and if we take care of them – we have a chance for a good game. Full-court press on the Diver and practice not letting the big guy to post-up in the Zone. Also, if he manages to get the ball – we double him. Now, the quarter was struggle as always, at start guys slept in defense, offense not quite running, missing baskets on fast breaks. Team did a little bit worse than okayish and we ended up with 19 to 8, 11 points down. Nothing big, I awaited to get kicked in the knee at first quarter because of their experienced big guy and the Diver. Still, bench presence was good, motivation okay and guys fought well.

Second Quarter

Now this quarter went to shit. 13 to 4 loss for us in this quarter. (Luckily for us – opponents also missed shots and some Freethrows) Offense was struggling a lot, shots didn’t go in – which wouldn’t be a problem if guys wouldn’t get mental block again. They made bad decisions, bad passes – no one wanted to take responsibility and initiative. DUe to that – those who did, didn’t get any help from others. Bench went silent, defense started to make mistakes, attention went down. Guys started to think there’s nothing to do. First-half ended with 32 to 12. The score won’t be so disappointing if there was a fight and we Team would just miss buckets, but the fight wasn’t there. Mental block.

Half-Time Break

There was only one thing to do – take the team to lockers and give them reality check. Ask some questions and make them answer for themselves. What are we doing here? Do we drive all this distance just to mess up again? Do we want to play like kids or like young men? Fight like individuals who can’t take responsibility for their actions or take it, make it matter and work together as a team? Trust each other and help each other in defense – because that is what men do. That is how men play basketball.

Now, this turned some gears in their heads. We went out, warmed up for second-half and went in the game.

Third quarter

The team I wanted to see. Young men, not kids anymore. It took the realization that it’s up to them to choose – fight or not. Guys started to fight as a Team. Took individual responsibility, made better decisions, fought in defense alone and together. Helping, talking! Communicating! Now this is was some good basketball. Because of the good defense also offense did better – more penetration to basket, more fakes which lead to more fouls from opponents and some Freethrows. Sadly enough distance shots were still missing and without them we couldn’t pull over – lost third quarter with 11 to 8. Minus 3, not 11, not 9. Three. Mental block had been lifted.

Fourth quarter

Now, one thing is to fight knowing that you can win, but I think most of the guys realized that this game for us was as good as dead – we woke up too late. But this was the new team, the team who had realized that fighting now is more important than the score at the end. So they learned and applied this new knowledge. They fought. Worked on given goals. Top-scorer was in check, made some points, but was far from scoring over 30 or even 25 this game. He checked out with 17 points. Now, some of them were over defense and pretty lucky. I consider that  guys did pretty neat job keeping him in check. Talking about the big guy – he checked out with 20 points what doesn’t surprise me as he had big advantage over our physical abilities. Sorry, we checked him out! After 39 minutes we got him fouled out. Too late, yes, I know, but goal accomplished! 2 fouls happened in 3rd quarter and 2 in 4th. If we had the mentality of second half – I am sure he would be out till half-time and we would take the game. This time we ended up with 17 to 14 loss on fourth. Also just minus 3!

End game 60 to 34 due to bad show on first half.

Now, despite the loss – team learned a lot, did improve and at the end accomplished all goals I had set and ordered:

  • Guys did hard job the whole game to keep the big guy on check! No issues there, very good job. And he got fouled out also! Doesn’t matter that it was 39th minute. Goal accomplished.
  • Second tough job – done. Had to change guys frequently and this job checked their stamina. Whole time when he was on field – full-court press and deny. There were some holes now and then, but barely noticeable and most of them due to the reason that defender had to help a teammate on stopping another opponent player form diving. Goal accomplished.
  • All right, first-half wasn’t better, but second was! More jump shots taken, more three-point shots taken which resulted in more offensive rebounds and more points. Comparing to previous games – great achievement in second half. More confidence individually and as a team. More passes, more teamwork. Goal accomplished.
  • We go the mental block after first half and lifted it in second. Didn’t happen in previous games. Will to fight was there, higher focus and in second half there was no recrements left from this mental illness. Goal accomplished.

Now it is important to keep this attitude in the Team. This was first (very) important step in life education of these young men. Make a decision, take the responsibility, work as a team, help the team, help your brothers of basketball. Do your work as individual to get team going and get the work done as a team. Transformation. Mind over everything.

My job now is to strengthen these principles in practices and make them work with the first second of the next game. I have a good feeling about this.

Coach Valts

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