Basketball Crazy has found another well respected person who is crazy enough to dedicate themselves to live in and around basketball for most of their life so far. Patrick has coached over 350 games representing Australia and was Head Coach of the Canberra Cannons in the Australian National Basketball League in 1981.
He was one of the initial Coaches of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Basketball program and has been with the AIS from its inception in 1981 being Head Coach of the Men’s program from 1983 to 1992. An internationally renowned presenter and clinician, Hunt has been the keynote speaker at many National Coaching, Sports Science and Skill Acquisition conventions throughout Australia. Internationally he has been the keynote and guest speaker at International Coaching Clinics in USA, Sweden, Germany, South Africa and New Zealand and delivered Coaching presentations in Brazil, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Canada, Japan, China and Turkey.
Commencing in January 2009, he was appointed to the new position at the AIS of Applied Technical Advancement Coach working with the AIS Olympic games and World Championship calibre Coaches. In September 2010 at the FIBA World Congress he was appointed President of the FIBA World Association of Basketball Coaches for a four year term to 2014.
Current Profession: Applied Technical Advancement Coach - Australian Institute Of Sport
Coaching Career Highlights
Most admired International or USA Coach:
International - Dusan Ivkovic / Svetislav PesicUSA - Mike Cechcestic Duke / Bob Knight / Like Olsen
Most admired person in Basketball Management: Lindsay Gaze
Most admired International of USA Player: Michael Jordan / Larry Bird
Most admired Australian Coach: Lindsay Gaze / Adrian Hurley / Barry Barnes
Most admired Australian Player: Andrew Gaze
Most memorable basketball moment: 1987 Defeating USSR by 2 points in the World Junior Men’s Championships in Italy. We were the first Australian team to do that.
Pat’s most inspirational phrase: I use more recently: The better the coaches, the better the quality of opportunities they can provide the players to development.
Basketball Crazy’s Interview With Patrick Hunt
BBC Hi Pat, thank you for taking the time to talk with Basketball Crazy. It is a pleasure to be able to speak to you., Pat, First of all congratulation on your recent appointment to the President of the World Association of Basketball Coached for a four year term with FIBA. How does that go with you?
PH It is an honour to be appointed to such a position and I feel very flattered to be nominated and then appointed to the position. The idea of the appointment is to develop coaching standards throughout the world and as you may know the world is divided into 5 regions and I will oversee the activities of the World Association of Basketball Coaches in each of those regions, each of the regions has a Regional President and I’ll be working with those, we will meet at least every two years probably once each year in the first two years to make sure we implement some programs or raise the coaching standards around the world. These areas are Asia Africa, Americas, Oceania, and Europe
BBC Basketball Crazy understands and acknowledges you already have a credible reputation around the world as an elite coach and for your ability to train coaches etc, could you say that FIBA is looking to Australia through you and your appointment as a recognition for Australia being possible best practice in amongst development countries?
PH I think Australia over many years, for a nation that has a small population and geographically isolated from major competition, has produced some consistent and very high results, I think FIBA has recongised that it is not only because of our coaches, but also because of our development programs and systems and I think we are looking to do some initiatives to use our experiences in coaching and particularly coaching development to help the World do that. So I think it is a small recognition but not the major one but the is certainly a recognition a peripheral one to a small country and also to the Oceania Zone for FIBA Oceania through Steve Smith and his team doing very good work for the smaller type nations
BBC You may not have had much opportunity to know the full nature of your appointment as President, but can you see any early benefits for Australian basketball with your appointment?
PH Well I think one of the things which we are trying to implement are major coaching clinics with each World Championship qualification event initially and the Olympic Games qualification events so there will a definite benefit when those are held in Australia which they are if not held each year, every other year where coaches will be able to attend these events and see the coaches of the participating teams in the tournaments talk for about 20 minutes to half hour on their favorite draw concept, we may invite guest coaches to those clinics so there should be a benefit in that regard.
BBC Changing the topic a little, your position with the Australian Sports Commission as AIS Applied Technical Advancement Coach, what are some of the duties performed of this position?
PH Well I have worked with our Olympic Games and World Championship level coaches to improve their coaching expertise and there are four main initiatives that I have implemented over the last two years one of them is running coaching forums of which we get coaches from different sports in groups of three or four to get together for a hour and half, two hours to discuss different coaching issues used methods, concepts and techniques in their sports and share their information and because coaches don’t have time to do that or make time to do it because of their busy schedules.
The second thing is to get coaches from within their own sport to meet more regularly and discuss similar things because again often coaches are so busy they don’t get time to do that.
The third thing is we implement coach exchange programs with in Australia that we get coaches from one sport to spend two or three days with coaches from other sports and imbed themselves into the sport program to see how they plan, how they practice, how they evaluate how they organise their international competition schedules and other coaching issues.
The fourth thing is we have an international study tour every year where we get six or seven coaches from the AIS to visit international programs, we have been to Manchester United, British Rowing, San Antonio Spurs, Duke University, this year we will go to Rio Madrid and the Sports Institute in Spain, Paris as well as Duke University and San Antonio Spurs again this year.
BBC Pat you have played a major role in the development of AIS, NITP and Academy type programs around Australia, do you believe these programs have been instrumental in improving Australia’s senior a junior representative teams world rankings?
PH Well I think there has been many things that have helped Australia climb the ladder of world rankings and of course tremendous network of volunteers, clubs and associations throughout Australia has been a fantastic platform from which to develop players that have come along and I think the NITP has played a role in developing players and coaches particular an international flavor to accelerating development of those players but the men’s and women’s national leagues certainly as play a part in that, as has the Australian Institute of Sport, so it’s a combination of opportunities that all those programs have provided players to become better and represent Australia on the international scene.
BBC The AIS is coming up to its 30th anniversary, I am not trying to make you feel old, but you were there at the beginning. The basketball program seems to have stood the test of time and produced some great athletes; can you see the AIS basketball program being around for another 30 years?
PH I think so and I think there is always going to look at the needs of players and coaches internationally and being able to adjust or to make minor adjustment to the programs as the game progresses and certainly this has been one of the strengths of the AIS is being able to adapt and change as the requirements need and I think Basketball Australia and the AIS have an excellent working relationship that will continue on into the future
BBC If you had significant funding to establish something that would progress basketball in Australia, what would you do?
PH I think to appoint more full time coaches in developing young players and coaches would be very effect method of deploying those funds, I think if we could double or triple the amount of full time coaches in the NITP and also broaden their role to help the clubs and associations I think that would have a dramatic effort on accelerating our standards.
BBC As you are aware, more and more young Australian athletes are seeking scholarships in the USA College system. What are your thoughts about young Australian players moving to USA and attend college?
PH I think it is a matter of horses for courses not for all players, some do and some don’t and some go into Division 1 some division 2 or 3 but in is a matter of opportunities and seeing what is best for a player’s development. We have had players go to the USA and played for our Olympic teams over the years and I think that is important thing for Australian basketball and at the national level that those blue chip players are available to play for our National teams and so far I believe that has been the case.
BBC Would you like to see more coaches go across to experience the College system?
PH Well the US system is one experiential part of the coaching development and I know that Basketball Australian use to run the coaching study tours were the coaching study tours have spent more time in Europe than USA. The exposure to the European methods and coaching concepts and techniques I see as a very important step in early coaching standards at the international level.
BBC It must have been a very proud moment for you when the Basketball Australia announced last year the Junior Coach of the Year award will be named after you?
PH Again I was a bit humbled by the honour, I attended the U/16 Nationals this year where I was able to present those coaching awards to one coach and the other coach Peter Lonigan who was overseas with our U17 National team at the time and it was to be recognized in this way by Basketball Australia was indeed an honour and a previlige it was humbling. I am very great full for the recognition because you don’t receive those sorts of things and when they come along it is surprising I will enjoy attending the National Championship to present those personally when I can.
BBC Pat you have had what is to most people who know you, an amazing career in basketball with many accolades, representing your country numerous times, touring almost every country in the world, performing things like seminars in Beijing for the World Coaching Conference, dealing and seeing world class athletes almost every day, what would you suggest a person have to consider in education requirements and experience to try and head towards a career emulating just some of what you have achieved?
PH Well I think there is three things – you got to enjoy working with people and you got to enjoy seeing people develop and you have to enjoy the competition and have been tested regularly in the international environment so if you can answer yes to these three question, then I think you have got at least the right mind set to want to become a passionate learner about the game and a passionate learner about improving people and making them better and through that opening other opportunities for them.
BBC In relation to an education apart from those three things what education would you recommend someone consider?
PH There is no particular formula there are many great coaches who have had no formal academic education as such there are some that have, there is a mix of both, but I think there must be a curiosity for learning formal or informal, this certainly is a perquisite for coaches to want to go on and become masters in their craft or art.
If Coaches can undertake degrees or diplomas and certainly I think it is very important they complete the National Accreditation system for basketball in their beginning levels the levels 1, 2 & 3 I think is very important, but it is what you learn after you have after those qualification through the experiential learning that will make the coaches.
BBC What do you like doing away from work and basketball to wind down and take your mind off somewhere else?
PH I enjoy attending live concerts and performances and listening to music and I walk regularly at least 4 or 5 times a week which is my way of winding down although if you are doing something you really enjoy it is not really much of a job as such but it is an enjoyment so I can do all that and still feel relaxed and enthused about still participating and helping people in the sport to become better and help them to grow.
BBC Basketball Crazy wishes to thank you for your time and effort to do this interview. Readers will hopefully find your responses interesting and thought provoking to enable others to join you in the ongoing development of basketball in Australia.
PH It has been a pleasure and all the best with your coaching and endeavors.
End of Interview