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BCH Season 2021-2022 D1 / Look Back

“To what service is my soul committed? Constantly ask yourself this and thoroughly examine yourself by seeing how you relate to that part called the ruling principle. Whose soul do I have now? Do I have that of a child, a youth… a tyrant, a pet, or a wild animal?”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.11

It has been some years.

The more I have learned, the more I understood that there is a vast darkness around me. I remember of a saying that described knowledge as darkness around a campfire. The more knowledge you acquire, the bigger the fire gets. Then, so does the darkness. By achieving knowledge you realize how big the “unknown unknowns” are. Things we do not know we do not know.

Minding my own business – I got a call from Sandy. This is the time I did not use WhatsApp or any of that, so I got more calls than text messages. I do not recall the exact day, but it was around start of the summer as we were changing teams. Opportunity was – to take over first women’s team. What? Bear in mind – this is the time I actually wanted to get rid of training at all, or at least top down to only one Team.
“Okay, maybe I can swap u18W with D1, but I want to do ONLY one team!” was my first response.
Well, we all know how that went. Sleep over it, she said. And I did. Once I told my wife the news, I could see in her face that I have already made a decision. It did not matter what kind of ‘self talk’ I performed walking around our two bedroom apartment.
“You promised to be more around home!” my wife objected.
“I know, I know…” I replied. “But if I do not do this, then who will?” I asked.
Silence. She knew.
So the day after I got back to Sandy and accepted – I will take on first ladies team. And the u18W for the last year. They promised to leave if I did not continue to train them, this was the master plan all along – to train ONLY u18W in the season 2021/22. Worked out fine…

Fast forward – this was a challenging season to take over a team. I won’t even put flowers on it, this is not some book publishing, this is a blog post after three years of silence. This one goes for my books.
We are coming out of the hardcore pandemic and it still was not over. Nobody has any idea, everybody does their best and we try to preserve what we can. Only later I would realize that I am taking over a team that is relatively new, worked its way through pandemic and my mission is to fill shoes of a coach who had it for 5+ years and rebuilt it from scratch. Oh, and by the way – I have to get them back into the higher league. Good luck Valts.

At this point, this is becoming a rant and I won’t even deny it. Why? Because it’s past and we all got over it. Still, it is the part of the story. Season hit us hard at the start and I was really doubting my abilities to pull this adventure straight. One part of it was my persistence to introduce the “free basketball” to the Team. I knew it would be a challenge. I just did not assume it would take a whole damn season and more. Perhaps I had overestimated my abilities and that of the team and underestimated the impact the pandemic had on us.
If you know me, I did not take that hard on the team as I did take it on myself. Why isn’t it working? What am I doing wrong? How do I get to them? How much time do we need? Am I losing my mind? Why are we losing? Why do we keep going back to previous steps and not advancing?
Question after question and at some point it just goes into a downward spiral. We lost first games, it was a complete chaos and I was reconsidering my whole existence as a Coach and a Leader. It was supposed to be my bread and butter, but there I was – not able to follow myself. Most common question I asked myself over these months – “How can others follow me, if I am not able to follow myself?”.

We were standing 1 win and 4 losses at the bottom of the bracket. Only question in my mind – is this how I will fail the team? Take over the women’s team in damn Bezirksoberliga and fuck it up? Sure we had close games under ten points, but it takes only one point to win or lose. If we can’t break it – that’s it. We are going to leave the league. Players can’t do nothing for it, they were following me more than I thought they would. Something was missing.

The turning point? Our game six in the season against München Ost. Before that it’s been three losses against top teams and many cancellations due to Corona. So we could not compete with teams on even level or lower, but had to compete against top notch teams in the league. So was the München Ost also. This is where we take a little discourse.

This season I also completed my C-license in competitive sport as the action got cancelled completely because of the Covid last season. To be able to complete this license, one has to partake also oral examination with three questions. One of them was how to defend 1-3-1 Zone defense. Which I failed miserably – I have never played nor taught this particular Zone defense. This mistakes would me almost cost my license. I took it as my challenge and duty to learn and add this particular defense to my arsenal and got my team to do it. This also collided with the game against München Ost as I planned to use it to throw them off the track by switching different Zone defenses. All I had to do is teach it within one week to the ladies…

Getting back on track – it worked like a charm. Team went full in on the 1-3-1 and our defense got maximum effect on München Ost and even though they were favorite over us (even in my eyes) we managed to pull off the only thing that could’ve worked – great defense and decent offense. This was exactly what we needed as a team – success against a strong opponent. Word has it – they did not anticipate outcome like this with the roaster they brought in..

After, we won another three straight games. We got even with Wolnzach by implementing another defensive miracle with box-and-one and isolating their top scorer, who for some reason, was shooting EXACTLY against us like there is no tomorrow. Literally, she needed as little as 1s release for three-point shots. So the best bet was that she does not receive ball at all. We finished the season against Fürstenfeldbruck with two duels as they were coming out of tough season and re-building the team. For them it was more about getting the experience and toughening up, for us it was a chance to try new things and generally grow together as a team.

So here we go, a tough 5/4 season with uncertainties and more questions than answers. It’s not too far fetched to say – everyone was more tired of cancelled games than the ones being played. Something like that is not good for ones head.

The Biggest Change of all
Perhaps you fret and think you can’t make a difference in the way things are. Wrong. You can make the biggest difference of all. You can change yourself. And when you do that you become a very powerful and important force – namely, a good role model.
I believe you can do more good by being good than in any other way.

Coach John Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

All that, I am really looking forward to another season with Hellenen first ladies team, I think we have had a good “ice-breaker” season and we have developed a strong foundation on which we can build up for the future. Even if tough at start, we came through and I started to see the beauty in their game I had planned from the beginning. It is just beautiful to watch a team having fun, discovering something new and implementing it against the competition. This was also lesson for me, not to doubt my own vision, even if we have to go through the process and come back again, even if the pace is slower as imagined – trust the way, trust the team and they will deliver. At the end, maybe you are the change they need?


BCH U16w Season ’18-’19 [Look back]

After the last game of the League in Ismaning

Ain’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back – everything is different.


Goals of now past season (as of 23rd July 2019) can still be read under the team section of U16 Hellgirls on BC Hellenen homepage. Like a reminder that is put there to remind you of all the things you set out to do at the start of the season and now, when the season is over, it’s your job to look back. Look at all of the things that happened in between then and now. Calculate. What did we achieve? What is still there to be achieved? Maybe there is something to be taken to throw away for ever? Questions?

Did we have to achieve though? Does it matter? Questions. Most of the time it’s not the answers, but the questions that are the important part. Recently I talked about it with my young leaders. Importance of setting the right questions. Somehow I feel like I was too concerned of answers for the past months and a good observer would most likely say – Coach… not only the past months, but the whole season. This is what is standing on the Homepage – for non German speakers, I’m sorry, I hope the Google Translator does a good job.

Die erste Aufgabe wird sein einen disziplinierten Grundgedanken innerhalb der Mannschaft zu behalten. Die Hellgirls sollen sich selbst und ihre Mitspielerinnen in die Pflicht nehmen. “Eines meiner Ziele ist es, dass sie sich selber beibringen wie man fischt. Die Verantwortung das Spiel an sich zu nehmen und auch mal ohne Trainer zu lernen und zu verstehen, was man braucht, und was man nicht braucht.” erklärt Valts. Da diese Mannschaft noch eine Mischung aus der U16w und der U14w ist wird eine Hauptaufgabe die Förderung der Basics, der athletischen Fähigkeiten und der Spielintelligenz sein. “Aus meinem Blickwinkel benötigen die U16 Mädels sowohl das Input von Sandy (U12/U14), als auch von Georgia (Damen 1), damit sie die nötigen Schritte machen können um die Hellenen im Seniorenbereich irgendwann zu repärsentieren. Wir säen die Samen heute und in den kommenden Jahren soll diese Arbeit Früchte tragen”.

from U16w section of BC Hellenen homepage (23.07.2019)

Once again it is the First Season. Before taking over the girls I had the opportunity to train our U16-3 guys. But that is another story. Teach them how to teach themselves how to fish. I thought it will be a piece of cake. Boy I was wrong. As it turns out, this will be a long rise together with the Hellgirls. Not only that, turns out that teaching the basics is not as hard as learning the basics yourself. Keep it simple! Nice and easy. Ha! Probably the hardest thing to do in basketball is to keep at the basics and master them not only as player, but also as a Coach. Technique. Determination to do those 1’000 repetitions. Just as the saying from the far east: “I am not afraid of a man who has trained one hundred moves one time, I am afraid of a man who has trained one move one hundred times.” Of course they are talking about the discipline of martial arts.

What goes for the integration – question was good, execution was not. We are at it for the next season though. Mainly because it didn’t happen on the last one. So there is that. Sometimes looking back gives the necessary push, but I am not doing this whole build up just to explain something we already know. These travels are going much further and deeper than looking back eight months and drawing conclusions what went wrong. Questions?

Now, let’s do the usual stuff. Point one: Develop a strong culture of discipline. This is a tough one at any team, at any age, but I dare to say that U16 age group is one nasty piece of job. If you had the ability to think clearly before the puberty kicks in and you will able to do that again in like 20-30 years after it kicks out, then at the moment of 14-16 years you get wrecked by your own body and hormones. Discipline? This is the word many of us use, but rarely follows. Well, not all the time at least. Though, this is one of the most important things in life (in my humble and objective opinion). This is the asset to have when everything goes wrong, shit hits the fan, you fall to the bottom. You get the picture. When that happens, well then, if you have walked the way of discipline it will keep you going. When all breaks, discipline will get you through to the other side. Over the storming river. Sometimes slowly, but it will. That is why this is number one thing in my book of Rules. Follow the discipline as good as you can and as often as you can. We are only humans and everyone from us slips time to time, but we still can do our best most of the time.

That said – girls did a good job by accepting the challenge in building the discipline habits. We are still just at the foundations, but I am pretty proud of my team and how it has developed it’s discipline. Next season we will start to build the walls.

This brings us to the usual stuff – Point two: Build a structure, teach players to keep each other in check. Woah, yeah – this is even harder than the discipline part. Thing is, to keep others in check you must keep yourself in check first. Like, all the time. It’s a big point for a 14-16 year olds, but the was I see it, they are youth. Transition age, they are not kids anymore, they want and are able to make decisions and should make them. That also means they should learn to keep themselves in check and additionally the others also. At least the team you are playing in, twice-trice a week for two hours of training. Now, this is a part of leadership concepts I have been teaching my leaders. Are we there yet as a team? No. Do we have a chance? Yes. Starting with few, hopefully there will be many.

Point three: Teaching to learn for themselves or teaching them how to teach themselves how to fish. As mentioned above this is one of the main points in my trainings and again – in my humble, objective opinion this is a very important concept to learn in life for life. It’s also not an easy skill to learn, it takes years and years of practice and dedication to master it. Heck, I don’t think I even believe you can master it. You can get very good at it, though. There will always be something more to learn and know in this aspect as our times and society is always changing. Teaching yourself is an important skill to have. As I have read and watched some works of people much smarter than me (like doctors, scientists and the sort) I can take that information they have gathered in their fields of expertise, work and research – compile it and draw conclusions according to my experience. So, I have to say that what I’ve found is – humans are not made to remember everything, but to generate ideas and work with informations. Take input of information and create something new and useful. That said – learning new things and learning to learn is a VERY useful thing. You don’t have to remember everything, but you have to have the ability to find the things you need put them together to achieve whatever you are up to doing. This is what we can also beautifully learn through basketball – get to know what the Coach want to achieve and go and learn how to get it done. How to gather information. How to put it in use. Teach yourself how to teach yourself to fish.

Point four? Yes, it seems so! Basic skills, basketball IQ, Physical ability. So… what is this? Let’s start with the basic skills. What do I mean by basic skills? Running. Dribbling. Jumping. Well, that connects directly with Physical ability. Athletes. I don’t want only to develop “basketball players”. I want to develop athletes and “gamers”. The last one people are used to hear in internet gaming scene, but the way I see it – gamers are the people who are able to learn games. Sports games, card games, board games, video games. Whatever. They are able to take the rules and the environment of the game and develop a strategy with according tactics of how to win the game. Learn from better players (and Coaches) and think fast enough to adapt themselves to different situations in the game. They are able to have discussions about the games what they are playing and find it interesting. They find “playing” appealing and fun! Putting themselves through the training, which sometimes (or most likely most of the time) require much of repetition and training isn’t something mind numbing for them, but they see it as a way of getting better individually and actually have the drive to perform. This is what I call “the gamers” aspect and it goes on through the life. Because you can make everything a game. Later going into life and work scene (again in my humble and objective opinion) the people with “gamers mindset” will be able to figure out how the field and rules work and get better at almost ANYTHING they choose to. Plus, they will do it much faster than all the other people. Maybe they won’t outperform the “natural talents”, but they surely will outperform anybody else in the action sooner or later. So the mindset of “gamer” is also having the Basketball IQ or understanding of the game if you will. Some have it higher, some lower. I believe it still can be developed to some extent taking in consideration the individuals abilities.
Whew, so this is what I mean with developing gamers. People who have fun at cracking the game of basketball and developing themselves to achieve this trait. What goes for athletes – that is someone who has the ability to be physically fit enough to change between sports/games. Other sports look for others skills, but when you are physically an athlete it is easier for you to change between different sports or learn more than one over time. That also includes keeping it basic – master the necessary skills and physique that are required to achieve the goals of the game efficiently.

Last, but not least – Point five: Cooperating with other coaches! Cooperation started between the youth coaches and what we were lacking was cooperation with coaches from adult teams. So this is the next step – partial integration of youth players in adult teams. Won’t be touching this point much. Looking forward to the work we will do in the next season.

This is it! Haha, got you, no it isn’t. I’ve not written in many months. Many, see I’ve even lost the count! You didn’t think I will let you off that easy, did you? Those were the goals. The points. The things we need to keep track of what we have achieved. What has been done, what needs to be done. This doesn’t include one very important aspect of the journey we experienced – the story itself.

You see, the last months have been very busy. Many changes, new things came in my life and they took full focus of my time. Still are. That’s not the story though. This is not the tale from out there, there will be another time for those – this is a story from inside.

Goals is one thing. Goals are the “end” – what you get when you are strong, able and disciplined enough to go the distance and write the checkmark in the tick-box. What I DID FORGET in the last year is that the journey is far more important than the goals set prior to it. Goals are nice to check, but… what happens in between is what people write books about. The stories. Emotions. Small things.

Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.

Joseph B. Wirthlin

This article is also a result of many small steps. It has been about two or more months since I started to write. From one side it is because I had forgotten how important those small steps are and didn’t participate of the daily/weekly writing for awhile now. Now, when I look back, the last season was stressful and fast paced. Lost without mindfulness. Lost without stories. Gone by.

For me it is a good indicator to stop. Something feels very off. You know that gut feeling, right? To some extent everybody has it. Some choose to ignore it completely, some rely too much on it. I like to rely on it periodically – when it really kicks in. In past months it started to really kick in. Something is off. Drifting. Maybe it is my perception? Not completely understanding the environment I find myself in? The Team is changing. It is changing because of each individual element in it – players. Recent conversation with one of the fathers, who have had his experience in these changes, let me gain another perspective on the things.

Reflection. Never forget the simple rules and teaching in life. As I started my journey a few years back a good friend of mine suggested for me a must-read book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey where one of the lessons is to be able to differentiate inner and outer circles of influence. As I continued to learn and read works of others I started to see that this very idea is not a new one. In fact, it is a very ancient one. Recently I picked up the philosophy of Stoicism and one of the first ideas what popped out was – differentiate between what we can change and what we can’t.

The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…

Epictetus, ‘Discourses’, 2.5.4-5

Never forget the action of non-action. Some things must let be and only need to be understood as the part of the nature. That’s how they will yield. I had forgotten these truths of time in the last season. Well, at least for the last months of it. I was like a fisherman, trying to catch a fish with a chocolate. You see, I thought that the chocolate is the ultimate bait. Because I liked it. It might be for some very specific kind of fish, but those are not the fish in my pound. To catch the fish I have access to I need to understand them and present with the proper bait of their liking. That is the way of getting them out of the water and transport into other bodies of water. It’s the natural way. Understand the nature and you can catch and train them, disobey the laws of the nature and you will fail. No bending or breaking will overcome the soft and flowing.

That is the biggest realization from the past months. Asking the right questions. What can I control? What can I not? If I cannot control it – let it flow. That I can – understand it and take action. Get the right bait. This is an art I must learn. But first…

Understand the prey.


BCH U14w vs Bad Aibling

Ex-Army, now basketball court Photo: Vicky Martinovic

To Win Is to Overcome Yourself

Hyogo Narutomi once said, “To win is to overcome your own side. To win, your own side must overcome itself. To win one’s self is to overcome the body with the mind. Unless you train your spirit and your body every day to such an extent that there is none comparable to you among the tens of thousands of samurais on your side, it will be impossible for you to deafeat your enemies.”

“THe way of the samurai”, based on the “hagakure” by tsunetomo yamamoto

This was my first time in Bad Aibling for a basketball game. Game was due to 14:30 and it had been raining all morning with temperature around -1 to -2 degrees Celsius. My usual concern was that we arrive in time, so I hit a WhatsApp message to the group to watch the weather conditions. It was in our favour and till it was the time to get going temperature rised over zero degrees and it was enough for the roads not to be slippery anymore. Just to be sure I started my journey a little bit earlier, I still had to travel through Munich and do some personal chores. My plan was to arrive 30-40 minutes before anyone else. As it always is with weekends, the most of the problems were on the roads south of Munich leading to the Austrian border. As it turned out, it was a wise decision not to take the Autobahn, but travel the local roads instead.

Before my arrival I didn’t know the story of the place. I had heard some history that there were American Forces around the Rosenheim, but nothing concrete. Upon my arrival I noticed a huge complex of buildings which looked something more line hangars than sports complex. A vast area consisting of various building with big numbers on them and football fields near them. When I went into the gym and saw the sign it was clear then, that this place had some military history. As one of my hosts explained to me later, just before the game, we indeed found ourselves in an old hanger which was used to store aircraft back in World War 1! After the World War 2, americans stationed themselves (in 1950’s onwards) in this complex and after they left it was re-build in a basketball court. I must admit – it added a little bit of magic to this place. Anyway, it was a game time.

Before this game U14 Hellgirls found themselves in the Place 4 on the standings and Bad Aibling Fireballs were on the Place 2. We were missing some of our good players and well, Bad Aibling is a good team. I first met them in Klagenfurt where we lost with -3 points by getting the last shot in, but on the line. You can read the story HERE. Second time was the first game of the season at Hellenen Dome when we lost 36 to 51. They were purely better both times than we were. They did their preparations right and I would not await anything else from a club whose Women’s team (1. Bundesliga) plays higher than their Men’s team (1. Regionalliga). This would be a hard game for us, we had to bring our heart into the game and in the last games it was lacking. This was the game of stepping up.

First Quarter

Besides of us getting the first foul in the minute 1 (shots missed) and getting the first basket – girls from Bad Aibling Fireballs dominated us. No head in the game for us and they wrecked havoc upon our defense. No heart. They put 12 points up till the minute 8, when we would start to give some answers in the defense and some points in the offense. Yes, they were technically better, but we were not that dumb as we played and we had our conditioning right. That much I knew, it was just stupid decisions and no focus. Bad passes, no trusting to oneself, not trusting own teammates, not listening to coach, no heart to fight for the balls. That is the reality. Facts.

And that is good. It was time for them to learn important lessons on the teamwork and individual responsibility. Taking individual responsibilty to make the team better. Important concepts had to be learned. This game marked a start of a journey they would experience under my guidance. Road to team with a heart.

We went down in the first quarter with 16 to 6. It was looking bad. It wasn’t. Team did a lot of bad stuff in the first quarter, but at the end of it they started to stop the opponents and Bad Aibling made just two baskets in the last two minutes of the first quarter. Time to play.

Second Quarter

It is always hard to play against stronger opponents if you are lacking some of the good rotation players. Rotations are all off and in order to keep the team above the water you have to sacrifice individual likings. That’s how it goes, this is not the little league anymore. They got it. Hellgirls went in the second quarter and delivered blows back. It looked like a good basketball game now. We were fixing our throw-in strategy against their full-court press and using simple, plain offensive tactics. Play fast, create situations and penetrate the defense. Go to the basket. This lead to teams scoring alternately. This was pretty much how the rest of the game went. I could see that opponents were not awaiting this hard of the game after the first quarter where we slept in and they dominated. No sir, but they don’t know us, I will push the team for the blow. Love these kids, they found teamwork and heart in the second quarter. So we fought and won the second quarter by putting up one basket more than our hosts. 17 to 19 win for Hellgirls and 25 to 33 on the scoreboard going in the halftime.

Thanks to our dearest fans! Photo: Kristina Huß

Third Quarter

We had to took our chances. They went from playing seperately in the first quarter to playing like a palm with fingers together in the second quarter. We had some talk back in the lockers and it was clear that to get a chance at this game we had to make a fist. One team, together and delivering the blow. Trust. Heart. So we went out. In the first half of third quarter our offense did stagnate and opponents had a good chances for scoring and used them. At the minute 25 we had taken four freethrows and missed all of them. It gave a strong confidence to our rivals and they thought they got us. No sir, we blew when they let their guard down. Scoring went up, I pushed the girls to be more confident and take responsibility. It resulted in some good offensive plays for us and team made baskets. It looked good again. Also defensively we did better and managed to stop their penetration more frequently. Girls still had to work on their footwork and staying on the field, not jumping so much. Being more careful on crossovers. Other than that – very good job. We lost this quarter with -3, 18 to 15, scoreboard showed 51 to 40 for Bad Aibling Fireballs.

Fourth Quarter

Eleven points in a basketball game isn’t that much if you can put the defense and offense together. It somehow wasn’t happening for us today. Many missed baskets, too many. Five missed freethrows in the fourth which we desperately needed to pressure their mental game. Our hosts managed to hold around 10 points (and more) lead for the rest of the game and we just couldn’t get to their throats and put this one down in our favour. Hellgirls went on to win another quarter, but just with +1, 14 to 15 for us. We lost the game 65 to 55, though.
To be honest – this was an amazing outcome for us, given the circumstances. We lost the game, but we won something more useful. Understanding. And we started to find the fight in ourselves. Big day for our U14 Hellgirls.


We came with nine players and some of the good ones couldn’t be there. That’s not why we lost, though. Opponents were better prepaired and more skilled. We slept in the first quarter and that cost us ten points. We missed 20 (!!!) points in freethrows. That is a possible win right there alone. Nah, we need to be better in our preparations. At first we need to work on our mental game, be focused, be fighting. With heart. Then we need to take this focus and heart and develop ourselves individually. Take responsibility for the good of the team. Put it together and we will come out victorious. Back to the drawing boards, we are going to have some rough and fun ride.

Hellgirls are still standing strong on the Place 4 with 5 wins in 9 games.

~Coach Valts


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