By Jared Grellet
|The latest FECC Graduation class in Bilbao 2011|
It is not just basketball players gathering in Vilnius this week for the Samsung U18 European Championship, but also 56 coaches from around Europe who are here as part of the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (FECC).
The coaches, who are currently in the second year of the three-year programme, arrived in Vilnius from throughout Europe on Monday and will remain in the city for a week.
However, catching the action at the U18 European Championship only makes up a small part of what is a tightly packed schedule.
"Every day there is a different programme," Kostas Missas, who is one of the programme lecturers, told FIBAEurope.com. "There are lectures in the morning and going to the gym. We only rest about two hours after the workshop then the coaches are working on videos and presentations. Part of the programme is in discussion groups so there are groups of coaches and they change the lectures."
Missas, who amongst other successes won the U20 European Championship in 2009 with Greece, also stressed the long days that the participants on the programme endure, noting that they are often up to the early hours with their groups studying game tape.
"Those guys are working until 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning as they are preparing video analysis for the next day for a presentation."
This is the second year that Missas has been involved in the FECC and is a big advocate of what the programme is achieving.
"This is very important because most of the knowledge on this programme concerns youth programmes and young players. It not only shows what to teach and how to teach for every age level, which is very important, but also educates the coaches [on how] to treat the kids which is very very important because all youth programmes need teacher coaches and not just coaches."
Missas is just one of a number of high-quality coaches in Vilnius as a lecturer for the programme. Others include FECC mentor Svetislav Pesic Slovenian coach Janez Drvaric and Real Madrid Head Coach, Pablo Laso.
"I believe it is a programme of a high level with a lot of inside knowledge about modern basketball," tells Missas, but also points out the programme is "not only about basketball but also strength conditioning and psychological terms."
Missas says that despite the coaches only reaching the midway point of the FECC, the progress they have shown is already noticeable.
"I think that every coach participating in the programme is going to learn a lot of things that they can use throughout their careers. Even some coaches who are in their first years, they have already learned a lot in their first year on the programme."