BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
The Finnish Basketball Association and the Kisakallio Sports Institute have signed a multi-year partnership agreement for the creation of a dedicated practice facility for the Finnish National Teams.
The facility, which will is to be named Susi Training Center, is located within a 30-minute drive from capital Helsinki and will open in the summer of 2014. Kisakallio will invest approximately two million Euro to the project.
Finland's Basketball National Teams are nicknamed "Wolfpack" and the word "susi" means "wolf" in Finnish.
|Finlands new Susi Training facility (illustration)|
The Susi Training Center will feature two full-length practice courts, which can be converted into an international level game court. At the same time, Kisakallio is renovating its old basketball hall to meet the current demands of basketball to provide a third full length practise court for the needs of Finnish top basketball. The entire facility will be branded with wolf-logo of National Teams and with pictures of "Wolfpack"-players.
The Susi Training Center will include two treatment rooms, locker rooms and storages for National Teams.
Its courts will be equipped with video feedback system, which will help coaches to provide immediate feedback to players during practices.
The national teams will also be able to use other facilities such as weight room, running track, pool and lounge for coaches. Kisakallio will also purchase extra-long beds for tall players.
"Kisakallio will be the first practice facility in Finland, which is built specifically and solely for the needs of top-level basketball," Finland national team head coach Henrik Dettmann commented.
Once the Susi Training Center is inaugurated, the Finnish Basketball Association plan to host all possible basketball training camps and coaching education in Kisakallio.
One of of Kisakallio consultants on the project has been Finland's all-time top basketball player, Hanno Möttölä, who has enjoyed top-notch practice facilities in United States and in Europe during his career.
"In Finland, the majority of sports facilities are built for amateur athletes. This is not the case anymore for basketball teams. Now we will have practice facilities which are built for pro sports and it is certain that they will be good enough for amateurs as well," Möttölä said.
"When I first came to Kisakallio, I was asked instantly, how large and hard the beds should be for basketball players.
"Then I knew that they are onto something. Bed size, decent sized exercise bike or leg press might sound like irrelevant things for amateurs, but they are not.
"I don't know how many years I may enjoy these facilities as a player, but as a coach, hopefully for a long time. I feel great pleasure and pride for helping to build our national team concept and our new Susi Training Center concept. I believe and know that future players will covet playing in these facilities."
For Finnish basketball the Kisakallio deal marks yet another milestone in the long-term strategy of the country's Basketball Association.
Finland's national team has arguably been one of Europe's most improved outfits, rising from a Division B participant in the late 2000's to a 9th place finish in the last two EuroBasket tournaments.
TV coverage of basketball and audience figures have also improved dramatically while the country's clubs have started bringing home regular European success - TEHO Sport from Kotka advancing to the Eurochallenge TOP 16 being the most recent example.
*Article content, pictures and illustration courtesy of basket.fi and Kisakalio