Category: Basketball (Page 1 of 3)

BCH U16w vs München Ost 2

This game presented one part of what I like about basketball and sports in general. Sooner or later those not willing to give up will become better and present a good competition or even come over the top. Also – if you get to the top and want to stay there there can’t be one day you let your standards drop, others are coming for you. Competition isn’t sleeping. One of the things I dislike about this season is that I’ve taken too much on my shoulders and meanwhile I can present the development of all my teams it isn’t the kind of development I would like to see as a Coach. The simple reason behind this is that there is not enough time to prepare according to proper standards for every team I am coaching, so some of the stuff must overlap or I just tend to oversee it and implemet later as I would have normally. That said I like to see others put in a good workload on their development and keep moving forward – we need that competition that makes us sweat and check the reality.

In the first game against München Ost 2 Hellgirls dominated the playing field and took the win on the road with onse sided 25 to 97. Though, there is always the thing with the second teams in the clubs. There is also the first team and that usually means that they also pull up the following teams. Coaches learn, get mentored and develop their players to bring them to the level of first team, so at least some of them get the chance to play there. This was the case, headache for us.

First Quarter

I started off like I usually like to do – starting five consisted only from our U14w girls. It turned out that München Ost 2 really had improved a lot since our last meeting at their home and game turned out very interesting and tense. Up to minute 5 we managed to score only two baskets meanwhile our opponents scored four. On the minute 5 I did some rotations and it changed the score in favor for us. Hellgirls scored some more and we took the lead on minute 8 with 11 to 10. After that I put in some of my most experienced players and they managed to stop the offense of our visitors in Hellenen Dome and score some more points in our favor. First quarter turned out good for us with +9 points, 21 to 12.

Second Quarter

As a result of showed strength in first quarter I awaited that this won’t be another game of +30 points, but what I didn’t anticipate is that we would not score. Second quarter was amazingly unsuccessfull scoring-wise for both teams. For first seven minutes in the second period scored only München Ost 2, they put up 7 points and shrinked our lead to only 2 points, 21 to 19. Hellgirls just couldn’t put the ball through the ring! After switching it a little bit up, we managed to overtake the iniciative for the remaining three minutes in the first half and played good defense, stopping offense from our visitors. It resulted in some steals and fastbreaks and we could put some points on the scoreboard. In the second quarter both teams achieved only 15 points together, 8 for Hellgirls and 7 for München Ost 2 respecitvely. We still had a little advantage over our opponents when going in halftime break: +10 for Hellgirls, 29 to 19.

Third Quarter

I like the Coach from the opposing team. He kept his positive the whole game and pushed his team to the limits. Made our life hard, we like hard. Meanwhile the scoring of München Ost 2 got better in the third period ours stayed okayish from what we are used to. For the first four minutes in the second half, scoring was done by our visitors and we could give an answer only at the minute 24. Though, the situation didn’t get much better and we kept losing the baskets. At the minute 27 we stand only with 1 point remaining over our rivals and our Captain made much needed three point shot at the minute 29 to keep us in the game, then the teams exchanged some more baskets and München Ost 2 had burned down our 10 point lead to only 4 points after the third quarter, München Ost 2 took this quarter with 11 to 17 in their favor, score 40 to 36 and Hellgirls leading still.

Fourth Quarter

Now, I wasn’t feeling like having much headache and wanted to finish the game in our favor. So I chose to play mostly those who proved able to bring the energy in the game as for the first three quarters team lacked the energy, heart and power to fight back properly. They slept in, so I took the ones who were willing to change that and defend our Hellenen Dome. For half of the team that day on the bench it clicked and we could make a good fourth quarter. We started off by scoring some two baskets and giving just one in the first three minutes. Still bad scoring from our side, but you gotta take what the team gives you in days like this. Hellgirls managed to keep their defense running good all fourth quarter and scored twice as much as our visitors from München Ost. This brought us the win in the fourth with 16 to 8 and in the game 56 to 44. Good game and team development by our visitors – München Ost 2! Still, our Hellgirls managed to hold their line in Hellenen Dome despite having a bad day.


Days like these is just something you can’t ignore. My girls didn’t show the WILL to fight today. I really hope this was a one time thing. We surely need to work on our attitude and willpower more. This will require job on my side and restructure our trainings to fit this need to train energy and will. Also, as the season is slowly coming to an end, there is a need to plan for the next Season which will bring much higher competition. Skillwise and mentalwise. We can expect that by going in with wrong mentality will bring chaos and needlessly lost games. This can’t be the case, it can’t be that others want to win more than we do. It’s mentalgame crunch time for our U16 Hellgirls.

~Coach Valts


BCH U16-3 vs Altenerding

Warming up Photo: Danijela Marinica

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

Sun tzu “the art of war”

Last time we went against Altenerding was at their home and after a very interesting and close game we barely made it out victorious with +2 points 65 to 67. I was awaiting a hard game, but I knew that we could succeed also at Hellenen Dome. We had worked on our conditioning, rebounding and fastbreaks. My guys were staring to understand the benefits of fast paced basketball and attacking before opponent can properly set up the defense. Little did I know how much of a difference we had achieved since last time.

First Quarter

As anticipated the game started off hard. At start opponents took the iniciative and scored three straight baskets in first two minutes. Then Hellboys gave an answer of three baskets in next two minutes, so we stood 6-6 at the minute 4 of first quarter. Change happened again and boys from Altenerding pushed another three baskets, then again Hellboys. At the end Hellboys missed one freethrow shot and visitors took the first half in their favor with 13 to 14. We started slow, so I instructed my guys to play much faster.

Second Quarter

We hit like a thunderstorm in late October evening right before Halloween. We opened the party with fast two points, two three-pointers and another two points. That gave us immediate 10 to 0 in this quarter and only after two minutes in, the opponents could answer with a made three-point shot. That wasn’t enough, Hellboys had smelled weakness and were on the hunt. Till minute 15 my guys made another six baskets in fast-break and put one additional three-pointer. We went up to +26 points at minute 18 in second quarter. Then for last minutes teams exchanged some baskets and we went in the half time break with very comfortable +24 points, 49 to 25 for Hellboys.

Holding the defensive position Photo: Danijela Marinica

Third Quarter

Now, we had all that buffer of extra points and we needed it in third quarter. In this teams experience they were not yet learned how to come back in after the half time break and opponents would usually take us over on third quarter. That was also the case in the first game against Altenerding. Not this time. While third quarter was not as spectacular as the second one, Hellboys did a very good job on holding their line in defense and not letting visitors to score more than total of 10 points this quarter. We did defense for the most part of the third quarter and scored just 7 points seven minutes in the third quarter. Then on the minute 38 we took over the iniciative and went on to achieve four more baskets in the third and take this quarter with 15 to 10 in our favor, stand 64 to 35 for Hellboys before closing it down in fourth.

Fourth Quarter

Beast mode again. Hellboys went in to finish their prey off. This quarter started with three straight baskets before Altenerding gave an answer. Boys continued to carry on by fast paced basketball and good penetration, took some more three point shots and landed another one of them. Visitors answered now and then with total of five baskets in this period (10 points) while Hellboys achieved wooping 26 points in the fourth. Game ended with a clear score of 90 to 45 for Hellboys. Amazing game and much needed victory! After this game we could keep our well earned 4th Place on the Standings and look into the future to get to Top 3.


I am happy to see the hard work to pay off. The best work has been done inside the heads of trusting themselves more, understanding of the concepts and winning the mental game “you vs you”. I am excited for the upcoming games to test our strength against another good and strong team of Ottobrunn here at Hellenen Dome. The first time we met, our Hellboys had shortage of players and Ottobrunn had done well in their preparations. This time we will bring the same thunderstorm what we brought upon Altenerding. Await us. We are coming. For a good basketball game, of course!

~Coach Valts


BCH U16-3 vs Holzkirchen

On the benchPhoto: Dana Fischer

First game in second round went against one of the strongest teams in the league and holder of the Place 1 in the standings on the day – Holzkirchen. In the home game we managed to barely take this team with +2 Points in a very hard game, but then they didn’t have their best player. This time they had. I was awaiting a very hard game as last season both of the brothers played in the team, this year it was just the younger brother. Last season this duo was dominating the league by scoring up to 40 points each per game. Crazy. So it was clear that this game would be very hard. Test of the team effort from our side.

First Quarter

Opponents started off a little bit better than we did and for first seven minutes were better at scoring the ball and took the lead with 10 to 4. At minute seven the Hellboys took the initiative in their hands and had a good run on both ends of the floor. We scored 10 consecutive baskets in the last three minutes of the first quarter and boys did a very good job on the defensive end not letting opponents to score a single basket for the rest of the first quarter. We finished strong with +4 points, score 10 to 14.

Second Quarter

This quarter went back and forth. Both teams had their ups and downs. Holzkirchen opened the quarter with one basket, then Hellboys had a run and went up 12 to 20. In the half of the second quarter home team took over and reduced the score to 1 point with score 19 to 20 respectively. For the last five minutes in the second quarter teams exchanged with the baskets, but the opponents managed to get one basket more than we did and reduced our lead to just +2 with score 26 to 28 finishing the half time and going in break.

Third Quarter

U16-3 Hellboys have went far this season and had achieved better understanding of the game and it’s processes. What we sometimes didn’t manage was the third quarter. Our wooden leg. Today it was particulary dangerous as we had only seven players and one of them was sick and couldn’t help fully. Now I feared that team would lose some crucial focus in the third quarter and that would break us. I was right and wrong at the same time.

Coming in after the break wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. At least for the first four minutes in the second half. We scored some, both teams exchanged with successful three point shots and still held the small lead of +4 points. And well, then at minute 35 something bad happened. One of my lead scorers went to the basket with good penetration, but unfortunately got pulled from behind from the opponent. He got injured shoulder and couldn’t move his arm. Bad news.

From there happened exactly what I had feared. It had happened also in previous games where we had unsufficient number of players and team got a mental block because someone got injured. It pretty much gave us a blow. Opponents started to score with no answer and overtook the lead by 47 to 39. At the end one of the Hellboys pulled a jumper and beat the clock with a made three point shot which we really needed to finish the third quarter with a hope. 47 to 42 and the last quarter was upon us.

Fourth Quarter

Our captain still had pain in the shoulder. It was a bit better and he could move his arm now, but I didn’t trust to put him in the game. I took the decision for the safe side and health. Team was still struggling, but it wasn’t superbad. We exchanged some three pointers, but then at minute 33 opponents had a run and put up 9 points with no answer one of them being another three pointer to demotivate Hellboys even more. Suprisingly opponents took a timeout which worked for us. I tried to motivate the team and it worked. Guys got back in the game. We started to score again and opponents got sloppy. They had a lead of 61 to 45 before the timeout and they had taste of victory on their tongues. Though, we were not done. Not yet.

Hellboys started to score again and around the minute 36 I could change in our captain again. It still looked pretty bad with 4 minutes to go and being -14 points. We started to push more and defend better, opponents did some mistakes and couldn’t score as before. We had a good run and managed to burn their lead to 9 points around minute and a half to go. Their lead player got some fouls and fouled himself out, plus managed to get a technical for the bench. We will take it.

We started to stop the clock and it worked really well. Home team made some mistakes and we had another run to burn their lead down to just 3 points. A very good job from Hellboys, but time waits noone. We had nothing left, last try foul and we were already at the teamfouls, their #9 made both of the shots and that was it. We lost to the strong team of Holzkirchen with 69 to 64 and went down with just -5 which is a very good accomplishment of my guys in a game like this. We had a great experience crawling back from the ditch and I am sure that it made the guys only better, even if the game itself was a loss.


I am happy to say that we can compete and keep up with the top teams of our league which wasn’t the case at the beginning of the season where we would just get lucky. Team has advanced and I can see the development. Hard trainings and conditioning is paying off, though, we don’t fully use our potential just yet. We need to work on our speed in the next game and get the opponents vary much faster. Potential is there and I am very intrigued for the next game to come. For now, we work on our speed.

~Coach Valts


BC Hellenen München u16-3m: Mid-Season

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but by how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”

General George S. Patton

This is a matter of mind. Team’s core players were the same guys battling mental blocks last year. This year – there is only hard work, hard games and pushing. Team of BC Hellenen München U16-3. Currently we are standing at Place 5 (Table HERE) out of eight teams with a W/L ratio of 3-3. Many of these games were very close ones, where we came out only with a couple of points lead. Very nerving games. Due to sickness and injuries there were also some games lost with giving away a big lead. Focus now is to keep the players healthy and keep out of injuries to have a good secound round next year.

Training hard and pushing the players mentally is paying off. One of my biggest goals this season was to leave the mental struggles we had last year and I have to say – Hellboys have grown mentally. They handle themselves better and because of that they also handle their (swings) games better. Players are trusting in each other and are working together. Even when the team is behind and losing, they don’t go down the path of self loathing anymore, instead they keep fighting. BIG DIFFERENCE in the pattern from the previous season. Taking pride in the game itself and not going down easily. Make the other team struggle every minute on the field. Though, how did we came that far? From battling with mentals blocks and being (pretty much) one of the last teams in the league to climbing the middle against stronger teams? Big part of it was winning the fight with inner self and developing great culture of the team.

This is something you achieve with Discipline and Leadership.

How do I handle those days when I’m just not “feeling it”?

Those days when I am tired or worn out or just sick of the grind…

What do I do on those days?


Even if I am just going through the motions –


“Discipline equals freedom” by Jocko Willink

Every training there are things we just do. Doesn’t matter how the day is going for us. Good or bad. Never changing things that makes us stronger. Warm up is a routine, bounce the ball against the board is a routine, run the lines and stairs is a routine, getting some pushups done is a routine. Doing stuff that makes us better over and over again. Every practice. Discipline of one-self and the team. There is nothing more beautiful than a team that is self-disciplined and growing together. Even if it is not the best team in the league, there is something magical happening in this team. They came from nothing and are going for something. A part of getting a team disciplined is to get it’s leadership in order. Coach has to be a leader from the start for the team to be able even to take off, but every good coach also understands that s/he must make the leadership circle bigger. Get leadership in the team, among the players themselves. That is what I wanted to achieve as a Coach for this season. It’s happening.

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Ralph Nader

A simple concept that takes a long time to execute. As I made my choice to become a leader and help others I also knew that I want to produce way more leaders on my journey. So, as we all have learned – start now with what you got. I find that basketball is a great platform where to start and develop young leaders. Make them grow from inside, then in the team, then move them outside the team in the organization… Now, this is what is making U16-3. Discipline and leadership. As I set up the right leaders among the players – everything changed. The whole structure of the team and how it behaves. EVERYBODY started being more responsible and willing to do they part to get the team further. Discipline allowed the ball to get rolling and make the guys believe in themselves. This belief made them more courageous which led to gain the ability to be able to lead. Then, when you have someone willing to take the responsibility (response to the ability: are you able? [yes/no] if yes, what is your response to this ability?) and lead the team from within the ranks. This therefore allows to strengthen the discipline even more which then starts the cycle all over again. You get the picture.

Now, we have to go after it. I’ve started to teach and implement more concepts of the game and get players to do referee licences to understand the game better. We will keep training hard and prepare for upcoming second round to get some more wins and move up in the ranks. It would be good to finish up in Top 4 this year. If we get it right even Top 3 would be possible! This would create a solid foundation in this league and we would be able to go after the first place next season. We will see. For now this team has taken a solid path of development and growth. Full of struggle, which makes them only more able to succeed in the near future.

Coach Valts


BC Hellenen München u14w: Mid-Season

After u14 Hellgirls game against TSV Wasserburg on 8th of December, 2018.
Team defended Hellenendome with Endscore of 65 to 64.

People look for the shortcut. The hack. 
And if you came here looking for that: You won’t find it.
The shortcut is a lie. The hack doesn’t get you there.
There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration and discipline.
What’s the hack? How do you become stronger, smarter, faster, healthier? How do you become better? How do you achieve true freedom?
There is only one way.

“Discipline equals freedom” by Jocko Willink

Middle of the Season is here. u14 Hellgirls are standing strong on 3rd Place out of nine teams in Bezirksoberliga with W/L stand of 5/3. Out of three close games two were won by +1 and +2 accordingly, third one with +6. Losses were against good teams and two of those teams are above us filling the Top 2 of the League. The third one is about the same level as we and they had a better day. At the end of the day it all comes down of how good your preparations were and how did you hold your ground. For both we need more focus and more discipline.

I like this team a lot. Some of the players play also for my u16w Team in Kreisliga [You can read Mid-Season Report on that HERE as they will be coming up for the next season. It helps me to prepare them for what’s coming and allows me to get experience in higher league. Up until now Kreisliga were the highest Liga I had coached and now Bezirksoberliga adds some new and exciting experiences. Also it is a very interesting structure we have going on here as till now u14 Hellgirls were coached by Coach Sandy alone, but as of this season we are splitting the team and coaching on turns. Coach Sandy is still doing most of the heavy lifting on trainings and I take over whenever I can. The situation is also very unique in the Club as Sandy is also coaching u12 Hellgirls. This makes a two-coach overlay over three teams: Sandy covers u12w to u14w and I cover u14w to u16w, and I must say – it is working out very well! Sandy is a coach who focuses more on developing player’s skillset and technique, meanwhile I am more of a athletic abilities, endurence and discipline (including mental game) kind of guy. Technique is my grind, I must learn A LOT on this topic. Anyway, this splited focus allows us to develop the team nicely and allow the players to have a chance for at least three training sessions per week. Plus the players get the diversity of the coaches as Sandy now has also Rabia (Damen 1) as co-coach on the board to help with u12w-u14w Training sessions. We are growing strong.

As we find ourselves with u14 Hellgirls at a place three, we must give our best to stay there. As with all my teams at first I am putting our focus on building strong defensive game – individually and more importantly as team defense. Teaching small things that come together and can make a big difference. Communication, trusting in your teammates and helping them, taking responsibility for your own actions, giving everything on the field, staying disciplined and focused. And I push on the discipline. Why? Because from that derives everything else. If we achieve the mindset of discipline and the hard path then nothing can stop us. I already see the change happening – girls are pushing themselves more and achieving more. Teamwork is taking more important place, trust is growing among the players. “I got this ball stopped, now, I trust you to get my player covered instead.” It’s truly a beautiful thing to witness – development of a team. As they are learning to take trust in their teammates, they are also understanding that their teammates has the trust in them! A VERY important aspect of the team development as it will push their will to better themselves individually for the good of the team. If they got me, I must be ready to help them. That simple.

If you as a leader allow people to halfway do their jobs and don’t demand excellence as a prerequisite to keeping their job, you will create a culture of mediocrity. If you allow people to misbehave, underachieve, have a bad attitude, gossip, and generally avoid excellence, please don’t expect to attract and keep good talent. Please don’t expect to have an incredible culture.

Dave Ramsey in EntreLeadership

“There is only one thing I require from you, my young ladies! Only one thing! Your very best.” I said. This happened today in the Timeout against the TSV Jahn Freising. We had a small lead, but we started to struggle offensively and there was some hectic happening on the floor. As their coach I knew that they could do way better. We still managed to win the game. After the game parents asked me if I am satisfied with the results. But of course not! They laugh it off as they should. Keep it fun and easy going. Though, I can’t allow my players to learn mediocrity, perhaps, one of the reasons is that I’ve grown up in one myself – I can’t stand being “okayish”. Also this club as a organization doesn’t stand where it is because it went normal, mediocre way. No, there were some crazy decisions, there is striving for the excellence from within! We think differently, that’s why we have our culture as it is. The normal path is for others, not for us. So – no, I am not satisfied. Yes, we won and it is, of course, a good thing and should be celebrated! Third place on the list, not bad at all. That has nothing to do with the satisfaction of the performance, though. If it is not our best, it is simply not good enough. That’s one thing I can’t allow – getting sloppy and then getting away with it because we managed to complete the task somehow.  Just as good things become habits, so does the bad ones. I can’t allow our future to obtain a habit of mediocrity. These are smart girls and they understand, that’s why I like this team that much. Hellgirls – different kind of breed. Strive for excellence.

Without a goal, discipline is nothing but self-punishment.


We are coming, await us. And please… be prepared! We like the hard fights. There is a goal, I can assure that. What is the goal? Well, you will have to wait, let me keep the cards to myself just for a bit longer. There are many things to be done in the upcoming round of this season. I can surely say that we want to stay at least in the upper Top 3 of Bezirksoberliga. My personal goal with this team would be to bring some more surprises to the table and make other teams sweat. Get some more good and exciting games and experiences in there. Have some fun and learn valuable lessons for life while doing that. Get better, get faster, get smarter. No, no… that came out wrong! BE! Be better, be faster, be smarter. How will we achieve our goals? There is only one way. The way of discipline.

Coach Valts


BC Hellenen München u16w: Mid-Season


“Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.”

– Jocko Willink

How can I help? This is the question that got me here. Well that and advice of my Coach from BC Herren 2. “You should get into coaching girls. Yours will grow up and you’ll need the ‘know how’ if she wants to do the sport.” About at the time came answer to my question – I could take on u16w girls team and help out at u14w. At this point I had been coaching only boys at the same age. This meant even bigger work load and time in the gym, but, man, I was curious and wanted to take the challenge.

Last year the u16w girls went to win the Kreisklasse without losses in an quite easy manner. This year they went one league up, which ended up to be a one step too small. Team is combined from u16w girls with some coming out of 14w to fill up the roster. As I overtook the team, our Spielleiterin Miriam and u12-14w coach Sandy pointed out that girls needed discipline and structure as they’ve been doing nothing else than winning easy in that little league. Roger that. Bring in the big guns from the day one.

Unfortunately I didn’t know myself what I will get done. I brought the discipline and hard trainings. That only made them stronger, some left because it was not as fun anymore or because their injuries/growth at the time could not keep up with the training pace. It happens. I don’t like complicated things, all I do is follow one simple idea:

“I don’t require much from you, but only one thing – your absolute best.”

Now, the problem with this is (and what I didn’t realize till now) that when you get a team that bring havoc upon it’s whole league – it’s hard to get them to develop themselves. They do it more for fun. Many have what we could call “natural abilty” for the sport (or sports in general). Intelligence also. But when everything comes easy, they get sloppy, they don’t want to push. What for? It’s too hard. Better stay at the little league and win every game with +30 and up. What the hell? Sadly there is no option to change the leagues once you have started the year… Next season. So, there need to be preparations! Starting with breaking the team.

This half a season they went 6 games, 6 wins. Demolishing the league with no mercy. When you do that there come dirty thoughts and bad attitude in your head – you start to think that you’re invincible. NO SIR, not your coach girls. We are in the wrong damn league! Winning all the time is not normal! IT IS NOT HEALTHY.

But how can it be? Out of ten Top-Scorers we currently got two. Not even in the Top 3. They sit at the places four (14 pt avg) and seven (11.2pt avg) respectively. This is without unleashing the true power of the team. I have been playing to develop the newer players for the next season coming up and some more unskilled players who need the game practice to sharpen their abilities. So we don’t particulary win in the offense. No, sir, we don’t – we D the hell up! Noone in this half of the season managed to drop more than 39 balls in our bucket. This is where the story starts with every team I get – Defense and Team Effort.

Everybody likes to score. They feel the adrenaline of the basketball going throught the hoop and get the pride looking at the scoresheet after the game. I like to fustrate opponents of not letting them score. I like to watch my team to develop in Defensive Machine and taking pride on running down the court. Taking pride in statistics not presented anywhere. Noone’s counting.

Stop the ball, push it sideline, push it baseline, double it, get the helpside in, defend the picks, switch the picks, slide, get the defensive rotation straight, box out, rebound, close out, hands up, move the legs, close the middle, close the penetration. That’s how we roll in here. Hard, fast, effective. Most of the teams got only one or two offensive techniques, three at the most and we know how to defend all of them. In past couple months girls have developed a team and individual techniques to stop the ball early and push it where we want the opponents to go. It’s a beauty to watch in the action. Now we can start to work on the offense and push it really hard.

Oh man. Up till now it has been like this: we get the ball, we do a fastbreak. Almost all the game long. Fast break basketball. At the beginning of the season the endurance of girls was pretty bad. We are running a lot, but we should be doing even more as it is not up to my standards. After three months I can feel that all that suicides and stairs running starts to add up. Breathing technique in-between allow them to bring their mind back in the game. Though, I knew that this is not the way to develop them. We were staling on our basketball education, all except defensively. So I had to come up with some action.

I decided to go insane in the last game on this half of the season. We played 35 minutes without doing a single lay-up and shooting exclusively outside the paint. Okay, a few of the shots were one step in, but the world isn’t perfect, is it? So this was a hard game. It was up to strong girls team from MTV Schwabing and game was tough. Just as we like it. They also had a leagues #1 top scorer in their lineup and there was some job to do in the defense. This worked like a charm. We barely won by sliping through in last quarter with end score 39-46 to us. We played at their gym and it was perfect what I had in mind. It was smaller. Way smaller. Maybe the smallest gym I’ve ever been into in my fifteen years of basketball. Three-Point line was almost at the middle line, there was less place around the paint, funnily enough one corner of the court was cut off with a wall. IT WAS A MESS. Just what the girls needed. No more bravura, no more calmness… I dare to say it all went to shit for a moment there. They had to get themselves together to return and hold the game at equal score. They played hard defense as always, but they were not able to get a reward for it all the time in the other side of the floor with fastbreaks. There was just no space and they were not allowed to do layups for most of the game! So they played defense for the sake of not getting beat. They had to start to think how to pass and make place around the paint in the offense in order to get some shot free – and believe me, opponents didn’t give them one free and easy centimeter of that floor. They wanted to win, they had the chance and they fought. This game was the start of the breakdown which will continue in the next half of the season after the holidays.

“If you can get through to doing things that you hate to do, on the other side is greatness.”

– David Goggins


– “We can’t shoot coach!”

Yes, you can’t. Well, you can shoot when you are alone in the gym. You can’t shoot in a two times smaller field with constant pressure from all sides. It’s okay. Maybe noone ever pushed you to do it. Maybe someone let you think you’re good as you are. Sorry, not me. We need to talk. I will present you the reality, maybe you will even hate me. Fine. Somebody has to do it. There is nothing more dangerous in this world as words “good job” in the wrong time (“Whiplash” reference). It’s a hard reality to get checked in the face.

It might not be your fault, but it is your responsibility.

From now on we are doing shooting. We are doing exactly that what we are not good at. Anybody can go through meadows filled with nice flowers and butterflies in the day with warm sun shining and a light breeze to cool you down. We ain’t going there ladies. That’s the way of the weak and we are all, but weak. We are going to get nice and uncomfortable. Even if we can beat the league, we are going to beat it in crazy fasion. With doing what we suck at. Can’t shoot? You better believe we are shooting 95% of the game. Can’t pass properly? Roger that. We are going to play a game with just passing, no dribble. Can’t cut? We are going to do offense with only cutting and filling. Can’t make layups go throught with left hand? Some games with doing only left hand coming in! We are going to that dark place and face our weak side, then we are going to come back from there with many lessons. Nex time – we are going back in. Lessons for life, young ladies. Break it down, build it back up – stronger, better, more complete.

Let’s get back to the quote at the start of this post. Parents tell me – they are getting better, they are developing. Yes, of course, because before that they were getting worse by winning. What? Let me repeat – getting worse by winning. They got to the point where they can win and then they went on winning all the time, at the wrong league. And every game won made them lose themselves a little by little. Well, at least that’s how I see it. I see the intelligence, potential, skill, natural ability. What I fail to see is the hunger. They have been in the easy game for too long. Nobody to kick them in the butt. Confused?

It’s very dangerous.

“Everybody wants some magic pill – some life hack – that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.”

– Jocko Willink

It all leads to this. It’s a false reality. Me, I am in this to teach the youth. Basketball is a very good platform to do it. Recently my good friend reminded me of the fact what it is – that it’s a parallel world. You can do much in it, you can be a good player. Heck, if you’re lucky you can even spend half of your life playing the game. For most of us – it all ends, but we will always share the love for the game. What matters is – what lessons learned in this parallel world we will be able to apply into our real world? That’s why I am here. Teach the youth on this platform. A tough ride. Hate me now, thank me later.

Coach Valts


United World Games in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee(AT) Part 3 of 3.

-And what happened?

– Life.

/My Blueberry Nights

Day 2

Beep-beep-beep. Should I smash it? Nah. Five more. Beep-beep. A’ight, let’s roll. Naked feet hit the ground. Morning to myself, everyone else is sleeping. Except some people outside. There is always someone awake before me in Klagenfurt. Norm. Take a sip of water. Two, three sips. Rule of the morning – get’s your system going. Time for shower and waking up the girls. Have never met no one at the showers, but some guys are walking from them. At least it looks like it.

Most of the youth is already up at the time I get back to the tents. Good. Not so much fuss. After some time we are ready to get some breakfast. Same as yesterday, but with some hot beverage it goes down. We are overall disappointed at the fact that it is only possible to get one “portion” (2-3 small pieces) of pancakes per person. They could just keep their bread rolls and make some more pancakes instead. Oh well.

Go down, get ready, take the bus. Boom – St. Ruprecht 1. We meet the freedom early at nine-thirty in the morning.

Game 3: HellGirls versus “Stuttgart Eagles” (USA)

This is the game that decides if Hellgirls go out of the group for quarters or will play for fifth place. We meet a team of eight people. Aggressive as are all USA teams I have seen here at Klagenfurt. Game will be tough and rough. Await no mercy. They come in clanging and banging from second one.

First Quarter

As awaited – pit bull game. On our every advance we get hands on us.  The problem is – refs don’t show particular interest in this kind of game. This indicates that this will be one of the “let them fight” games. Fair enough, our defense is clean enough, I am hoping to get them “fouled out” as they only have eight players. Get some out, others can’t be as aggressive anymore. I bring this idea to the team – keep going, go through hands and hope that refs will whistle at least half of them. Well, this could’ve worked only if this game format wasn’t in favor for foul game… Eight minutes running time with full five fouls per person. Most we got out of this was one with four and another one with three, then couple two’s and one’s. One have to experience something like this to be able to counter it. Sadly, my coaching career had been too short.

For first half it worked in our favor that not only we could not score (or even go through), but also our opponents didn’t do nothing. We managed to score one layup so achieving two points, Eagles dropped a three pointer on us so finishing first quarter with three points. HellGirls could’ve accumulated more points, but missed all four free-throws. As I wrote already – free throws turned out a massive weakness.

2 to 3 after the first for Eagles.

Second Quarter

Aggression continued also in second quarter, but HellGirls found some ways to get through and score some baskets. Sadly continued to miss free throws (three out of four missed for second quarter) and we couldn’t burn the difference as Eagles accumulated one basket more in second quarter. Luckily they weren’t shooting any good from the free-throw line today also and missed six out of six free-throws, that gave them just minimal advantage over us and we went in the half time with -2, 7 to 9 for Eagles.

Thirds Quarter

They wanted it and they wanted it bad. We wanted it, but our offensive “freestyle” abilities didn’t allow us to advance. This quarter went down with 0 to 6 for Eagles as the birds locked down the HellGirls. On top of that we got two of our players injured and unable to continue the game. That happened when we started to get hang of the game.

First went down our number 63 with nasty slip. She sat down on her left leg, but right one stayed stretched to outside, out of the game situation one of the opponents were also falling and landed on the knee. In the moment that happened hot wave went throughout my body. First thought, please no tears in the knee. Thanks to all basketball gods – it was alright, just a hit with a knee in the ground. No tears, nothing.

Second was a bad landing and semi-turned ankle for our number 72, classic. Though as I feared – I won’t be able to use her for the next game also as ankle was worse. Once you stretch it – you’re done for that day for sure till it heals up again.

Anyway, these injuries hit us pretty bad and we went behind with 7 to 15 for Eagles.

Fourth Quarter

That was pretty much it. As we could not foul out the opponents and use our advantage of more players in this game mode, everything added up. We were able to get four to four in this quarter, but not to get back those lost eight points. This game was something to remember in case meeting something like this in future. This game also showed our inability to attack aggressive defense properly. Girls have to get better dribbling and passing skills to be able more easily and with less stress to advance over the field. Make less mistakes in passing. Smarter positioning to open up defense for better penetration possibilities. Aaaand free-throws. As they say it – if you can’t win the game, you can learn from it. We went down with 11 to 19 with Stuttgart Eagles flying high to quarter finals. Still, this game showed many things that we must add to our arsenal to be able to compete next time or with other teams like this.

HellGirls now had to get ready for the game at 16:30 against Bad Aibling Fireballs. So we got some time to waste and went back to quarters to go watch some basketball/volleyball at Players Town and Pädag gyms, then get some food after for lunch and rest a bit before the upcoming game. We wouldn’t finish last, but we wanted to take the fifth place instead of sixth and we should be able to do it!

I will skip over this time as I could not describe what was happening at the games anyway. It was just spectacular. We once again loaded gyms with our kids and got really amazing atmosphere there. This is like taking pictures of the nature – like mountains. You can never capture that beauty and magnificence in a picture. Same way I won’t be able to describe this happening and feelings in them. More over – everyone has their own. Let’s just continue.

Game 4: HellGirls versus “Bad Aibling Fireballs” (DE)

This was a special game. One that, if not all, then most of the people would remember long after it was played. Game that reminds one team of hard earned victory and the other one of unforgivable rules and chance that slipped out of the finger tips despite giving your last efforts. Game that makes teams stronger. Game of basketball and as always – there is one winner and one loser.

First quarter

Despite the positive attitude we had by going in against Fireballs, my expectations lowered once I met and spoke with the coach before the game. He had it. He was in the craft for some time and he had to be respected to had done his homework and preparations. Instead of me. Even Latvian Men’s team is known for their adventurous playing style. That’s also something that had developed by HellGirls as mentioned before. “We just get offense.” Then there comes a time where you meet a prepared and disciplined team like this.

Fireballs started strong by strong penetration and receiving two shots two times in first two minutes. As used in women basketball, scores are usually pretty low in average game, so every point matters. They made three out of four shots and added an layup on top of it till minute three leading by five to nil. Our number 15 received some chance for free-throws, but missed both. They put up another bucket, HellGirls answered with their first two points. Basket for Fireballs, missed free-throws from HellGirls. Some back and forth.

HellGirls had some hard time getting over the field through full-court press. Despite all my trys to get them understand basics in countering it, it didn’t happen till the middle of third quarter. I sensed some lack in basketball jargon. Another thing to be worked on in pre-season. For now we had to suck up and learn, but learning means – getting shot at. HellGirls came off the field after the first with eight point deficit. 4 to 12 for Fireballs.

Second quarter

If we wanted to stay in the game we had to score and avoid easy points. If the girls from Bad Aibling wanted to score, we had to make their job difficult. Bad shots, push them out, slow their progression. At some extent it started to show in second quarter. Unfortunately for us, we got some fouls and opponents were good at shooting ball from free-throw line. There was a progress though, we managed to play six to six and start to get hang of countering their full-court press. 10 to 18 for Fireballs at half-time.

Third quarter

This is where the tables changed. Fighting spirit came back with full power and girls showed why we had to shorten the name from Hellenen to Hell. Giving up was no option. Work in defense was better than previous half and offense didn’t struggle anymore. They had grasped some of the countering technique against full-court man-to-man press and could advance down the field more easily. That meant also more buckets in the offense and with buckets comes confidence. Needless to say – this game I went for victory. That meant sitting the ones that did the job poorly or made mistakes. In normal season games you would never find something like this from my side, but I had the chance to get some things done here and see the reactions.

So, I went full competitive sport mode. This is also what we would see in the first teams of the club in the future. Oooh, here we had to work to do also. With winning a league previously, assuming – not even trying hard, came a price. No bench presence and no understanding of what it means. If you don’t play on the field, if you make mistakes, if your skill level today is not enough – you play from the bench. That’s competitive sport. You get your teammates going, you help them in defense, call to turn around, help to pass. When there is a break or timeout – you let them sit, get them water, towel – so they can focus on coaching. You high-five them coming down the field and encourage when going on. Yes, you are not on the field, but you are still here and you are in the team. Today isn’t your day, but it will never be if you don’t get that bench presence going. Now, this was a bit off, but had to be explained. Let’s see how many read these lines.

Competitive mode also meant to get on the field best possible combination of players to counter opponents. At third I got it quite right and almost got switches in order. Not perfect, but good enough to fight for the W. HellGirls won the third quarter with eleven to six and came down the field after third with 21 to 24 for Fireballs. Race was on.

Fourth quarter

“To win the big games you must get to the Free Throw line, and then you must make them.”

– Rick Majerus

There are two things that win games – lay-ups and free-throws. Well, we had the first one going for us. Up to this point the opponents had proven that they are better free-throw shooters than we are. So we made lay-ups. Up to minute seven HellGirls managed to gain the lead for the first time in the game. After good run in offense and strong defense we went up to 27 to 26. Then minute seven hit us. Free-throws. Opponents got two and made both going 27 to 28 for Fireballs. Then we received two short before minute eight. Both missed. I was hoping for at least one, to get it at zero, but oh well… Then the next goal was to get D settled in and get a lay-up to get plus one. Boom. Hand slipped from a HellGirl and Fireballs were on the free-throw line again. First one went in. 27 to 29 for Fireballs. To myself I thought – okay, we can get this done, get the ball, we got about half a minute left, get a lay-up, overtime. Swish, second one in. We stand 27 to 30 with three behind. That was the moment I knew that we had to get a three-pointer, there was no other option. Up to this point girls had understood how to counter full-court press and ball went in, went to the other side and they stood spread out. After a few seconds looking for wholes shot went up, but bounced against rim. A half-centimeter here or there. That’s the game. Then luck happened. Ball went out from the opponents. I had to take a quick timeout. About 4-5 seconds left as we had no visible game clock.

Battling the past three games and half of this game – I just hoped that girls will get it right. I assigned throw-in, two pick makers, trick player behind the three-point shooter. It seemed that they got the drawing. They delivered. That was already a small victory for me. Pick down, roll out to other side, pick up to free-throw, run, pass, shot pulled up. It looked amazing. Then my heart stopped on heartbeat. I fell on the ground to see through legs if my eyes weren’t just playing games. Whistle made everyone silent right after the three-point shot went in. Nothing but net.

Nah, I had seen it right.

As our number 63, assigned to take the last shot, came out of the pick and over the three point line – small field confusion kicked in. Now, as I already explained, fields were smaller. Meaning – three point line ran into the side line at the wing. Despite that there was another field about 60-70 centimeters apart. Now, what I failed to predict in my drawing was that maybe I had to put the shot more up not at the wing. She simply oversaw the lines because of the habit of regular sized field, where three pointer runs down to baseline. As she turned heels went over the side line of this small field. Shot made, didn’t count. With three seconds left and a mild after shock – they failed to foul and we went down with 27 to 30 for Fireballs. Hurts. That’s basketball.

Thanks to this game HellGirls, under my coaching, now have a set play for baseline throw-in called “Over the Line”.


Well, that’s it folks. Then there was another fun evening with everyone at Players Town, next day early games, rushing to get everything packed and the way home. I won’t write here anymore about all the great fun we had there playing, watching, cheering and just enjoying the life. Some things have to be told not written. Remembered and shared at the dinner tables. Because nothing brings the good moments back as the voices of the tellers who were there and experienced all of this wonderful adventure called United World Games. Best memories are saved in the heart.

Coach Valts




United World Games in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee(AT) Part 2 of 3.

This Post turned to be way longer than I expected, even as a Draft. I ended up fighting with my urge to tell this story from my perspective and to just cut some stuff out to shorten this whole thing and make it “a quick read”. Now, as you can see I decided for former over the latter. This is about 10 minutes of reading, so if you came for a quick re-cap, it’s not here. This is a story.


Bed, for me (or someone my size respectively [1.94m, 110kg]), were a bit too small and in middle of first night I wanted to just sleep on the ground. Only thing that held me against this was the fact that I didn’t have anything to separate myself from the ground itself (except this 3mm industrial rug). There was also no trusting into my sleeping bag either, as it was a cheap last-minute solution. So only thing to do was to sleep as straight as possible and try not to move as much as I had to be used back home.

Nothing is better than waking up early in the morning after a tiring day. Especially when one finds oneself in start of adventure in distant place away from home. It loads you up with energy and I always wonder where it comes from. We are here, we got things to do and you just get up and get going.

No sleeping in, I find myself awake five minutes before six hundred hours. If yesterday was hot and dry, then this morning was humid and cold as it was raining at least half a night and continued to come pouring down. Maybe that was the reason why sleep was so good this night. If I hadn’t the luck last night to hit the showers later than their closing time, I’d be out right now and shower under the Heavens. Sandy came with good news that pouring should stop at around eight hundred hours, about the time we had scheduled to leave our settlement and journey to “Pädag” gym.

One would think that city of tents would still be at rest in this time of a hour. The one, including me, would be very wrong. This was Klagenfurt. People were already wake and going about their morning routines, even the kids. I woke up before I had told my team to, that gave me some extra time to prepare my backpack for the day. Prepare clothing, check on the documents, take my coaching stuff. All set. Now I just had to wake up the youth at six forty-five as I had decided they had no business to be up earlier. For my surprise though, some of the girls were already up! Power of habits. It just made my work easier as I just could say for everybody to wake up and instruct those already wake to make sure that it happens. For me it meant extra time to think and double-check everything.

At about seven hundred we could move out to get some breakfast. As I stepped out of the tent I found myself surrounded already. Team knew what it meant to be on time. Very good. One issue less for me to handle, in coming days I just had to pressure this point to make sure it works every time.

Breakfast was pretty good. One could get oneself full easily and load that energy up in form of bread rolls with cheese or ham, some pancakes, muesli, yogurt and fruits. If one would find oneself a little bit cold at this rainy morning – they served various hot beverages to make oneself warmer. So we did just that – loaded ourselves up as at eight hundred hours we had to move out together with others to Pädag facilities. That was a game of mixed team. Our Romanian friends from “Basketball Leben Project” and some players from our HellBoys and HellGirls teams. They participated out of competition as they exceeded the legal age limit. We were on time and went down to prepare (brush our teeth, change, get bags ready) for the upcoming game and the day, then take some time and wait for others.

As U14 HellGirls established their punctuality, we had to wait a couple of minutes for others before we could move out. Brief moments like this allows to talk over the plan for the day and as the day continues everybody knows what is coming up.

Pouring had stopped and it was fine rain sprinkling over us. It wouldn’t get us too wet. Instead it felt very nice and refreshing on the skin, always an enjoyable change after longer periods of hotness and dry air. It was a very fascinating sight to observe from the side as our group of around 50+ (don’t know the correct number…) people moved through wet streets of Klagenfurt. One team. Mood was as it should be in a rainy day  morning being half-awake. On every breath nostrils were hit of this magical chemical mix of I-don’t-know-what, but oh-it-smells-so-good. Energizing. Our walk soon was over as it took only about ten minutes on foot to reach Pädag. Though, this short distance made all the difference as the group seemed to be more awake as at the time of departure.

The gym. Haha, wow. It hit us hard – court was smaller than a normal court, than we all were used to. Three-point line ran into sidelines at the wings and from outter lines to walls it was barely enough to fit a bench and a person sitting on it. If you stretched out your legs even a little bit – you would find yourself on the court already. This would be a nightmare for HellTeams who were used to spacing and Fast-break basketball. That said, we packed it full with our HellGirls and HellBoys for the game to cheer our players up! Hashtag of picture on BC Hellenen Instagram said #wearecomingwithanarmy. Rightly so. Magical.

For some reason I don’t recall this game very good. Hard to say why. One of the reasons could have been that in my thoughts I was not present. Looking, but not seeing. No register. My mind went over how we will get back to Players Town, eat some lunch and looked at the bus schedules to get the right time when we should leave. I didn’t want to miss nothing, better to be half an hour early than to be five minutes late.

Let’s fast forward a bit. We stayed after the game one and watched the game two a bit before going back to city of tents. There we would get some food left over from yesterday (mostly perishables as cucumbers, tomatoes, bread, meat etc.) and mix it up with some fresh one from above (there were “fast-food” joints upstairs in stadium offering burgers, noodles, salads and such things).

Now we had to make our way to “Sankt Ruprecht 1”. As our game was at fourteen hundred hours, I planned to arrive one hour before tip-off just to be on the safe side. Bus ride was the least of our problem, driver was super nice and let us out right at the stop where we needed to get off. My next worry was number “1” in gym name as it indicates that there must be more courts at this address, but as we stepped into the gym, this worry disappeared and new one took it’s place. There were three courts. St. Ruprecht 1, 2 and 3. All of them next to each other, also “Dreifach Halle” (three-part gym), courts about 70 centimeters away one from another and with NO CURTAINS between them. This promised very messy games itself. Of course as it usually is for courts this size – also here three point line ran into the sidelines at the wings and because of next court being so close, one could easily oversee the lines in the heat of the moment, if one had been used to train and play on normal-sized courts. Habits. This would later cost us an important game.

Oh, by the way, as wonderful coach as I am after parting from our bus it dawned upon me that in my whole planning I had forgot about one very important component needed for the game – to take with us two balls Size 6 for warming up… Now, normally I would go back and get them, but we were on time now already and the ride was far enough not to make it back neither with bus nor running on foot. Though, thanks to Heavens once again I got lucky as it turned out Sandy was playing in St. Ruprecht with U12w HellGirls right before us. They had some Size 5 balls, but it was way better than no balls at all, so for our next two games we would do a warm-up with these two.

My focus was on Game 1 where we would meet Austrian home team – “Team Kärnten”. Gut feeling said that this is the game to take today as our chances against Greek girls would be slimmer. As we waited for other games to finish we did some pre-game briefing where I wanted to determine what offense we would be running. Here I stumbled upon the fact, that they had been improvising most of their games as they just went – ‘let us play as we play, we just “get” the offense’. Oh, boy – you just don’t get the offense, this will be hard time in scoring. Once again I had to work from behind, from defense and make them push and control the ball in specific way. I awaited that as always – opponents would mostly suck at shooting or have just one (max two) good shooters per team at this age group. They would want to go through middle and that’s where we would have to close it and force ball to sideline and baseline. If that worked, we had a chance. Offensively I should mostly rely on Team itself and their ability to use what they’ve learned in previous season. My goal was to get them out of the middle, spread the defense and penetrate-kick. Take open shots if given. As I learned later through tournament, I could easily better their defensive end as girls had the hunger to work for it, but offensive end had to develop massively in future if we wanted even to have a chance the next season. Now, it was time to get on the floor.

Game 1: HellGirls versus “Team Kärnten” (AT)

Note: Game mode was 4 quarters with 8 minutes of playtime each on “running time” (that means, only the last 2 minutes of the last quarter are being stopped), 5 fouls, 1 minute between quarters and 2 minutes half time break. Very fast paced game and as it turned out – impossible to foul out more aggressive, fouling teams. You could just avoid baskets and push turnovers by aggressive, fouling defense. Not something I was willing to push as a coach, Hellenen play as clean defense as possible.

First quarter

As awaited opponents started strong and our offense was lacking. within four minutes of playing time we were down 9 to 0. Biggest problem was their #5 which scored 7 points out of those 9. We had to get her locked down. After minute four our #63 managed to score with ‘and one’ and also made the free throw. For unknown reason to me opponents took a time out at 5 minute mark which worked in our favor. We bettered our defense, but our offense still couldn’t make baskets. Shots went up, but didn’t go in. Team Kärnten made two more buckets and now lead with +10, 13 to 3. After few tries we managed to get ball under and our #68 scored twice keeping our head just above the water and in the game. After that at minute seven opponents scored another basket and we got free throws for our #68 from which one was made. We ended first quarter with 7 point deficit; 8 to 15 for Team Kärnten.

For 2nd quarter we had to press opponents more on defense and make them uncomfortable, get defensive AND offensive rebounds and spread their defense. Get the pace of the game down. Be smarter. Take better shots.

Second quarter

Oooh YES! HellGirls came into second quarter clanging and banging. Our #63 opened the quarter with a beautiful 3 pointer in the first minute. Penetration started to yield fruits and shots were better, girls pulled off ‘and one’ (free throw missed), and put up some more points. We managed to push them more on the side and deny the middle, they made only one basket up to seventh minute! We responded with some more buckets  after and going 18 to 17 at minute seven. Opponents made two baskets taking the lead, but HellGirls, seeing the bleeding of their opponents, didn’t let them recover and responded  with another two buckets down – we went into the half-time break with good 1 point lead; 22 to 21 for HellGirls.

This was one of those games where two teams of the same level met. Win is therefore determined by the willpower, unselfishness and focus. Now, I had to keep the moral of the team high and motivate them to push through. What I liked about this team was the chemical reaction. They were good together. Lacking some practical skill of basketball, but they were good together. That is something that I felt other team lacked.

Third quarter

Third quarter confirmed my expectations. Hard game. Referees forced fast paced game. Not much of fouling, not much of rewards for it. Whole quarter got two free throw attempts, one for opponents with ‘and one’ and one for us as two regular shots (both missed). Much back and forth for this quarter, we sticked to our plan in defense and denied middle penetration, pushing ball to the side. Girls had much to learn from this defense, but for now against this team it worked just fine. Opponents made 6 points this quarter and we made 4. We went out with -1 point; 26 to 27 for Team Kärnten.

Fourth quarter

This was it. I did my best to talk up the HellGirls and get that flame going. We went into fourth strong with dedication to take this Game 1 win. Defense worked beautifully and opponents couldn’t find a way to attack it and score for seven (!!!) minutes. We used this time to get some baskets and take the lead with 33 to 27. HellGirls missed three free throws again and I began to see a pattern – this is what could cost us games in the long run, but for now – we dictate the game. Team Kärnten made their first points in fourth quarter after minute seven after receiving some free throws. Made both and burned our lead only to 4 points. After that it went basket here and there. We made one, they made one, we made and one, missed the free throws (pattern…), they got some shots, both went off, we got some shots and also both went off. At the end opponents managed to get another bucket, but the game was already at expiration. HellGirls took down Team Kärnten in hard game 37 to 33. Win was in our hands and it was good.

Now we had to wait about thirty to forty minutes to the next game at sixteen hundred  hours against “Katerini” from Greece. They had a game on the court next to us against “Stuttgart Eagles” from USA. They won it with +2, 20 to 18. It surely will be a tough game.

What worried me was the lack of energy for girls after the game. In downtime they seemed to “fall asleep” a bit. Mentally already back in the camp and eating dinner, chilling. Against strong team like “Katarini” this mental state could definitely be of a big issue. They are prepared and has good offensive patterns. Nothing less I’d expect from Greeks at world class tournament like this.

Game 2: HellGirls versus “Katerini” (GR)

First half

Let’s say – I expected no less. They were prepared, they were strong, they were focused. We were not. The mental focus was simply not there for HellGirls. I tried to get them wake up as fast as possible, but team was sleeping whole first half of the game. HellGirls scored first two points and then it just went downhill from there. Katerini were dominating. They had a good defense, they could lock individually and pressure the ball. For offense they ran two things: 1. ball hand-off over the 3 point line by swinging it side to side till defense failed to switch, so causing a hole to penetrate; 2. setting a post on the free throw line and playing the ball in, then doing pick+cut causing the defense a hard to defend switch or an empty cut and pass. If that didn’t work they could also pull up some jump shots outside from zone through board and make some points that way. Very strong and well prepared offense. HellGirls weren’t ready to defend it.

This offensive pattern completely crashed us down in first half. As they were scoring, we weren’t, if we went over, they locked us down. We lost first quarter with 4 to 16 and second quarter with 0 to 12. We went into the half time break with 4 to 28. Morale was down, focus was down. There was only one thing to do – up the work on defensive end. By now it was clear to me that with  this team at this moment there was no way I could match offensive power of Katerini. What I could do is to try and stop their offense or at least slow it down. First, we had to get our switches right. It was clear that HellGirls had not met opponents of this caliber and didn’t know how to defend tactics they used. If you can’t win the game – you can learn from it.

Third quarter

Third quarter goal was to receive less points. Learn to read and defend the offensive pattern of Katerini and do good switches. Communicate on D. It started to work. Because of that also mental state came back to the girls and they were more focused than before. We could slow down the opponents significantly and receive just 7 points in third quarter meanwhile making 6 points ourselves. It won’t win us the game, but it would teach us some valuable lessons. We could’ve also taken this quarter, but sadly it can’t be done when free throw shooting is off the point. This had to be take care of till the start of the season and go up to 50% at least. HellGirls went down this quarter with just 6 to 7. Way, way better than previous two quarters. Stand was 10 to 35 for Katerini.

Fourth quarter

If you can’t get what you want, then want what you can get. To keep the team sane and give them the sense of achievement against more prepared team I set up a following goals: 1. get our score over 15 and 2. don’t let them score 50. And they got it, based on experience from third quarter and some guidance from me, HellGirls played beautiful fourth quarter defensively! I saw the potential this team had if handled correctly. We managed to get three baskets and fulfill the first goal and due to the good defensive end we received just 8 points that way finishing also the second goal. We went down to strong opponent who took us by surprise and out of focus with 16 to 43. Still proud of my team by being able to gather themselves mentally and execute beautiful second half. This is something that will create a good team in days to come.

Day 1 Evening

After the game everybody was well-deserved hungry. I decided to take alternative bus route which seemed shorter as the original one as the buses drove only in one direction – in circles. Waiting for the bus allowed me some time to explain a few things to the kids about what had happened today on the court and deepen their understanding of the game. Answer some questions. Of course those were just a few minutes as focus and interest quickly wanders off at this age. I will take it though, better to use five minutes like these and it will add up over time.

Well, bus ride back to stadium was fun, mood was great and we had a win today. Back at camp it was time to hit the showers, freshen up and get something to eat. After that it was a free time till twenty-two hundred. Some watched sports on big screen, some went to play some games. What kids always do. Tomorrow we had to get up and be in gym at nine hundred hours as at zero-nine-thirty we were meeting “Stuttgart Eagles” (USA). This game would determine our advancement out of group stage. If won, we would go out as second and have a chance to play for first place or third, if lost we would finish third at the group stage and then there was only one game for fifth place. Important game, once again strong opponents, but for now – it was time to rest and bond with others.


Coach Valts




United World Games in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee(AT), Part 1 of 3.




As it goes with all good adventures, also this one started spontaneously. It didn’t crawl up to me slowly, nor did it send any warnings. It happened in January, one fine morning I was at work and received message from Sandy.

Sandy, January 18, 2018; 10:45AM:

“Du Valts, wir brauchen noch einen Coach für Klagenfurt. Kommst du mit? Das wäre saulustig! 21.6.-25.6. Bitteeeeeee!” (You Valts, we need one more Coach for Klagenfurt. Are you coming? It will be so much fun! Pleaseeeeee!)

I had been hearing previously form other Coaches and some kids how nice this Tournament is. Shortly after receiving some minor specifications and checking my schedule I came to conclusion.

Valts, January 18, 2018; 11:11AM:


I knew in an instant moment that I had to be there. Had to take this chance. A few thoughts ran through my mind, but the whole process took about ten minutes to make a decision – I am going. As I find myself in between tasks at work, I could take a quick glance in my agenda and determine that I had three of necessary four days free already! The fourth one I could cover with my vacation day or some of them overworked hours. So, from time perspective everything would be fine. Nothing was planned in those days also. Only thing I had to get afterwards would be my wife’s forgiveness as I was again taking decision according to basketball on my own. Fortunately for me – she is forgiving on this matter, much love my darling! Decision had been made under ten minutes. Oh boy, after four months I was happy that it was so…

The deal was that I would go with the already Organized group of Coaches and all the kids Teams. I would receive one of the U14 boys teams, look after them and coach them at the tournament. Sounded like a pretty sweet deal for me!

Now, for those who don’t know what United World Games are (I mean, I didn’t know also till I got there, haha) – that’s a multiple day tournament for kids and youth up to  age group of U19 in thirteen (!!!) different sports! This year they managed to crack mark of over 10’000 (!!!!!) participants. I mean, that is one hell of a number for a youth tournament if you ask me. It includes about (or over…) 40 nations from all over the World. Tournament stands for peace, tolerance and friendship all through power of coming together and competing in different kinds of sports. Sport unites us for greater good.

[CLICK HERE to read Official Release from BC Hellenen website by Sidney d’Almeida]

Anyway, little did I know that I won’t be coaching an U14 boys team this year. As between ‘saying yes’ and departure I took over an U16 (mixed U14) girls team, it made sense to coach and look after U14 girls team instead. Now, it wouldn’t have been a biggie, but I was just getting into coaching girls and my practices consisted of finding my way in the dawn. I had yet to discover the way how to handle a girls team properly and efficiently. Well, as it turned out – this tournament gave me the opportunity to understand and grow enormously as a Coach. Not only that, I had a chance not everyone gets – to spend four days with members of a team you are going to Coach next season. That is in about three to four months we will go on the field for our first game. And this came meanwhile being in the off-season! Why is it so important? Let me explain.

My plan for the four days was to find out how the team plays, bond with the players, gain their trust and further establish my position as the new Coach. One big thing was to observe players and their habits as individuals and AS A TEAM. I had observed some of the thing in practices already, but there was just so much more to see in “game environment”, especially when on tournament mode which is faster paced as regular season games (also more stressed due to Time-Pressure and little recovery time).

Overall I was very surprised of my discoveries in only four games from which we won only the first one. Despite that I consider this as very successful tournament for our team as I managed to breakdown and achieve many things vital to our upcoming 2018/2019 season. Also there is a reason why this post is “Part 1” as I will break down the games on the later posts and share what I took out of them. We had four very different Opponents and all very strong and respectable. Each game was a gift to gather additional information and prepare for the next season.

Time of plain clothes

We departed from Hellenendome on Thursday afternoon. It took some time to gather all the necessary items and get buses loaded. From my perspective it went very good and we were soon hitting the road. It was about four to five hour trip from Munich to Klagenfurt, the actual duration depends on how crowded the roads are and if you get stuck in traffic jam (or if you don’t – how much time it takes to go around it). Trip itself was very calm and relaxing as most of us used the chance to get some extra sleep before the four day marathon together with the kids. We took just one stop to quickly hit the Whiskey Charlie and refill our mugs with fresh beverages.

We arrived in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee around nineteen hundred, getting out of the vehicle, which took us there, went smooth and even unloading of our belongings didn’t complicate things. I was pretty amazed that such a large group of kids and only a handsome of Coaches could keep logistics under the pressure with no problem and keep it running very fast. Also, right after arriving we had to move the stuff to the tents we would be spending our next three nights. This would become our sanctuary in the night to take a rest or in the daytime to get some minutes off to recharge between the games and events.

Next step was to get all the kids fed. As our friends from Romania joined us, our numbers went a bit over one hundred. Very crazy if you ask me! For this evening we had no food vouchers as we had decided to feed ourselves to spare some resources. As I was not in organizing this whole thing I was happy to see that everything was prepared and we (Coaches) just had to find some tables to put everything on to and get them kids full.

That was pretty much it. After getting evening meal, there was some football to watch on the big screen at the stadium while half of the coaches staff prepared tents for the night. That is, checked if there were right amount of beds in the tents. After that we settled in and put everything in it’s place where it would stay for the next three days. It was decided to wake up early and get some breakfast before getting into the first game at nine hundred. Some of my girls were helping the Romanian team as they needed some extra players and we just mixed it up with some boys and girls from our teams. Some of the coaches advised to wake up between six fifteen and six thirty, but as I didn’t yet know capabilities of my U14 girls team, I decided to go to safe side and get them up at six hundred. Just to be sure everything went by clock.

Well that was pretty much the last evening of plain clothes as tomorrow started the times of helmets and armor for at least two days, depending on how we would play the group stage. For U14 girls we had two groups with four teams in each and in our group we had some good opponents from Austria, United States and Greece. Tomorrow promised some tough games starting at fourteen hundred versus Team Kärnten (AT) and finishing with Katerini (GR) at sixteen hundred.

For now, it was time to rest and save up some strength for tomorrow. We had to get up at six hundred tomorrow clanging and banging – ready to roll.


Coach Valts




The second Season.



“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

/Chinese Proverb

Warning long-post: at least 10 minute read. If you’re not into this kind of stuff, go watch some 5 minute cat videos on YouTube instead.

This journey has taken me further than I could have imagined. Now I am two whole seasons behind as a youth basketball coach, finding myself on my way to the third. Many things has happened in the past season and many are yet to happen. Now I am transfering from one U16-2 boys team to two teams: U16-3 boys and U16 girls. Both for good reasons to further challange myself and develop my coaching skills and abilities. This was a great season with my U16-2 boys team. This is recap of all the things I learned and discovered in 2017/2018 season as a youth basketball coach.

Leadership matters. Now I would put this on par with Organisation which I discovered as one of the most crucial aspects of the managament of youth basketball team on my first season as a youth basketball coach. Not just leadership, but leading by example as much as it is possible. My advantage is that I am still playing myself. I could invite boys to my games and they could look how coach is playing. It also made me to do my best to my best ability when I knew they were watching. I had to set example and am still learning how to do it properly and correctly. Never ending story – keep learning everyday. Very important to read about great leaders in history, read autobiographies and learn principles of leadership (as in philosophy, psychology and spirituality). Everything you do – team sees and talks about, then after some time they start to follow and adapt themselves to the example. It will happen especially fast if it is accepted and respected by whole organisation and if it goes along with their own vision of success. Biggest bonus is if by following your example they are bettering themselves in this world and getting noticed from higher ranks in organisation. That’s a complete leadership win.

Keep going. Even if you think you can’t. This was something I had coming for myself crushing down. With my newly found passion for the ball and abitions to become best possible coach I can – reality started to kick in and take toll on me. It started to get hard to juggle work with family (little baby) and the basketball gym with everything it brought with it. I had to coach and attend the games, to do that I had to learn. I also had to train and attend those games aswell. Everything was taking time. Everything was making a pressure. I knew I have to keep going, but I didn’t know how. Mental meltdown at some point. First person to pull me back up was leader of our club Konstantin. I must thank him once again for keeping me up in the game and running. After that I was able to pick up some stuff from books, videos and blogs on hardening up to keep going. It’s still not a piece of cake, but if there is one thing I’ve learned: pain doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it. So if there comes a point where you think you can’t anymore, then just push through. Find a solution and execute, keep going. If it doesn’t work – repeat. If you still feel going down – get a mentor to help you, to pull you up, to keep you in the game for one last time. Big chances are (from experience of many successful people and leaders) – you will be able to pull yourself and the whole situation together just fine and come out just with some bruises. Keep going, world relies on you.

You are two people away from connecting to billion. This is the idea I heard from Jordan Peterson in one of his lectures put up on Internet. Brilliant personality and teacher. The more I thought about it and looked around myself I found new ways to connect with people and make new friends and collegues. In ones lifetime one will earn at least 1000 friends and collegues. Now you are at one million, of course each of them will acquire also at least 1000 friends and collegues – that brings us up to one billion. Yes, sometimes it looks like each of one of us are just small, insignificant beings on this rock floating around in small solar system, but that’s not the case. We are part of smart, intelligent network just few string away of making it count. I like to talk to people and connect with them, make friends and collegues. Work together. The more I do that, the easier it gets. Someone knows someone, that someone knows someone else. Do your thing, do it well and people will work with you. Together you make this World a better place. Remember – you are two people away from a billion.

Mental game plays a huge role. This could be the headlife of this season with my U16-2 boys. If you browse this blog for the game recaps I wrote of the season you will notice, that we struggled with mental blocks the whole time. It took many hours of research and looking for solutions, talking to mentors and other coaches. Never underestimate the mental game. Discipline, habits, effort, work ethic, attitude… All those things make up the mental game. Super important. I could but this right after top 1 in list, that is Organisation and Leadership.

Learn the rules religiously and get to know the referee side. One single thing that made me better as a player and a coach at the games was getting my basketball referee license. Turned my game understanding and dealing with referees to 180 degrees. As I started to referee some low-league youth basketball games it was enough for me to understand how the referees sees us. I was already pretty good at looking from other peoples perspectives to things, but this was a game changer. Now I spend also more time teaching rules to my players and making them understand the game better through them. Also teaching them how the referee sees the game. Some even made their licenses and it helped me to spread the message among the players as it is better if players hear information not just from coach, but also among themselves.


Wins doesn’t matter. Player development does. When all is said and done (or thrown and rebounded) wins doesn’t matter. Players won’t remember the particular won or lost games. What they will remember is if you made them better players or not. Better human beings or not. Wether under your watch they suffered or developed themselves. If at the season end you can say you won the most possible games, but players suffered from that – I dare to say you suck, it’s wrong and please stop doing that or stop coaching. After a long season we finished at low end of the table and I don’t regret a second not taking wins over the player development. I saw my guys develop training by training, game by game and if it meant to lose most of them – be it, but they got better and more experienced through that. They might not have won this season, but I know for sure it made them better for future seasons and future teams. Never sacrifice player development over a win. Never.

If it is your calling – follow it. This is according to the quote at the start of the post. I hadn’t decided what to do and the best option would have been to start coaching and learning this stuff before ten years, but I am where I am. The second best time is to do it now. If you ever come to realization that you have missed something – just do it now. Past doesn’t matter, look in the future.

After all this I must thank my club BC Hellenen München it’s leadership and all the people (especially my boys of U16-2) there for all the given possibilities and trust they have put in me over these two seasons and everything that is to follow for the next one. We are going for the greatness.


Coach Valts

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