Australian Youth Coach stresses need to improve infrastructureAugust 17, 2012, 10:09 pm
by Rex Clementine
Australia’s Youth Basketball Coach Damien Cotter finished off a successful coaching clinic in Sri Lanka yesterday where he prepared both country’s coaches and players for the upcoming South Asian Games. Cotter’s recent visit to Sri Lanka was facilitated by the Ministry of Sports with the upcoming regional games in mind.
Cotter is no stranger to the country having made frequent visits to the island since 2005. What started off as a casual visit to help the basketball players here on a request by a Sri Lankan living in Melbourne, it later turned out to be a long standing relationship and Cotter has gained immense sense of satisfaction looking at the improvements the local basketball players have made.
"I love it. I am a big fan of Sri Lankan athletes. They are coachable. Not just the players, but coaches as well. Coaching the coaches is also an important step. Every time I come over here I observe that players are committed and they are willing to learn. These are signs of improvement," he told The Island.
However, he said that if the athletes are to improve further, infrastructure needed to improve as well. All his coaching sessions during his recent visit were conducted in outdoor courts due to lack of indoor facilities and some of the training sessions were hampered due to inclement weather
"In order to get to the next level you have to improve your infrastructure. The federation needs the support from the government to put up proper training facility. I was recently in Romania and the Romanian Basketball Federation had its own facilities from offices to gymnasium. We are talking of very simple buildings and better facilities here," he remarked.
Although he is from Victoria, Cotter shifted to Sydney due to professional reasons as he operates from New South Wales Institute of Sports which is based at the Sydney Olympic Stadium. "When I go home I have got a big week of preparation. We have a camp there and then we play the Kiwis."
His time in Sri Lanka coincided with the London Olympics which was an awful one for the Australians. The great sporting nation managed just seven gold medals this time compared to the 14 they won in Beijing in 2008. It was a massive setback as in Athens Australia won 17 golds and in Sydney 16. In 2000 and 2004 they were placed fourth while in 2008 they were sixth compared to the tenth position they managed this time around.
"We are a great sporting nation. There’s disappointment with the results, but you can be lest assured that we will bounce back and we will do better in Rio in 2016."
Sri Lanka Basketball Federation is planning another interaction with Damien Cotter later this year specifically targeting next year’s South Asian Games. "Hopefully I will be here in December. It’s something to do with coaching development programme. Sri Lankans are very close to my heart. Every time I come here I make new friends. I love my time out here. I do want to see the sport flourish here."
What’s Sri Lanka’s best overseas Test win?
Last Updated May 21 2013 | 06:02 pm