Basketball Crazy Interview: Robert Beveridge
Basketball Crazy’s brief about Robert Beveridge: You can not find another Australian crazier about basketball than Robert Beveridge. In Rob’s relatively short basketball career, he has won some very prestigious titles including World Junior Championships, National Basketball Championships and has contributed to the development of a number of Australia’s best know athletes including Current NBA Starting Centre Millwalkees Andrew Bogat. The recent National Basketball League Championship win as head coach of the Perth Wildcats was Rob’s first year in Perth and achieved above expectations. Rob was recently in the USA participating in Nike basketball camps and also coaching the World Select team v the USA. Most coaches dream to do some of the things that Rob has achieved.
Current Profession: Head Coach – Perth Wildcats
Website: Perth Wildcats
Family Members: Wife - Suellen, Married for 15 years
Children - Jaydon 11, Annie 8, Noah 4
Coaching and Career Qualifications & Memberships:
Place of Birth: Canberra Year of Birth 1970
History of Involvement with basketball Highlights:
Junior Playing Career Highlights
Coaching Career Highlights
Most admired International or USA Coach: Mike Dunlap and Phil Jackson
Most admired International of USA Player: Andrew Bogut and Dirk Nowitski
Most admired Australian Coach: Gordie McLeod
Most admired Australian Player: Andrew Bogut
Most memorable basketball moment as a coach: Marching with Australian team into Sydney Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony infront of 110,000 people; Winning Gold Medal at World Junior Championship
Most memorable basketball moment as a junior coach: Winning first Gold Medal at National Championship in 2000
Rob’s most inspirational phrase: “Be the best you can”
Basketball Crazy’s Interview With Rob Beveridge
BBC Hi Rob, thank you for taking the time to talk with Basketball Crazy and congratulations on your recent NBL Championship..
RB I have always dreamt of winning an NBL Championship and to do it my first year in Perth was an amazing experience. I recruited a great bunch of players who worked hard to become better players. The management and board were supportive of what I wanted to do and backed me all the way. I would never have thought that we would win it our first year with 8 new players on the roster.
BBC It is amazing to Basketball Crazy that you have achieved some of the most incredible achievements as a coach including successfully coaching Australian Junior Teams and recently winning a NBL Championship. Do you have to pinch yourself occasionally to check if your dreaming?
RB One thing I have learnt over the 18 years of coaching is never take anything for granted. I am blessed that I get paid to do a job that I truly love and it is important that I continue to strive to be the best coach I can be. The day that you think that you know it all you may as well give it up!
BBC Rob, You have become well respected throughout Australia and around the world. Can you tell us why you are so “Basketball Crazy” and involved in the sport from a career and personal point of view?
RB I was a pretty good soccer player when I was young but growing up in Canberra and playing in -2 degrees turned me away from soccer. I loved playing basketball as it was an indoor sport and did ok at it. I knew that I was never going to make it as a player but I loved playing the game, so I decided from a young age that if I was to be involved in the sport for a long time I would need to be a coach. I put in an enormous amount of time and made sacrifices to becoming the best coach I could be.
BBC What were you recently doing in the USA, it must be a great opportunity and how did this opportunity come about for you?
RB I have just returned from coaching the World Select team against the USA at the Nike Hoop Summit. This event is a one off game where the best 19 year and under players from around the World take on the BEST High School players in the USA. This is the number one event where the NBA Teams get to scout the best players who will be drafted into the NBA. This opportunity arose after winning the World Junior Championship in 2003. Hall of Fame Coach Alessandro Gamba from Italy retired from Coaching and I was fortunate enough to be selected to take over from Coach Gamba
BBC What is it like to be a full-on NBL Head Coach given that you have now experienced the highs and lows of being involved in such a high pressured role with different NBL clubs?
RB It has been a huge difference from coaching in Sydney with a team that folded and then coming to a Blue chip organisation like the Wildcats. It is like going from the outhouse to the penthouse! There was not a whole lot of pressure or expectations coaching West Sydney Razorbacks/Sydney Spirit as they were the worst team in the competition when I took over the job there. However, what I have found about Perth is that there is an expectation to win a championship every year and that pressure is definitely there. You try and keep the players and staff level headed, process orientated and focused on being the best they can be every day. Unfortunately, I can’t control what other people say and think but I like to go home everyday knowing that I did my best to make the team better.
BBC What do you believe are some of the key roles a head coach does and how much do you think you can influence a team throughout a season or even a game?
RB I have found that the win/loss is primarily determined by how much preparation you put in rather than what you do or don’t do as a coach on the night. There is no doubt that the decisions that you make during a game can be the difference between winning or losing however it is important to prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Some of the key roles of the coach are to ensure that all players are in the best physical shape, the player’s skill level is always getting better and collectively as a group that everyone is putting in 100%. It is also important that you have people around you that are like minded and dedicated and devoted to what you want to do so your selection of support staff is very important.
BBC What do you rely on your assistant coaches to bring to the table to make your life easier both at training and at a game?
RB I have found it is important to have roles and job descriptions for your assistant coach/es for training and games. I will allocate the AC’s to conduct individuals for post or perimeter players; coaching offence or defence; video analysis, statistical analysis, personal and professional development of players and so on. In addition to AC’s, it is important that you have a very good strength and conditioning Coach and Medical staff on board to make sure they are in the best possible shape to train and play.
During the game, I will allocate the AC to keep note of fouls, time outs, substitutions, match ups and also get them to throw out ideas and make suggestions. Sometimes you take them on board and other times you let them go.
BBA Rob, you are well regarded as one of the best development coaches for athletes, what are some of the key development aspects of an athlete do you concentrate on and do you believe you do something unique with your individual coaching that other coaches should try?
RB Individual skill development and physical development is probably the biggest area that I concentrate on. I like coaching players that want to improve and those that have self motivation to getting better every day. A lot of players just need to be challenged every session and need to be taught the required work ethic and intensity where they can get better. I like to put players on “individual contracts” where they tell me what they want to get better at. I then will hold them accountable and challenge them to do what they say they want to do. From a physical development perspective, to be elite you must continue to work on your bodies to becoming bigger, stronger and faster so a huge emphasis is placed on strength and conditioning.
BBC How much of a role do you believe Sports Psychology plays with in your coaching role and what have you done to enhance your knowledge in this fast growing aspect of elite sports.
RB Sports Psychology is a HUGE component of being an elite athlete and is what separates the top team from the rest. We do an enormous amount of goal setting, team building, assertiveness training, self confidence, development of mental toughness, handling travel etc. I have completed a Bachelors degree and post graduate studies at university with a huge amount of time spent on Psychology. We also employ a Sports Psychologist to work with the team and it is in partnership with the Coach and Psychologist that assist in the players and team becoming better.
BBC What would a typical week of training look like for a NBL head coach? Can you elaborate on what you would do each day?
RB It varies depending on what phase of the season you are in however generally you are looking at the following schedule for a typical week:
M – Weights 7.30am, Training 9.30am – 12 noon, Individual / Shooting 12noon – 1pm, 1 pm Recovery
T – Weights 7.30am, Training 9.30am – 12 noon, Individual / Shooting 12noon – 1pm, 1 pm Recovery
W – 9.30am Individuals / Shooting
TH – Weights 7.30am, Training 9.30am – 12 noon, Individual / Shooting 12noon – 1pm, 1 pm Recovery
F – Weights 7.30am, Training 9.30am – 12 noon, Individual / Shooting 12noon – 1pm, 1 pm Recovery
S – 10.30am – shoot around; 7pm Game
SUN - 9.30am - Recovery
BBC Where do you see your basketball coaching career going? Would you consider other national and international offers?
RB I love coaching the Wildcats and believe that this job is the best coaching job in Australia and have an intention of staying in Perth long term.
I thoroughly enjoy coaching at International level. I have been fortunate enough to have represented Australia at the highest level and first and foremost I would love to be involved with the Boomers again. However, with saying that I was overlooked for the 2012 Olympic Games and if an opportunity came up to coach another country, I would seriously have to look at it.
BBC As an experienced coach, what do you find are some of the key skills that young players are deficient in when they step up to the NBL and what would you recommend players do to be more prepared for the challenges of playing in the at the highest level?
RB The physical side is most evident. Players MUST continue to work on their bodies to be as fit and strong as possible so they can handle the physicality of the game. There is a HUGE difference in body shapes from juniors to elite men and from ABA to NBL. The second thing that is evident is the intensity level of training and playing. The game is so much faster at the higher level. Junior players need to learn to have a great work ethic and train hard and at a high intensity all the time.
BBC What do you like doing away from the court to wind down and take your mind off somewhere else to de-stress?
RB I love to spend time with my wife and kids, however during the season there is very little down time and is difficult to de-stress as working and staying in the NBL is mostly dependent on winning and losing. You are always looking at what you can do to continue to be better and put yourself in a position of winning and spend a lot of time away from your family and friends. With saying that, now that the season is over I get to spend more time with my kids and get to watch them play sport on weekends now.
BBC As you are aware, more and more young Australian athletes are seeking scholarships in the USA College system. What do you see as so attractive for an Australian player to move to USA and attend college?
RB I think that College basketball is a great opportunity for players to continue to develop their skills against players their own age rather than be thrown in the deep end against fully mature men. As mentioned previously, one of the areas that players are deficient at is the physical size of juniors coming into the NBL. I think College in the USA is a great option for players to continue to develop their skills and naturally develop their bodies in the 4 years that they are at college. Most of the time they come back from college as men, where they are able to compete against players in the NBL.
BBC If you had significant funding to establish something that would progress basketball in Australia, what would you do?
RB I believe that Basketball Australia has done a wonderful job of developing basketball from U12 level through to U18 level however after that it completely drops off. The AIS program is a great program and has developed many players into the NBL and NBA. However, there needs to be more resources into developing players from 18 – 22 years of age and would like to see AIS type programs in every state of Australia.
BBC In your opinion what is the outlook for both junior and senior national representative team over the next five years?
RB It worries me a bit about what is happening at the junior level. There is huge participation numbers in basketball however there has not been much of an increase in funding for more basketball courts to allow for the growth of the sport. There also has been an emphasis on participation rather than development and I feel this could hinder the success that National Junior teams have had in the past. From a senior perspective, i feel that the Boomers and Opals have and amazing group of players coming through that have the potential to win medals at International level.
BBC If a coach wanted to progress from ITCP, state league or national championship coaching to some paid professional opportunities, what advice would you offer them?
RB One of the biggest things that I have seen over the years is that a lot of young coaches want to make it to the top as quickly as possible! It is SO IMPORTANT that you “do your apprenticeship” and don’t rush into a paid job until you are ready for it...You must be patient and continue to develop what your philosophy of basketball is. The only way you can do this is my exposing yourself to different coaching styles and find out what you truly believe in.
Basketball Crazy wishes to congratulate you on your successful coaching career so far and good luck trying to go back to back with the Wildcats next season. Also thank you for participating in 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.
RB thank you.
End of Interview