Fearne’s visit helps coaches and players

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Straight between the eyes — that’s the way 2015 Australian National Basketball League Coach of the Year Aaron Fearne gave players what they needed to know to get better.

Fearne was in Gisborne last weekend as part of a two-week tour in which he has been conducting elite coaching camps at the invitation of Basketball Pacific. He had come from his hometown, New Plymouth, and was travelling on to Rotorua and Tauranga.

Fearne was on the Tall Blacks coaching staff at the Commonwealth Games. He worked with 70 age-group players and 10 Gisborne Basketball Association coaches on Saturday (three two-hour sessions) and Sunday (five two-hour sessions).

“The enthusiasm and keenness to learn here are fantastic but the fundamental skills need to improve,” said Fearne, a member of the Cairns Taipans roster as a player, assistant coach and head coach over 19 seasons.

“Attention to detail, executing competitive skills under time pressure and scoreboard pressure, building an expectation to perform certain tasks — those are the things you’ve got to strive for. They’re what the game’s about. Don’t sugar-coat it. Respond to failure, learn from adversity. Have fun winning.”

It wasn’t lost on the GBA coaches present — Adrian Sparks, Shane McClutchie, Reggie Namana and Thomas Tindale among them — that Fearne stressed the importance of fundamental skills. His sessions ran through ball-handling, passing and finishing (lay-ups and shooting). Then, after a two-minute break to hydrate, it was back to work — transition and team defence, with 20 minutes of games to finish.

Players from nine to 18 had the opportunity to attempt and refine offensive moves

Players from nine to 18 had the opportunity to attempt and refine offensive moves such as the one-foot runner, the two-foot floater, the Euro step and the running hook. Drills that involved controlling the ball when closely guarded, and body-control when in contact with defenders, were demonstrated and taken up with relish.

Gisborne Boys’ High School’s Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown, 16, regarded his attendance at the camp as time well spent.

“We learned the new defence that’s being taught to all teams in New Zealand,” the Year 12 guard said.

“It’s called the pack defence. It involves forcing the opposition to take outside shots, and it also allows no driving lanes.”

“He knows his stuff,” said Te Oriwa Tuipulotu-Collier, 17-year-old Year 13 student at Rotorua Girls’ High School.

'The training sessions were full of new concepts of gameplay'

“The training sessions were full of new concepts of gameplay . . . and some of the tricks of the trade. I learned a lot about defensive positioning — being able to draw contact and finish.”

Felix Sparks, 11-year-old Y6 student at Mangapapa School, said: “We already knew the three-man weave he showed us — but it was fun to run it fast.”

GBA chairman Dwayne Tamatea said it was great to learn about the new style of play being promoted by Basketball New Zealand from an experienced coach.

“Aaron has a great coaching style,” he said.

“Coaching the coaches — helping them, as well as our players, to improve — that’s what we’re trying to do.”

While Fearne, 43, gave the young players a candid assessment of their game and how they could improve it, he did add: “One of the challenges is to get them to communicate, so they can help themselves and each other.

“As Kiwis, we’re shy when we don’t know you, but we’re cheeky once we do.”

Straight between the eyes — that’s the way 2015 Australian National Basketball League Coach of the Year Aaron Fearne gave players what they needed to know to get better.

Fearne was in Gisborne last weekend as part of a two-week tour in which he has been conducting elite coaching camps at the invitation of Basketball Pacific. He had come from his hometown, New Plymouth, and was travelling on to Rotorua and Tauranga.

Fearne was on the Tall Blacks coaching staff at the Commonwealth Games. He worked with 70 age-group players and 10 Gisborne Basketball Association coaches on Saturday (three two-hour sessions) and Sunday (five two-hour sessions).

“The enthusiasm and keenness to learn here are fantastic but the fundamental skills need to improve,” said Fearne, a member of the Cairns Taipans roster as a player, assistant coach and head coach over 19 seasons.

“Attention to detail, executing competitive skills under time pressure and scoreboard pressure, building an expectation to perform certain tasks — those are the things you’ve got to strive for. They’re what the game’s about. Don’t sugar-coat it. Respond to failure, learn from adversity. Have fun winning.”

It wasn’t lost on the GBA coaches present — Adrian Sparks, Shane McClutchie, Reggie Namana and Thomas Tindale among them — that Fearne stressed the importance of fundamental skills. His sessions ran through ball-handling, passing and finishing (lay-ups and shooting). Then, after a two-minute break to hydrate, it was back to work — transition and team defence, with 20 minutes of games to finish.

Players from nine to 18 had the opportunity to attempt and refine offensive moves

Players from nine to 18 had the opportunity to attempt and refine offensive moves such as the one-foot runner, the two-foot floater, the Euro step and the running hook. Drills that involved controlling the ball when closely guarded, and body-control when in contact with defenders, were demonstrated and taken up with relish.

Gisborne Boys’ High School’s Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown, 16, regarded his attendance at the camp as time well spent.

“We learned the new defence that’s being taught to all teams in New Zealand,” the Year 12 guard said.

“It’s called the pack defence. It involves forcing the opposition to take outside shots, and it also allows no driving lanes.”

“He knows his stuff,” said Te Oriwa Tuipulotu-Collier, 17-year-old Year 13 student at Rotorua Girls’ High School.

'The training sessions were full of new concepts of gameplay'

“The training sessions were full of new concepts of gameplay . . . and some of the tricks of the trade. I learned a lot about defensive positioning — being able to draw contact and finish.”

Felix Sparks, 11-year-old Y6 student at Mangapapa School, said: “We already knew the three-man weave he showed us — but it was fun to run it fast.”

GBA chairman Dwayne Tamatea said it was great to learn about the new style of play being promoted by Basketball New Zealand from an experienced coach.

“Aaron has a great coaching style,” he said.

“Coaching the coaches — helping them, as well as our players, to improve — that’s what we’re trying to do.”

While Fearne, 43, gave the young players a candid assessment of their game and how they could improve it, he did add: “One of the challenges is to get them to communicate, so they can help themselves and each other.

“As Kiwis, we’re shy when we don’t know you, but we’re cheeky once we do.”

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