In this week’s coaching conversation, former NBA and EuroLeague player, and current managing director of EuroLeague Players’ Association Bostjan Nachbar joins the podcast to discuss being in service of players.
Nachbar is a former NBA and Slovenian national team player who had a 20-year pro basketball career. In 2002 he was the 15th pick in the draft by the Houston Rockets. He played 6 seasons in the NBA (Rockets, Hornets, Nets) and won club Championships in Slovenia, Italy, Germany and Spain.
Currently he is working as the Managing Director of EuroLeague Players’ Association. The EuroLeague Players’ Association represents the players’ unified voice in regards to EuroLeague Basketball and assists their members in achieving their goals, on and off the court. ELPA’s specific intention is to defend and pursue the rights of professional basketball players in the EuroLeague.
Career Playing History
1997–1998 Union Olimpija
1998–1999 Maribor Ovni
1999–2000 Pivovarna Laško
2000–2002 Benetton Treviso
2002–2004 Houston Rockets
2004–2006 New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets
2006–2008 New Jersey Nets
2008–2009 Dynamo Moscow
2009–2011 Efes Pilsen
2012 UNICS Kazan
2012–2013 Brose Baskets
2013–2015 FC Barcelona
Bostjan Nachbar Quotes:
“Among the many things that we try to do for players, one of the most important ones for us is to protect players and to try to prolong their careers and enhance their careers . . and [relationships] with coaches . . and different performance specialists.”
“We need to offer players access to some of the best experts in the field of performance . . our performance advisory board consists of seven high level experts from different fields, including strength and conditioning, psychology and nutrition.”
“The Euroleague is such a high level of basketball, mostly tactically speaking. It developed so much over the last 10 to 15 years, it really became complex . . it’s usually very complex defensive schemes and a lot of offensive variations.”
“If you get an opportunity to share a locker room with a player that has seven, eight, 10 years of NBA experience, you’re going to gain by that whether you’re a coach or a player.”
“I like that approach when the coach is accessible. I like the approach when the coach listens to players. I like it when he at least thinks about what players have to say . . I thought it always helped the players feel more comfortable and playing better . . speaking from my experience.”
“I think that the mentality is changing now . . with the understanding that recovery plays such a huge role in order to achieve [your] goals . . later in the season.”
“Load management is a tough subject. In the future, it will require much more cooperation between national leagues and the Euroleague without a doubt.”
“It was very important for the ELPA to hire a sports psychologist that’s available to work 24/7 for our members.”
“Having all the major players in European basketball, really listen to the players needs and players requests for change . . always helps the end product. If you have happy players, if you have satisfied players, if you have players that are healthy, if you have players that are paid on time, give me one reason why you would think that’s going to hurt the product which is the game of basketball, which attracts the fans. That’s the end goal of everyone.”
“For all the coaches out there, speaking from my experience, try to keep it as fun as you can for as long as you can for a player, if he ends up being a professional and he still sees basketball as a fun thing, which hopefully he does, that’s great.”
“I think you have to provide a player with the road map on how to get from A to B, but he has to figure out the roadblocks in between the road from A to B himself.”
“You can’t just be drill, drill, drill. The player needs to be put in situations where, once he learns those skills, he has the ability to test them out to try and out. That’s why the mix of both is so important . . coaches that find the balance between drilling and then trying those drills out in 2-on-2, 3-on-3, and 5-on-5 situations are the ones that can help the players to evolve quicker.”
Bostjan Nachbar Breakdown:
1:00 – Aims of the LPA
3:00 – LPA Performance International Congress
7:00 – About the NBA coaches
10:00 – Learnings about the EuroLeague
13:00 – Takeaways from the NBA
16:30 – Elongate Player’s Career
19:00 – Concept of Load Management
21:00 – Sports Psychology
25:00 – Late Payment
27:30 – NBA European Ambassador
29:30 – Spanish System
33:30 – Difference on European and NBA Coaching
36:30 – Creative Players
39:00 – Developing Skills
44:30 – Issues Players Faced Right Now
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