Nele Nikovic has been given the rare opportunity to join the prestigious three year FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate.
Every National Basketball Association in Europe is only allowed to nominate two coaches for every three year cycle to attend the certification. On occasions non FIBA Europe countries are permitted to send coaches to the course and Nele jumped at the chance when given the opportunity.
Nele has been coaching in New Zealand since 2006, first coaching junior representative teams at Harbour Basketball and then working as Kenny Stone’s assistant coach for the Auckland Stars in the NBL. After his time with the Stars he moved back over to the Shore coaching the Harbour Heat Reserves and assisting Alex Stojkovic with the Harbour Heat in 2013.
Since then Nele has been coaching at his alma mater Selwyn College, working with both the Junior and Senior Boys.
Each August, for the next three years, coaches from all over Europe have to attend a week long coaching clinic that coincides with a European junior basketball tournament. This year the coaches attended the U16 European Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Next year the coaches will go to the U18 European Championships and in 2017 the U20 championships. The coaches had to attend clinics and matches and had to analyse games as well as attend workshops.
In year three of the programme they have to sit a written as well as oral exam. This is the most thorough and detailed coaching certification in the world gives attending coaches the opportunity to learn from such coaching legends as Svetislav Pesic, who is the Head Lecturer of the programme.
Lacey Lowdown correspondent Alex Stojkovic had a chance to sit down with Nele and quiz him on the FIBA certification.
How did you become aware of this coaching certificate and what made you want to do it?
I had heard of it when it first started, in 2007. It’s the most prestigious basketball certification one can have so representing your country as well as being mentored by great coaches for three years, is more than enough for anyone to attend it, should the opportunity be presented. I waited for mine and I am sure I will not be disappointed.
Is there anything in particular that you are looking to learn from this course?
I pride myself as being the ‘Jack of All Trades’ when it comes to basketball knowledge, in the past as a player and now as a coach, so improving each of these coaching aspects is what I am hoping to achieve. If I was to narrow it down, perhaps recruitment and sports psychology.
Having the chance to pick the brain of someone like Coach Pesic must be a real thrill.
It is a dream come true. I am excited beyond words. Svetislav Pesic is a coaching legend internationally having won World Champs, Euro Champs, Euroleague, etc., superb role model and being a fellow ex-Yugoslav, it makes it that much more exciting.
This course is obviously a huge time and cost investment in your professional development. How do you see this course pay dividends for you in the future?
Beside the basketball knowledge each of the participants will attain, we have a chance to network with each other. My two main objectives are to help New Zealand National Age Group Teams as well as look for opportunities overseas on a club level.I do not think you can take shortcuts in becoming a good coach so such opportunity should not be passed along.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about this experience?
I would like to acknowledge the effort from Natu Taufale (National Director – Coach Development, BBNZ) for making this happen. I can’t wait to bring back and apply what I am about to learn at FECC, here in New Zealand. If there are coaches wishing to upskill themselves, I strongly recommend applying for this certificate. For those wishing to know more about it, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Thanks for the interview Nele.